Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Rocky's Road No More

Posted By on November 22, 2011, 11:30 AM

Ross "Rocky" Anderson, former Salt Lake City mayor and current executive director of High Road for Human Rights, announced he will be closing down his nonprofit that champions human rights and combats global warming.---

In a Nov. 22 email he writes: "So why wind down High Road now? One major reason: a lack of adequate funding. Although generous funders (Norm and Barbara Tanner and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund) helped get us off the ground initially with seed funding, and although others have stepped up with funding to keep us operating, it simply hasn't been enough. Far too often during the past three years, we didn't know if we would make it through to the next month, even when I was uncompensated much of the time.

"I will work to start a major new national political party, which will advocate for, among other things, the fulfillment of High Road's mission. Beyond that, I'm not sure what the future holds for me. But whatever I end up doing, I hope to continue the quest in some way -- and hope that we will all stay in touch and that each of us will work in our own ways to bring greater peace and compassion to our world."

* * *

These days, even successful nonprofits struggle to exist as donations from corporate and individual benefactors dry up. Coming of age during the recession, High Road for Human Rights never seemed to gain the traction it needed to be on par with organizations like Amnesty International, despite having been set up to sponsor team networks across the country and having an advisory board that name-dropped progressive celebrities such as Ed Asner, Harry Bellafonte and Yoko Ono. Most of the recent media coverage of the organization was done by Utah outlets.

In bumping into Anderson on the street not too long ago, he told the person I was with -- a University of Utah hospital employee -- that he was disappointed with Obamacare and that a revolution was needed to get people the affordable health care they should have. This was just "Hi, how are you?" idle chatter at a stoplight.

What becomes of people who care so much they are incapable of small talk? Calls to Anderson have not yet been returned. We'll have to stay tuned.

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