ISNA Transforms Itself

Classification: About

ISNA has been extraordinarily successful in its work to effect systematic reform in the social and medical treatment of people with intersex conditions. With the financial assistance of our donors, we have made substantial strides towards building a world free of shame, secrecy, and unwanted genital surgeries for people born with atypical reproductive anatomies.

ISNA was founded in 1993, and we enjoyed rapid growth especially in the last several years. But with that growth, we paid a high price in terms of exhausting our core staff and volunteers. We realized late in 2003 that we needed a new system, one which would be truly sustainable—one which would keep ISNA going until its work is done.

Consequently, since January 2004, we have been transforming ISNA to a model which devotes our financial and human resources less to administrative upkeep and more directly to our critically important programming work, particularly the Medical Education Reform Initiative (MERI). This means ISNA can thrive when we have the money and people to go into high-gear, and ISNA can survive those times we are low on money and human energy.

The key feature of this plan has been the elimination of a formal office space and the move to a state-of-the-art virtual system which allows us to be decentralized. Although ISNA looks to the outside world a lot like it did in December of 2003, in fact, thanks to key funding from the Arcus Foundation and amazing work on the part of Cheryl Chase and Jane Goto, ISNA is now a vastly more efficient (and therefore more effective) organization. Expert volunteers around the U.S. now keep our website current, answer inquiries seeking information and help, and carry out our programming. Their efforts are occasionally supplemented by paid consultants, as needs require and finances allow.

This change was necessary, but it has also been extremely satisfying to those of us who live on a daily basis with ISNA. It has allowed us to spend less of our time frantically trying to raise money, and more of our time doing what we came for—changing the world for the better.

That said, we could really use your financial help. The more money we have in the bank, the more programming we can get done—because money allows us to fund critical travel, hire interns and research assistants, and produce and distribute educational materials. So please consider clicking here to donate to support our efforts. And whether you’re a long-term donor of a first-time giver, thank you for having faith in us!