AEGIS, The New Era
Our organization, formerly known as IVUnited, is rebranding in order to better symbolize the natural evolution of our mission
From IVUnited to AEGIS
Dear friends, colleagues and readers from around the world,
It’s a very exciting time for us right now. We have decided to give our organization a new identity, marking the shift that our journey took us through in these past seven years. We are happy to announce that IVUnited will from now on be known as AEGIS.
We are an organization born in Hellenic lands, so our name is first and foremost a nod to our roots and symbolic legacy. In ancient Greek mythology, an aegis is a mysterious symbol of protection.
Today, AEGIS is an organization that serves to protect and incubate the projects and initiatives started by independent activist groups around the world. We give to the groups of people who bring upon change in our society the same kind of tools, privileges and possibilities that they would have if they were the founders of established registered non-profit organizations.
The premise of our debut as an organization was that the non-profit organization model is deeply flawed. Everywhere around the world, every day, people with good intentions and a grasp on local or global issues in their communities want to start doing good things to make their piece of the world a little better for future generations. Solidarity actions do not expect anything in return for their service. Yet carrying them out in a way that scales requires money, a registered office address, as well as tedious amounts of paperwork and accounting. This means that community organizers and grassroot leaders need to spend a lot and/or come from stability and privilege in order to fulfill the basic minimum requirements necessary to manage a non-profit structure. Mathematically, it is simply illogical. Insiduously, it is a factor that is unknown by most people until they are already committed to their altruistic endeavor, making it hard for them to pivot or walk away. This explains the reason why people grow so frustrated with non-profit organizations: because the difference between the instinctive nature of altruism in action and the actual reality of the management of altruistic activities through non-profits is infuriating. As an institutional model, non-profit structures are a vacuum that drains people of their good intentions, patience and resources. In an ideal world, necessary non-profit action ran by volunteers should not require funds to run. Nor should it require to be so legally complex as to burn people out and set their enthusiasm for future visions on fire.
Because non-profit work is not a business, no matter how many frameworks and strategies we apply to it. It should never adopt the mentality of a business either. Non-profit work is about nurturing kindness and solidarity, and it should be allowed to remain this way.
Why are we always surprised that altruistic progress is not moving fast enough in comparison to the amount of suffering and destruction that we see on the news everyday if we have created systems that require of us to run a business that costs money and time in order to be legally allowed to do good? Is it then so surprising that it is only the wealthy and privileged that can justify and sustain this type of personal financial loss? A fully functional NGO takes years and a lot of funding to grow. But it doesn’t have to be this way, because what is costly is strictly the administative operational matters of things, and once those are removed people are free to do what seems right without being weighed down by technicalities.
We created AEGIS to be an umbrella for others. We are a scaling fiscal sponsor, an incubator, an accumulator of tools and programs that can be used by all initiatives under our protection. And finally (and most improtantly) we are a safekeeper of the ethical logic that should differenciate altruism from business. We do our best to give initiatives the opportunity to never have to yield to deals of greenwashing corporate pressure or PR stunts in order to cover their organization’s bills, allowing them to be able to stand by their principles at every turn.
With our support, the initiatives that we represent can access the same level of privileges and opportunities as those offered to NGOs, and accomplish that same level of efficiency as fully functional organizations in matters of a few short months and without expenses. This has become the core of our mission.
As such, we have come to realize that the focal point of our organization today was to nurture our role as the protectors of causes. It became obvious that we needed to symbolize this vision through our brand in order to be able to keep growing organically in the directions that make most sense to us. Because organic growth is how we try to approach most things around here.
Our initial name, IVUnited, evolved naturally as well. We began as volunteers, coming in support to various causes linked to locations and communities more than organizations, as it often happens. We would for example be part of groups active in supporting national refugee camps and their communities, or helping with environmental preservation of specific natural reserves. Many organizations navigated around us and worked alongside us, but they were always somewhat limited by the objectives of their programs and the scope of their missions. We on the other hand had no limitations or structured bureaucracy to answer to, we were using everyday tools in order to communicate and get organized in a way that made our volunteering work part of everyday life in our community. As independent volunteers, we were fast. We were everywhere. And we were good at what we were doing because we used our specialized professional skills, tackled what we knew how to handle, while keeping the humility of knowing when to back off and support the rightful leadership instead. That was the primary reason why we were both effective and central to the action. We weren’t worried about having to do our jobs, because we were part of this effort on our own volition. We weren’t worried about how this all looked on social media, because we had put guidelines in place that discouraged public displays of our work or the tokenization of community members. We weren’t worried about deadlines or grant programs’ KPIs because the only thing that was real was the communities we were living with or neighbors with, and the places we wanted to be a part of and support in every way we could.
We wanted to create the kind of environments in which things become easier and easier, where people are never governed or supervised by organizations or authorities of any kind but rather nurtured and guided towards self-reliant and self-governing norms. We wanted to create the kinds of support systems which overtime could make “humanitarian action” obsolete outside of grave unpredictable occurences, replacing the humanitarian approach simply by organic community support norms relying on efficient systems. Enabling a personalized and logical environment, a community in charge of itself, while facilitating the access to reliable and flexible tools, support structures and frameworks was always the primary goal.
People would call us the independent volunteers, and over time we gained the abbreviation “IV”. As we united in order to form a non-profit organization that could enable us to scale in a way that we couldn’t as private individuals, our name became IVUnited – the independent volunteers united.
We are so very grateful to all the independent volunteers we have come across throughout the years. Each joining shared efforts with their own sets of tools, skills and resources. Your dedication and unique personal experience helps everyone make the best out of what we are working with. What a privilege it is to learn alongside people who decide to dedicate a part of their lives to doing right by others.
And now that our organization grew to become AEGIS, an organization standing for the rise and protection of grassroot initiatives, charitable endeavors and philanthropic action, we are looking forward to the future and the new adventures ahead.
To all of you amazing people shifting our world’s paradigms every day towards beautiful future horizons… we see you. We root for you. We support you. Let’s create reality together.
by Mia Sea
Founder @ AEGIS