In the spring of 2022, I was beginning to feel restless, unable to justify my lazy retirement years while our planet literally burned. I had no intention of returning to the workforce, but I figured I had a few good volunteer-years left in me. So I signed up for Third Act’s faith affinity group.

I was not new to environmental advocacy, having spent thirty years as a lobbyist for the national Sierra Club in Washington, D.C. Yet from my first All-In call, I knew that Third Act was different from other groups I’d engaged with. There was a relaxed authenticity among the people, and no shortage of smiles and laughter. Staff listened attentively to volunteers. Everyone’s voice seemed to count. I checked out the Working Principles on the website and found words like joyful and fun and humility and kindness. I had found my home.

Flash forward to the present, and now I’m one of those Third Act staffers listening to and learning from hundreds of amazing volunteers each week. As the Network Campaigns Lead, I interact with our working groups every day, so I know that these volunteer-led groups are the heart and soul of Third Act.

Most working groups are geographically based, but some are nationwide affinity groups, based on passion or past professional experience. All of us believe that elder power can be harnessed to fundamentally transform our culture and our politics. Taking on the financial and political forces that threaten our climate and our democracy is a daunting task. But Third Actors are committed to  sustained, collective action to tip the balance of power away from fossil fuels and fascist tendencies and towards clean energy and a healthy democracy.

We embrace a relational model of organizing where we build trust and confidence in each other over time. Our tiny yet dedicated staff trains and organizes groups which then make it a priority to reach out and engage an ever-growing number of Third Actors, finding a place for everybody to make a difference. Volunteers research local issues, write postcards, and lobby decision makers. They attend outreach events, work with local media, register voters, and organize public protests with Third Act staff supporting them as needed.

All of this takes time, dedication, and a lot of resources! In addition to our thirty existing working groups, the Third Act staff is committed to establishing a vibrant group in every state as soon as possible. This is no time to think small! We know we have no time to waste.

Which brings up another Third Act working principle: “Be generous, but not to a fault.” We all want our generation to leave a legacy to be proud of, so we give generously of our time, talent, and treasure. In just two years, we have grown to 70,000 strong. But we need at least twice that number to meet the urgency of the challenges we face in 2024 and beyond! To meet that goal, we have set up a new fundraising campaign called the  No Time to Waste  fund, with a goal of raising $500,000 in 2023.

Third Act is the nation’s home for activists over sixty working to protect our climate and our democracy. Won’t you join me in supporting this urgent  No Time to Waste  campaign so we can start off strong in 2024?

Happy Holidays!

In Solidarity,
Melanie L. Griffin

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Melanie Griffin

Melanie Griffin is a writer and social justice activist who spent nearly thirty years lobbying for the Sierra Club in Washington, D.C. Her major campaigns included public lands and wildlife and air and energy policy. She was the founder and director of the Club’s first National Partnerships Program. Melanie holds a Masters in Creative Nonfiction and is a certified Spiritual Director. She served for three years as a pastor at a progressive Christian church in suburban Maryland and taught at a Quaker school. She leads writing workshops and contemplative retreats and loves to garden, read, and travel.