How can funders make their grantmaking more transparent and inclusive while tackling the unequal power dynamic in philanthropy?
With more and more conversations around equity taking place in the sector, community-led grantmaking has proven to be a powerful way to address inequity from within, and in the process, center community members who are most marginalized.
To delve into the “how” of this democratic approach, in late August NCRP co-hosted Pass the Reins: Shifting Decision-Making Power in Philanthropy with the Indie Philanthropy Initiative, Grassroots Grantmakers and GrantCraft, a service of Foundation Center. Below is a recap, along with the video recording of the entire webinar.
Four different models
Moderated by Jennifer Near, general coordinator of the Building Equity and Alignment for Impact Initiative, the webinar featured speakers from four community-led grantmaking models:
The conversation was particularly salient given the rising tide of neo-Nazism and white nationalist violence in our country. As NCRP’s chief executive Aaron Dorfman recently wrote in response to the events in Charlottesville, it’s vital that funders use their grant dollars to bolster grassroots groups and protect threatened communities, on those communities’ terms.
For additional context, Jennifer shared:
“White supremacy is not just about extremism and violence … it’s about control and the expectation that some of us earn the position to broker and determine social change and how resources flow on behalf of others. If we’re genuine about wanting to shift the legacy of systemic and historical racism in this country and confront white supremacy, then we need to be serious about who has voice, agency and control over how resources are allocated.”
In the discussion, the speakers shared lessons, benefits and outcomes from their approaches to community-led grantmaking. They emphasized the importance of active recruitment, trust-building, compensation, language access, evaluation and a commitment to difficult conversations.
it’s not only about external work inviting others in, but also internal processes (and being willing to make necessary shifts) #shiftpower
— victoria fear (@vlfear) August 29, 2017
In @NCRP #shiftpower webinar intrigued by @HeadwatersFdn “class clusters” to build trust across classes & unpack racial dynamics in room
— Nealon (@NealonDeVore) August 29, 2017
A call for applicants isn’t enough. You need to do outreach to specific communities in intentional ways to truly recruit well. #shiftpower
— GrantCraft (@GrantCraft) August 29, 2017
The audience was also invited to weigh in on what’s needed to activate and expand participatory grantmaking in the sector. Among the 130 attendees who participated in the poll, the top answer was “political education for board an executive leadership.”
Live results from folks attending the webinar. #ShiftPower pic.twitter.com/kcRnQxWDz8
— NCRP (@NCRP) August 29, 2017
What resources and other funding models inspire you to shift power and democratize the control of resources in philanthropy?
Keep the conversation going on Twitter using #ShiftPower, and share your questions and stories with GrantCraft for the participatory grantmaking guide that’s in development! View the webinar recording and contact Jen Bokoff at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
Caitlin Duffy is senior associate for learning and engagement at the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP). Follow @NCRP and @DuffyInDC on Twitter.