Today a long-awaited recording goes live from an event we recently co-hosted with Grantmakers for Southern Progress, Ms. Foundation for Women, Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation and NoVo Foundation at the Ford Foundation in New York: “As the South Grows: Roots of the Resistance.” When you watch it, you’ll hear a lot of people reference the “timekeeper in the back” – a.k.a, me.
I play that role in many events I manage. And with every conversation, I know we’re working with borrowed time. From the speakers on stage to the audience in the room, we only have so many chances to get it right.
We held this event because philanthropy, too, is working with borrowed time. It’s clear that progress on any issue we care about is at risk, not only in short-term losses but in long-term missed opportunity. What fewer seem to realize is that there is no Trump without a Sessions; no national strategy without a Southern analysis; and no winning solution without centering the Southern women, girls, and especially women and girls of color giving their lives to make the nation better for all of us.
The very communities grantmakers least expect to steward their resources have long pioneered how to survive and thrive in 2017. Yet philanthropy invests just two cents in places like Selma, Alabama, and the Mississippi Delta for every dollar spent per capita on New York City – and less than one cent for advocacy and power-building.
This can and must change. Below are seven quotes from the event that speak to the deep opportunities for national progress available when funders invest in a just South. It is followed by the video recording of the entire event. I highly recommend watching the video in its entirety because a single quote does none of these speakers justice.
“As the South Grows: Roots of the Resistance,” a conversation co-hosted by NCRP, Grantmakers for Southern Progress, NoVo Foundation, Ms. Foundation for Women and Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation at the Ford Foundation on July 7, 2017. Video courtesy of Ford Foundation.
We’re all on the clock. As the words sink in, I invite you to reflect on one question: How will you use our time?
Whether you’re a Southern foundation exploring advocacy, a national funder exploring Southern investments, or a Southern nonprofit or activist wondering what all this means for you, please get in touch with me at bbarge[at]ncrp.org. I’m excited to work with you.
Ben Barge is senior associate for learning and engagement at NCRP. Follow @NCRP on Twitter.