What does wielding philanthropic power ethically and courageously look like?

Written by: Kristina ("Yna") C. Moore

Date: October 15, 2018

For The Heinz Endowments’ Grant Oliphant, it is leadership with – not for – our communities.

Grant Oliphant, The Heinz Endowments“What can we do?” is a recurring question that we’ve been hearing and seeing from many working grantmaking institutions across the country in response to today’s political and social moment.

In addition to the need for funders to build grassroots power to activate and engage communities around important issues affecting them, and for them to share their power with those communities by nurturing trusting relationships and co-creating strategies, funders can and need to exercise their public leadership. But how do we, in the philanthropic sector, do the latter in a courageous and ethical way?

In “Wielding Philanthropic Leadership With, Not For,” The Heinz Endowments President and CEO Grant Oliphant lifts up the need to listen and share grantmakers’ power by encouraging, empowering and enabling others.

“If I have one wish for our field right now, it is that we would finally weigh our silences as carefully as we do our words. For the sake of all the communities we claim to support, it is our role to speak out as clearly and as forcefully as we can. Not in a truly partisan way, but as an unembarrassed, bold embrace of the principles we believe in.”

– Grant Oliphant
President and CEO, The Heinz Endowments
Philanthropic Leadership Means Following the Frontlines

Wielding Philanthropic Leadership With, Not For” is part of the new Power in Philanthropy series on the Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR) blog in collaboration with NCRP. Contributors from NCRP and nonprofit and philanthropic leaders explore popular concepts in philanthropy – such as risk, capacity building and public leadership – through the lens of power and equitable outcomes.

Power in Philanthropy is based on NCRP’s “Power Moves: Your essential philanthropy assessment guide for equity and justice.”

Related articles:

Power, Privilege, and Effectiveness: Are Funders Connecting the Dots?
by Kathleen Enright, Grantmakers for Effective Organizations

The Power of Families: From Poverty to Agency to Unity
by Luz Vega-Marquis, Marguerite Casey Foundation

Philanthropy’s Ultimate Power-Sharing Opportunity: Governance
by Jim Canales and Barbara Hostetter, Barr Foundation

Philanthropic Leadership Means Following the Frontlines
by Alison Corwin, Surdna Foundation

Don’t miss forthcoming posts by Ruth Cummings and Sharon Alpert of Nathan Cummings Foundation, Judy Belk of The California Wellness Foundation and others.

Visit Power in Philanthropy on SSIR 

Or stay tuned on NCRP’s blog for links
to the latest articles in the series.

Yna C. Moore is senior director of communications of NCRP. Follow @ynamoore and @ncrp on Twitter. Join the conversation on  #PowerMovesEquity.