As we prepare to close out 2018 and reflect upon the past year, it’s overwhelming to think about the countless crises that have erupted and disrupted communities around the country, including the growing incidence of extreme climate events, mounting wealth and income inequality, increasing urban displacement, gentrification, and families separated at the border.

Unfortunately, the growing frequency and magnitude of the crises that we are experiencing suggest that at this point in history, incremental approaches will fail to adequately address the degree to which our social, economic and ecological systems are out of alignment. We need a just transition in philanthropy that redistributes wealth, democratizes power, and shifts economic control to communities.

In other words, we must transform our relationship to capital and to our communities. To explore what such a transformation could look like, Justice Funders, where I serve as executive director, curated Liberate Philanthropy, a blog series to reimagine philanthropy free of its current constraints. Here are five lessons we learned:

  1. The way forward for philanthropy begins by seeking greater values alignment.
  2. “Disrupting cycles of white supremacy will entail decolonizing the institutions that preserve the accumulation of wealth and power.”
  3. Regenerative practices are rooted in trusting relationships among and between board members, community partners, and philanthropic peers.
  4. The liberation of philanthropy requires that we do what is necessary for justice.
  5. Reparations, Democracy, and Power.
    1. Reparations. Shift funds to the communities that have been most harmed through historic extraction and explicitly resource Black and Indigenous organizations driving actual reparations campaigns.
    2. Democracy. Non-grant investments should be democratically governed by historically divested communities, where every member has an equal vote on the fund’s investment priorities, as well as loan and equity deals.
    3. Power. Our dignity as people, in part, is defined by our ability to self-determine our futures.

Read the full article about creating more just philanthropy by Dana Kawaoka-Chen at Nonprofit Quarterly.