Giving Compass' Take:

• Kris Putnam-Walkerly gives funders four strategies for addressing their own privileged philanthropy and pushing towards real social justice.

• How do bureaucratic processes in nonprofits reflect privileged philanthropy? What are you doing to recognize your privilege in giving and work to deconstruct business as usual?

• Read another opinion on how funders can recognize privileged philanthropy and fight systemic racism.

In the United States of America in 2020, the sickening murder of a black man at the hands of the police is not new. For the world of philanthropy, it makes the pandemic look like a dress rehearsal for the main event.

The message resonating to me most right now is that everyone—and especially people with privilege and power in government, philanthropy and corporate America—is in a position to condemn business as usual

So, in the spirit of condemning business as usual, how does philanthropy reach its full potential to help catalyze, support and sustain this work? It must stop all privileged practices that get in the way. By recognizing and abolishing tightly-held beliefs and misguided practices, the sector will position itself to do the hard work ahead. Here are four examples:

1. Slow decision-making 

Self-imposed restrictions hold funders hostage to cumbersome policies and processes not required by law, and which slow everyone down.

2. Tying up funding in unnecessary hoops, hurdles, and hoopla 

In 50 years, we have not seen the breathtaking and sustained protests and outrage experienced today. Now is the time for funders to assess and understand emerging needs and opportunities.

3. Fear of losing control

Fear of losing power and control often manifests in tight funding restrictions and a refusal to provide the working capital nonprofits need to sustain their day-to-day operations, address changing needs and take advantage of unforeseen opportunities. By ceding control, philanthropists open up opportunities for new leadership, collaborations and ways forward.

4. “Don’t call us, we’ll call you” funding guidelines

Flat-out refusal to open yourself up to new ideas, new solutions, and new partners is a set-up for limiting innovation and thwarting agility. For many philanthropies, it’s another way to inadvertently perpetuate the status quo.

Read the full article about abolishing privileged philanthropy by Kris Putnam-Walkerly at Putnam Consulting Group.