The movement for reparations in the United States—a Black-led movement that began even before slavery’s end—is making unprecedented strides forward, and governments across the country are beginning to act. In October 2020, California became the first state to initiate an official task force to study and develop a reparations plan for Black Americans harmed by slavery and its legacies. In March 2021, the city council in Evanston, Illinois, approved the Local Reparations Restorative Housing Program to address racial discrimination in housing. In April 2021, HR 40 was voted out of committee for the first time in its 32-year history. If passed, the bill would establish a commission to study the negative effects of slavery.

These initiatives represent just a few of the many forms that advocacy for reparations can take. Other activities include grassroots power-building, research, narrative change, and stakeholder mobilization. There is an enormous amount of work to be done, and it needs real investment to be successful.

A new philanthropic model, in the form of asset transfers coupled with a comprehensive racial repair framework, would deepen investment in Black communities while reflecting the reparations movement’s goals. In addition, it would move the philanthropic sector into a liminal space (ie, a transitional opening for social change) that could decrease the need for philanthropy in the first place.

We believe that a culture of repair must be embedded into all institutions we create—including philanthropy—to ensure Black people can thrive.

At Liberation Ventures, we define repair as an iterative, cyclical process with four components: reckoning, acknowledgment, accountability, and redress. This framework was developed through a study of frameworks across disciplines—from transitional and restorative justice, to prison-industrial complex abolition, to psychology and religion. It is a living framework; as more individuals and organizations try it out, it will evolve in tangent with our lived experiences. It can apply to all sectors, but here we use it to ask: what might a comprehensive philanthropic approach to repair look like?

Read the full article about a philanthropic approach to repair by Aria Florant and Venneikia Williams at Nonprofit Quarterly.