When you think about “philanthropists,” who comes to mind? Maybe it’s Bill and Melinda Gates, maybe it’s Mackenzie Scott. Or maybe your mind goes to the men that our country thinks of as the fathers of modern philanthropy, like J.D. Rockefeller or Andrew Carnegie. And while it’s true that those men contributed to the founding of modern philanthropy, focusing exclusively on men like Carnegie obscures a long history of Black philanthropy that offers a very different way of giving and bringing about social change. In fact, much of what ails modern philanthropy — a paternalistic savior mentality, toxic power structures, philanthropist-centered solutions rather than community-driven solutions — has its roots in white philanthropy’s founding.

Today, Black, Indigenous, and Person of Color (BIPOC) staff at foundations across the country are working to sever the white-dominant, paternalistic roots that anchor the philanthropic sector and transform society by giving in service of liberation. By trusting communities to both diagnose and solve their own problems, by shifting the power of the philanthropic sector from its mostly white leaders to communities of color, we begin to write a new chapter for philanthropy. Supporting communities to build and wield power long-denied to them is how we break free from philanthropy’s racist roots.

Black philanthropists show us a different way to give. Philanthropy may not have been built on a just foundation, but that doesn’t mean we can’t redesign and rebuild.

Read the full article about Black philanthropy by Dennis Quirin at Medium.