At the end of last year, I had the privilege to speak on a panel exploring the future of philanthropy. Towards the end, our moderator, the Arab Foundations Forum’s Naila Farouky, asked us to share our own personal vision for philanthropy – what we would like to see happen in our field. I’ve now written up the five ideas that define my vision for the future of philanthropy:
- Root and branch reform to the way foundations consider and conduct their investments and their investment policies. The majority of philanthropic capital – $1.5 trillion – is in endowments and funds which are managed and invested in global capital markets sometimes in ways that are inconsistent with the very missions of the foundations, such as those funding efforts to tackle climate change and global heating but also investing in fossil fuels.
- We need an agenda for philanthropy rooted in justice and social justice in terms of race, class, climate and gender. That means examining the representation of Black people, people of colour, and women in the most senior professional roles in foundations and on foundation boards.
- Liberal foundations need to fund and get behind social movements. The social movements of the kind we’ve seen emerge in recent years are – almost by definition – at the cutting edge of where social and political change is going. Why isn’t more philanthropy going there too?
- Core funding must become the default – a new philanthropic orthodoxy. Here, the current reality should be inverted. Funders should provide core, unrestricted and multiyear funding as the default – something most nonprofits have long called for.
- Create more spaces to speak truth to power. While philanthropy remains a private and sometimes opaque pursuit, albeit one undertaken for public benefit, we need to invest more in the capacity of our media to understand and provide coverage of philanthropic power – in a way which is nuanced, constructive and well-evidenced.
Read the full article about the future of philanthropy by Charles Keidan at Alliance Magazine.
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