Giving Compass’ Take:
• We need to look to other countries to change how we see our own, opening our imaginations to new ideas, solutions, and futures since COVID-19.
• COVID-19 will be studied for generations to come. But what the world will learn will depend on what we were able to see today. What questions are you asking yourself?
At the global learning team at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, it has been exciting to see people looking at what the world can teach us, whether that be how China is handling COVID-19, South Korea’s drive-through testing, or New Zealand’s elimination of the virus under Jacinda Ardern’s leadership. Yet in a survey conducted by Candid in early 2020 of foundations located in the US, 73 percent of respondents reported that their domestic grantmaking was rarely or not at all informed or inspired by ideas and solutions from around the globe and beyond US borders.
These practices may be shifting. Those of us working in philanthropy, government, and social change are trying to learn as much about COVID-19 as possible, and that naturally includes looking abroad. Yet what will we actually see when we do? Too often, our vision is obscured by bias, and as we try to distinguish news from noise, good intentions are often not enough. We must ask ourselves critical questions, and train ourselves to overcome our biases.
Here are four ways to see the world in a new light, as we look to come out of the pandemic’s darkness:
- Seeing Beyond the Familiar: COVID-19 has no borders and the same with good ideas. But too often, we are limited by what has been called the “country of origin effect,” a psychological effect in which people understand the quality and relevance of an object or idea by the country it comes from.
- Seeing With Others: Another approach to global learning begins by acknowledging our own lack of understanding so that we can see through others’ eyes. And when we go exploring—either in person or virtually—it’s always good to invite others to come along, because they will see things differently, picking and choosing the learning that will most benefit their communities.
- Seeing Different Underlying Conditions: While we still need to learn as much as we can about how the virus spreads and how to stop it, the disparities between the successes and failures of different countries run much deeper than the epidemiological, medical, or technological facts. To mitigate the effects of the virus on society, we must better understand the broader range of underlying conditions that can exacerbate the pain and contribute to healing.
- Seeing With New Eyes: Sometimes the real journey is not seeking new landscapes but seeing the world with new eyes. On my team at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, we call this “Blue Marble Thinking,” inspired by how the first sight of the now-commonplace image of the earth from space, “the blue marble,” profoundly changed how we think of our planet.
Read the full article about what COVID-19 is teaching our world by Karabi Acharya at Stanford Social Innovation Review.
If you are looking for more articles and resources for Impact Philanthropy, take a look at these Giving Compass selections related to impact giving and Impact Philanthropy.
Looking for a way to get involved?
COVID-19 is a fascinating topic, and others found these events, galas, conferences and volunteering opportunities aggregated by Giving Compass to be relevant for individuals with a passion for COVID-19.
Are you ready to give?
If you are ready to take action and invest in causes for COVID-19, check out these Giving Funds, Charitable Organizations and Projects related to COVID-19.