Giving Compass' Take:
- Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisor's report, Shifting Power to Shift Systems: Insights and Tools for Funders, explores how funders can evaluate and alter power dynamics to pursue equitable systems change goals.
- What are some inequitable practices that funders should eliminate? How can collective impact work help shift power in philanthropy?
- Read more on shifting power and changing systems.
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Shifting Power to Shift Systems: Insights and Tools for Funders is a new report from Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (RPA) that summarizes insights relating to power dynamics from leaders and experts on driving systems change.
The honest and rich conversations during those workshops surfaced several important themes and insights on how to balance power in a way that drives rather than inhibits change. RPA’s new report, Shifting Power to Shift Systems: Insights and Tools for Funders, distills some of the practical actions that funders can take in order to reduce that power imbalance, including:
- Shifting internal vision and practices to embrace a vision of society based on global solidarity and distributed leadership.
- Fostering a culture of learning, growing, and experimenting through exploring new tools and resources, sourcing fresh and emergent perspectives, and funding grantees without restrictions.
- Embracing equitable evaluation and impact assessment practices by recruiting evaluation teams and consultants who are culturally competent and possess lived experience, and by working with grantees to create relevant metrics of success that define impact on their terms.
The report also contains conceptual frameworks and actionable resources that can enable funders to create equitable processes and practices, and to embed equity as a core principle and building block of systems change. We hope this publication will be a meaningful contribution towards moving the practice of philanthropy away from its inequitable origins and practices, and towards more equitable practices that will ultimately enable it to shift power and systems.
Read the full article about shifting power in philanthropy at Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.
Money and influence are power. A product of historically inequitable and exploitative economic and political systems, philanthropy continues to wield disproportionate power today. At times this unintentionally contributes to inequitable power dynamics vis-a-vis the very communities whose lives funders seeks to transform. They often reinforce the systems philanthropy seeks to shift. In the past decade, however, the concept of power has been extended to recognize its capacity for liberation. Recently, a more nuanced conception of shared power has emerged that grows out of collaboration and relationships and fosters collective action.