Giving Compass' Take:
- Lem White and Keiko Murase share stories demonstrating the power of community-driven models to build power, wealth, and social justice.
- How can you better share power through your philanthropy? Which leaders and movements in your community could use your support?
- Read about shifting power to community-led funding.
What is Giving Compass?
We connect donors to learning resources and ways to support community-led solutions. Learn more about us.
Our greatest barrier is the scarcity of money. Or so we have been told.
Charitable giving had a record-breaking year in 2020 at $471.44 billion. Yet, in 2021, but for the notable exception of Mackenzie Scott, donations towards initiatives benefiting Black and Brown communities weren’t a priority for the nation’s top 50 donors. What’s more, $1.3 trillion sits in the corpus of foundations, and donor-advised funds (DAFs) total close to $160 billion. The wealthy individuals who give to these foundations have already received tax deductions for their donations, yet most of these funds are, at least for the time being, invested in stocks, bonds, or hedge funds, with only a small percentage reaching social justice groups.
Again, lack of money is most assuredly not the problem. The top one percent of US earners continue to accumulate enormous wealth—the nation’s billionaires saw their wealth rise by $2.1 trillion between March 2020 and October 2021. But consistently, those who hold this wealth have opted not to provide movements with the resources they need. For example, two years ago, the Washington Post looked at the 50 wealthiest Americans, who had a combined collective net worth of $1.6 trillion, and “found that their publicly announced donations toward COVID-19 relief efforts amount to about $1 billion, which is less than 0.1 percent of their vast personal wealth.” In other words, the overwhelming majority of the wealth generated at the top is being hoarded, rather than being invested in philanthropy of any sort, let alone racial and economic justice.
The silver lining is that community leaders are creative, making use of philanthropic resources where they can, but figuring out other ways to resource their communities when philanthropic funds fall short. In the past year, we have connected with many such Black and Brown leaders who are trailblazing new economic interventions through the social finance intermediary, Possibility Labs, which we co-lead. These leaders are experimenting with solutions that aim to replenish our scarce resources by nurturing relationships and subverting the systems of oppression that hold all of us back. Below, we offer vignettes from four movement organizations that are changing the landscape by developing inspiring, community-led models that build power, wealth, and social justice.
Read the full article about community-led models by Lem White and Keiko Murase at Nonprofit Quarterly.