Giving Compass’ Take:
• Sudha Nandagopal, a leader for social change, explains how philanthropy should encompass much more than donations in order to support broader systems change.
• Why is consistent giving, rather than a one-time donation, important in supporting movements for change? What can you do to ensure you understand the importance and implications of your giving beyond donations?
• Look deeper into the impact of philanthropy in communities beyond donations.
Sudha Nandagopal has worn many hats in environmental and social movements over the years. As a public servant, she oversaw a groundbreaking environmental-justice initiative for the city of Seattle — which landed her on the Grist 50 in 2016. These days, Nandagopal is focused on a key element of any movement for change: the flow of money.
Nandagopal spoke to Fix about the potential for philanthropy to spur change — through funding, yes, but also by shifting entire power structures.
Racial justice, environmental justice, climate change, labor, immigration — all of those issues have to do with the flow of capital and how our economic systems are structured. I realized that if we really want to move things upstream, we have to change how resources are flowing and how the social-change movement itself is funded.
So I’m interested in the role that givers can play in changing economic systems to enable more justice in the world — to enable a world where we’re taking care of the environment, where people have the connections, the support, and the resources that they need to thrive. And that means that those who have historically been left out of economic success should be the ones who are shaping the economic systems of the future.
As long as philanthropy is governed by historic power dynamics, we will continue to create those. So we have to kind of dismantle and build at the same time. Part of that is casting a wider, more robust net in terms of who needs to see themselves as a philanthropist — but also casting a wider net in terms of who sees themselves as part of the social-change movement, and what role they can play beyond donating.
Read the full article about going beyond donations by Claire Elise Thompson at Grist.
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