Much has been written about the impact and significance of leading edge, equity-based practices in philanthropy, such as trust-based philanthropy principles, sharing power through participatory decision-making, getting proximate to community, and centering community voice. Early adopters of these important practices tend to be philanthropic institutions rather than individual givers — and these practices can in fact feel obscure or abstract to individual donors.

But the majority of philanthropic giving in the United States — 67 percent of total giving in 2021 — is generated by individuals. While much of this giving is in small dollar donations, many individual donors operate as significant grantmakers. For example, in 2021, the number of Donor Advised Funds (DAFs) in the United States approached 1.3 million, an increase of 28 percent over the year before, and totaled an estimated $234.06 billion in assets. Individual donors are largely responsible for allocating this money philanthropically. If our sector is to change — if we want to see funds allocated in equitable and effective ways — then it is crucial that these equity-based practices in giving come alive for individual donors.

SV2 is a learning community of innovative givers committed to accelerating equity in the Bay Area through collective grantmaking and impact investing. Our donor partners learn best practices through this collective work and also in immersive learning workshops and by “getting proximate” with local community leaders and organizations. We believe that as individual donors are influenced in our community, they will give more generously, and their giving will be more effective because it is more centered in community voice and solutions. Data from our donor partner community backs up this belief: in 2022, 72 percent of donor partners reported that their SV2 engagement had increased their ability to advance equitable practices in social impact, and 94 percent said their involvement in SV2 had increased their level of knowledge about local community needs and solutions.

Read the full article about putting equity into practice by Jody Chang at The Center for Effective Philanthropy.