This year, the philanthropic sector has had to grapple with four central crises converging at once: natural disasters sparked by climate change; the public health and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic; outrage over racist violence and injustice perpetuated by law enforcement; and a tumultuous election cycle that has challenged the core of our democratic institutions. As CEP’s Foundations Respond to Crisis: A Moment of Transformation? report outlines, the magnitude of the converging crises of 2020 has created a moment to challenge norms and disrupt status quo operating principles in philanthropy.

Ultimately, the question will come down to philanthropy’s ability to go beyond acting with the urgency to address immediate needs and toward seizing the opportunity to move the needle on long-term, structural change.

The Amalgamated Foundation, where I serve as executive director, found itself in a unique position to respond to these interlocking crises in ways that leveraged our unique role as both a corporate foundation and public charity that houses pooled funds and donor-advised funds (DAFs) alike. As a relatively new foundation built on the legacy of sweatshop workers who came together to use their collective power to form a union, then a bank, we felt a particular sense of responsibility to take action this year. As my colleagues and I reflect on the lessons we’ve learned from this year, I want to underscore two opportunities in particular for ongoing transformation in our work, and for the sector more broadly: 1) leveraging technology and 2) deepening collaboration.

Read the full article about structural change by Anna Fink at The Center for Effective Philanthropy.