Change is borne of experience. Lasting change is borne of enlightenment. The divide between the two is often quite significant.

Change is the subject of the recent report from the Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) (Foundations Respond to Crisis: Lasting Change?) which asks us all to consider one central question: how enduring are the shifts in foundation practices over the past 20 months? We are seeing signs of hope. The COVID-19 pandemic and racial justice movement brought into focus the absolute and unqualified need for the field of philanthropy to evolve — and many foundations responded in kind. The moment revealed that the field is capable and ready to make a bold shift and transform the status quo.

For the shifts to be lasting, philanthropic individuals, families, and institutions must lead with intention and return to the fundamentals of philanthropic purpose. Strategies, operating models, even mission statements can change, but purpose is what grounds a philanthropy in its approach and dictates leadership decisions. Philanthropy is a deliberate choice, and it is one that you must assert time and time again.

One of the main findings in the report is that nearly half of foundation leaders surveyed said that their boards were the biggest impediment to their organization’s ability to advance racial equity. This is an indication that CEOs and board members must identify what barriers exist and how their decision making and structure perpetuate challenges. What changes in representation and roles must they make to demonstrate racial equity? How do they include communities of color in creating the conditions for these changes to sustain and evolve?

Read the full article about philanthropy with purpose by Nick Tedesco at The Center for Effective Philanthropy.