The South is underfunded, and structural change work in the region is drastically underfunded.

Working at a foundation committed to social justice and equity, the question is not should we fund these areas, but instead how should we fund these areas …

The key lesson for philanthropy — particularly in funding the South — is that trust needs to be a two-way street.

Funders need to trust that grant partners are doing meaningful work, and grant partners need to trust that funders are being accountable and advocating on their behalf.

As a national foundation trying to prioritize the South and rural communities in our grantmaking, I wanted to share some key tips on how to develop trusting relationships:

  • Admit that you do not know everything
  • Embrace discomfort and disagreements
  • Believe the lived experiences of those on the ground
  • Do not dangle money at the outset

As the saying goes, you need to move at the speed of trust. Change does not happen overnight, and grantmaking practices need to reflect that.

Read the full article about funding the South with a basis on trust by Allistair Mallillin at the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy.