Equity has surfaced in the social sector as a work imperative, not only for nonprofits but for philanthropy. Many organizations are looking to incorporate equitable strategies – internally in their processes related to governance and the talent pipeline, and externally in how they interact and support the nonprofit community.
There are a few funders who have moved forward on incorporating equitable practices, but many others are caught in the business as usual mode of: If it isn’t broke, then don’t fix it. Unfortunately, that viewpoint does not lend itself to re-imagining alternative ways of working together.
This power imbalance between philanthropy and nonprofits creates a situation where we think and act as if we know what is best for others without actually talking to the people in communities.
NCRP’s suite of self-assessment resources helps philanthropy explore the power from within to uncover ways they may be complicit in the uneven power dynamic. The toolkit also lifts up ways in which there has been success in the sector, in order to pave a way forward that really starts with the end user in mind.
Philanthropies may not be ready to abdicate their power, but they can recognize how it plays out in grantee relationships and community. Once we critically assess our own power dynamics, we will be better positioned to understand how to wield that power to gain greater impact and return on investment.
Regional associations of grantmakers can help philanthropy re-imagine the future of the sector and how philanthropic resources can be leveraged and deployed. This conversation should start in grantmaker-only spaces where CEOs and trustees are invited to address the issue of equity together.
Read the full article about equity in philanthropy by Kimberly Casey at National Committee on Responsive Philanthropy.