Giving Compass' Take:

• Denver Frederick at Business of Giving interviews Edgar Villanueva, author of Decolonizing Wealth: Indigenous Wisdom to Heal Divides and Restore Balance, and discusses the power dynamics in philanthropy. 

• Villanueva maintains that he is not trying to take down the philanthropic sector, but rather point out a few ways to address its flaws. How are other donors responding to his suggestions?  

• Read more about Villanueva's ideas on the best practices in philanthropy. 


The following is a conversation between Edgar Villanueva, author of Decolonizing Wealth: Indigenous Wisdom to Heal Divides and Restore Balance, and Denver Frederick, Host of The Business of Giving on AM 970 The Answer WNYM in New York City.

Denver: Let’s begin with the first word of the title of your book, “decolonization,” and it may be best for you to talk about that by telling us first – what is colonization? 

Edgar: Colonization is something that often, especially in the US, we romanticize because we are taught as young children that the colonizers were heroes…actually a history of this country and the establishment of this country in a way that is not actually real. In the book, I talk about the realities of colonization, which actually was an atrocity.

Denver: You talk about the history of colonization… is it still going on?

Edgar: It absolutely is. We often think of that word as something that started 500 years ago in this country, but the dynamics of colonization, which are about dividing, conquering, exploiting, separating – those dynamics are still taking place today.

Denver: How does philanthropy perpetuate these dynamics?

Edgar: In so many ways. You know you see these dynamics of colonization showing up in our culture and institutions, but in a really unique way when it comes to institutions that move and control wealth.  When you look at in philanthropy: Who gets to manage, allocate, control and spend money? Who is actually receiving that money? The history of how that wealth was accumulated: Who was harmed in the process?  You see a lot of those dynamics coming to play in our history as a sector, but also in our day to day practices.

Read the full article about decolonizing wealth in philanthropy by Denver Frederick at Business of Giving.