In an era marked by unprecedented wealth transfer and shifting societal dynamics, philanthropy is not sitting on the sidelines, but is being called to actively adjust to a new reality. This moment presents challenges and opportunities that should prompt those of us in the philanthropic sector to rethink how we work to fulfill our respective missions.

What has brought us to this moment? First, recent crises—like natural disasters, the COVID-19 pandemic, racial and ethnic injustices, migrant challenges, and the increased recognition of systems-based inequities, among others—have shown the need to be quick and adaptable in our philanthropic responses. Ongoing global events, such as humanitarian crises and climate-related disasters, have continued to prompt philanthropic responses on both local and international levels. Social movements advocating for various causes, including racial justice, gender equality, and climate action, have remained active and continue to shape funding priorities. Moreover, governments worldwide are changing the rules for how philanthropy works, making things like transparency and accountability more important than ever.

The public is also expecting more from the philanthropic sector, raising questions about the ethical implications of private funders shaping public policies. Globally, there’s a growing pushback against what’s perceived as an inappropriate influence on public policy by private funders. In the United States, concerns persist regarding the dominance of affluent donors in dictating solutions to societal and environmental challenges without involving the affected communities. This translates to a desire from the public for transparency; people want to understand what philanthropies are doing, and why. In the middle of all this, younger people are starting to have a bigger say in where philanthropic money goes. They care more about equity, inclusion, and transparency, as well as changing systems that cause problems. With these and other challenges converging, philanthropic organizations are called to reconsider their mission and core principles, how they approach their work with others, and how they work to fulfill that mission. This analysis may result in an adaptation of strategies and practices ensures continued relevance and effectiveness in a changing world.

Read the full article about strategies for philanthropists at Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.