We are living immersed in interconnected challenges of planetary scale, with climate change most deeply and devastatingly interlinked. We see complexity play out live, cascading into society and onto our screens. Our daily lives have become inundated by news of polarisation.

Confronted with the scale and ripple effects of complexity, taking refuge in a polarised position becomes almost understandable as a coping mechanism for lack of control. Its rewards might be a perception of belonging and a sense that antagonising is more empowering than feeling left out. The cost we collectively pay for this dynamic is a stalemate on vital issues, becoming paralysed by narratives pitting groups against each other instead of moving forward, towards building a different future.

Despite the discourse, nobody truly owns these challenges. No one ‘side’ has the capacity to shift them. It just happens to be the opposite of what overcoming planet-level challenges takes: deep collaboration.

How can philanthropy play a part in chipping away at these gridlocks and be a tool for bridging, testing new solutions and constructive action?

Let’s look for inspiration in some of the practices of a distinct kind of philanthropic infrastructure: the community foundation.

  • Expanding opportunity — Surfacing local assets & cultivating new talent to multiply the change-making capital in communities
  • Platforming collaboration — Holding space for a shared vision to emerge & structuring the sustained engagement required to solve big challenges
  • Resourcing flexibly — Grant giving that builds relationships & capacities over the long run

Read the full article about community foundations by Alexandra Stef at Medium.