The pandemic has had a profound impact on businesses — and also on organizations that rely on grants to do work. We caught up with a key expert of the citizen sector: Anne Marie Burgoyne. She is the Managing Director for Emerson Collective, the social change organization founded by Laurene Powell Jobs that uses philanthropy, impact investing, advocacy, and community engagement as tools to spur change. Anne Marie has decades of experience in philanthropy and shares her observations and recommendations — for grant givers and nonprofits alike.

Anne Marie, from your bird’s eye view of the citizen sector, what are you seeing is happening now?

There’s a dark side and a bright side. There is so much sadness and hardship and struggle in so many different places — I know I'm not saying anything that most of us aren’t seeing and experiencing, too: the racial bias in our core systems being held to account, the incredible public health crisis, the struggle of the education sector, the immigration system in total crisis, the fact that 50% more Americans are insecure than six months ago. So much upheaval that affects individuals and their ability to move forward and to feel safe. But I also have to say, I see bright spots. Some of those bright spots are hard to watch, like the struggle of people standing up for racial justice. But it is a bright spot, because it's people showing their heroism and their belief that something needs to be different and that their standing up matters.

And structurally, who else would know better how to innovate or show the way to a better society?

That’s right. The social sector has never been adequately funded or appreciated, but still, its actors stand up and respond. You see teachers being heroic every single day, our health workers, farm workers, people who deliver our food, people who fight and work for racial equity. Organizations and people are leaning in and building bright spots because they care deeply for their community. And they have the skills and knowledge to make a difference for the people around them.

Read the full article about innovating society during a pandemic by Konstanze Frischen at Forbes.