This year, none of us knew that when we left, we would witness #harvey. I did what I normally do, post-summit rest before I make my trek back home.

Home is now California, so, a stop in Texas made sense. I planned to visit with my family a bit before heading home but was detoured. Now I’m convinced it was providential and grace. There was a lot of talk about this impending storm. As one who grew up along the Gulf Coast, I listened and something about this seemed like there was a real storm brewing. I felt the need to buy water and other items, that’s big for me.

This year, at the summit, in conjunction with the Council on Foundations, we discussed with a group of philanthropists Reimagining Black Philanthropy. One of the things we discussed was the lack of existing infrastructure around black philanthropy and what that truly means for the vulnerable in our communities. Not to mention, our philanthropy begins at home and for many of us there isn’t much left to share after we’ve taken care of close relatives.

Harvey is a calamity that sheds light on the disaster poor black and brown people face on a daily basis: 1) no infrastructure to support systemic vulnerability; 2) a few leaders — many of whom are overextended, trying to have impact amidst institutional bureaucracy; and 3) colleagues who are not helpful but are focused on maintaining and I’m trying to figure out just what do they have to maintain….

Our communities deserve big, bold interventions. I’ve never heard of anyone starting a business hoping to have one client/customer. So, why do we have that same mentality about the impact in our communities?

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