When you think of the word philanthropy, what images come to mind? A building? Stacks of money? Grant checks? Board rooms? Who sits in those places of power?

When Donors of Color Network (DOCN) was formed to nurture a joyful community prepared to shift the center of gravity in philanthropy, we knew that image had to change — we had to be able to see the people and stories behind the money. We needed to focus on the relationship instead of the transaction.

“Philanthropy Always Sounds Like Someone Else: A Portrait of High Net Wealth Donors of Color” (Portrait Report) is a qualitative research report based on the individual narratives of over 100 high-net-worth donors of color. These interviews revealed deep-rooted giving practices and community ties that ran counter to what the mainstream narrative says about philanthropy and wealth. Donors of color are an untapped power source already in place to shift philanthropy toward racial equity. Here, we’d like to share a few lessons learned from conducting Portrait Report research.

The philanthropic sector should seek to:

  • Nourish peer-to-peer networking in their programming.
  • Examine their relationship with the racial wealth gap.
  • Put their money where the movement is.
  • Fund longer grant cycles and general operating expenses.
  • Lead with people of color.
  • Resource infrastructure to build critical capacities.
  • Nurture donor education to redefine the status quo.

Read the full article about learning from donors of color by Isabelle Leighton at The Center for Effective Philanthropy.