As the South Grows: So Grows the Nation, a report from National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy and Grantmakers for Southern Progress, interrogates an idea I’ve heard countless Southern organizers and strategists obsess over: Imagine what would be possible if funding was done differently in the South.

Above all, what I hear in this report is an invitation for funders to become new kinds of practitioners: More vessel, less gatekeeper; more situational, less linear; more relational, less transactional.

And with this, to let go of the power that comes with money and trust that the world will be better for it.

  1. Stay curious. Ask questions like:
    1. What does your community need?
    2. What does your community dream of?
    3. Why did you approach this issue that way?
  2. Figure out how to move money quickly. It is entirely possible to move money quickly. And it’s necessary if we are to respond adequately to the chaos and danger of this political moment.
  3. Have faith. And if you don’t, be willing to ask why. Listening to people on the ground, trusting their leadership and moving money so they can do the work: That’s trust-based grantmaking.
  4. Build space for revision into grantmaking and reporting practices. Will some of our projects fail in their initial inception? Definitely. Be a thought partner as we learn, offer specific feedback, share other models with us and build reporting documents that ask us to learn and revise rather than spin stories of unbridled success.

Read the full article about philanthropy in the South by Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara at National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy.