What you resist will persist is such a powerful frame to describe the complex, tedious and often exhausting dance that occurs between the national philanthropic sector and rural grassroots leaders who are moving transformational work with limited resources across the Southeast and Appalachia.
The very acknowledgement of this dance is shedding light on an important pain point: the historical and persistent underinvestment in movement work in Southern and Appalachian communities.
To disrupt this clumsy dance between funders and community requires an understanding that each partners’ success is intimately tied together and necessitates a level of proximity, trust and investment to move in a seamless way towards a shared line of sight.
What we know from the countless stories that we see play out over and over again in the region is that the philanthropic sector has struggled to fully commit to be a significant dance partner in our work to drive social change.
This struggle has been further fueled by a damaging and inaccurate national narrative that the Southeast and Appalachia drain the country’s resources – despite the fact that we are fueling the resistance.
Ultimately, the continuous cycle of underinvestment undermines our work and presents an urgent opportunity to strategically align investments to build on local momentum and spark national change.
We call this social change philanthropy: the intentional practice of centering communities that are most impacted, addressing systemic issues, naming inequities, creating equitable and inclusive practices, and celebrating innovation and creativity.
In our region, CoThinkk is a powerful example of a social change philanthropic model that is addressing complex challenges by amplifying the time, talent and treasure of African-American and Latinx community leaders and allies to shift narratives, deepen equity and drive systems change.
Read the full article about social change philanthropy by Mary Snow, Tracey Greene-Washington at the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy.