I’ve been inspired by the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP) and Grantmakers for Southern Progress (GSP), which have been working to drive more philanthropic resources to structural change in the South.

According to As the South Grows, between 2011 and 2015, foundations nationwide invested only 56 cents per person in the South for every dollar per person invested nationally. This is unacceptable!

Good structural change grantmaking in the South requires an understanding of the complicated history of the region and well as the region’s role in our nation’s history – a history of colonization and slavery. A history that has excluded.

As the South Grows reinforces the case to “understand the past in order to help shape the future, including especially the ways in which power has been distributed in our communities and the impact the distribution has had on people’s lives.”

An essential step in the process of resisting the urge to exclude in our grantmaking is decolonizing our thinking. A good place to start is hearing out respectfully and with an open heart the painful stories of those who have been exploited and excluded.

The work of GSP and NCRP, and the steps outlined in As the South Grows, give funders an opportunity to start walking our talk about diversity and equity, acknowledging that those most excluded and exploited by today’s broken economy possess exactly the perspective and wisdom needed to fix it.

We need to build new decision-making tables rather than setting one token place at the colonial tables as an afterthought.

Read the full article about excluding the south in philanthropy by Edgar Villanueva at the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy.