The Importance of Eliminating Colonialism in Philanthropy: A review of "Decolonizing Wealth"

In his review of Edgar Villanueva's Decolonizing Wealth, Michael Seltzer, distinguished lecturer at the Marxe School of Public Affairs at Baruch College, discusses that the book places a spotlight on "how colonialism has been perpetuated and the importance of eliminating its persistence in today’s wealth and philanthropic circles in particular."

Arguing this book is, perhaps, "the most refreshing and insightful of the recent spate of books on foundations," Seltzer says:

Villanueva is a rare combination: both a grant maker and a member of the continent’s first tribes. Drawing on Native American wisdom, he presents an eye-opening prescription of how foundations can dismantle the power divide that has historically separated funders from those nonprofit organizations that seek their support. Invoking an understanding among indigenous people of medicine as “a way of achieving balance,” he outlines what he terms “Seven Steps to Healing”—Grieve, Apologize, Listen, Relate, Represent, Invest and Repair—though he offers this prescription less as a checklist for funders to complete than as an invitation to embark on the journey of decolonization.

"Decolonizing Wealth," according to Seltzer, "calls for foundations to give up or share control in decision-making with the people most affected by those decisions."

Read the review here.

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