What We're Reading: Create Cultures of Care to Transform Philanthropy From the Inside Out

"There is no denying that over the last three years our world has been fundamentally reshaped by a worldwide pandemic, urgent climate collapse, widening inequality, rising authoritarian threats, and increasingly violent reactionary culture backlash," said Richael Faithful for Peak Grantmaking. "The peril of this moment is defined by precarity of many of the systems, norms, and order that we have known. It is an inherently stressful time. The fact is that as our world has been reshaped, we—as people—have been, too."

"Philanthropy, as well as other service-based work, place even more demands on our strained capacity. Plenty of data reveal increased stress levels on nonprofits since the pandemic. Yet, we have to assume high stress levels, compassion fatigue, and burnout are mirrored for funders as well. A 2019 UK survey found that 80 percent of charity workers experienced workplace stress, and a staggering 42 percent reported that their job was not good for their mental health."

"Sharp shifts in funding priorities is one key source of this heightened stress because it entails major changes: updating policies, systems, and other apparatuses to make these shifts, gaining staff and board consensus to make changes within traditionally slow-moving institutions, administering funds so that grantees quickly receive funds in response to urgent, evolving needs. Some philanthropic staff have felt a two-sided squeeze—internally and externally—on one end, pressure to support grantees in crisis during twin pandemics, and on the other end, lethargic or bureaucratic responses to quickly deliver necessary changes."

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