What We're Reading: Reparations, Not Charity

"When Aria Florant, cofounder of Liberation Ventures, told her audience at the Grantmakers for Effective Organizations’ 2022 national conference that '[the project of] reparations needs to shock the system, needs to disrupt White supremacist narratives, close the racial wealth gap, and build a culture of repair,' a question that arose for us was: How can we bring the insight and promise of the reparations movement to philanthropy, and how do we best use philanthropy to support the work of reparations?" said Jocelynne Rainey and Lisa Pilar Cowan for Nonprofit Quarterly. "Philanthropies like ours—the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation and the Brooklyn Community Foundation—that are funding work to address social, economic, and racial injustice must reckon with this contradiction and support the work of reparations."

"We believe that we are working in a liminal time and space. We have made some progress toward leaving behind the charity mindset and exclusively White-held decision-making power, and have begun listening to new sources of wisdom beyond the traditional White male philanthropist. But we are not yet living in a liberated world where capital is distributed evenly and the leaders of our society reflect this country’s full spectrum of humanity."

"We start with the conviction that philanthropy should not be about individual outcomes or individual generosity but rather about our collective future and our collective responsibility to one another. We believe that we must fundamentally change how philanthropy both conceptualizes and implements its work, and we are cognizant that it will take time, strategic thinking, and perseverance to make these changes. We have to get this right."

"This is daunting work, for sure. It disrupts how philanthropy has traditionally done business and invites a reexamination of everything—our jobs, our power structures, our endowments. And these times demand that we do this internal examination without taking time, dollars, or energy away from the work we are funding. We need to work on ourselves, but we cannot stop working on the world. It is hard and confusing work, and there are no great examples to follow. Fortunately, it is also thrilling and inspiring work, and it gets us closer to a world in which we can all thrive."

Read the full piece here.