New Frontiers in Funding, Philanthropy and Investment: How Professionalization Can Be a Barrier to Transformative Change

I was so pleased to join the Joseph Rowntree Foundation in July to speak at their conference on the New Frontiers in Funding, Philanthropy and Investment.

In this panel, and indeed throughout the conference, we discussed the ways in which traditional philanthropy has perpetuated White supremacy, neocolonialism, Global North imperialism, racism, and inequitable systems that serve to maintain an unequal status quo and perpetuate a charity mindset and framework. I spoke about how, through an extensive three-year learning process, our team at Firelight have worked to shift into a solidarity-based approach using community-driven systems change.

I shared how we have shifted our thinking about areas including impact, how we measure change, how we understand ‘professionalism’, organizational effectiveness and efficiency, and how we carry out our grantmaking practices. This includes supporting and funding what is needed for long-term systems change at the community level, even if impact or change is not easily measurable. It also includes re-evaluating the results we seek, and choosing to focus on depth and sustainability of impact, not reach or scale or quick, measurable results.

Click here or watch the video above to hear the remainder of my panel.

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