Giving Compass’ Take:
• Ben Hecht, writing for Medium, explores how philanthropy needs to step up in order to address society’s most pressing social issues.
• Hecht discusses the success of nonprofit and for-profit stakeholders collaborating on initiatives that bring about positive social change. How can philanthropists keep for-profit actors accountable in these types of relationships?
• Read about how philanthropy work can focus on systems change.
These are troubling times. Two devastating, mass shootings, only hours apart — one of them explicitly motivated by murderous white supremacist ideology. A president whose rhetoric and actions have fanned the flame of racism and hatred. The runaway train that is climate change.
That said, racism has and continues to be part of the foundational architecture of this country, and many of the challenges we face today have been boiling for years and generations. But many of us in mainstream philanthropy have failed to listen and respond at the scale needed. Now, despite best intentions, it can feel as though our efforts are only playing at the margins of these omnipresent threats to our societal well-being and our democracy.
The question that I continue to grapple with is: do we in the social change sector truly have the will and the way to generate a new response that would be commensurate to the challenges we face? Can we fundamentally change our behaviors, given the inescapable shortcomings of solutions we’ve tried before? If so, what would that look like?
I take hope in the belief that we, at Living Cities, have unlocked some of the ingredients to that formula from our work over the last decade. For example, we have begun focusing as an organization on racism as the root of so many of the problems we are trying to solve.
We’ve also learned that communities need to build new problem solving mechanisms that can handle complexity and have the patience needed to change systems. In more than 100 places, through the Integration Initiative, the Boston Fed’s Working Cities Challenge, and the Strive Together network, we’ve witnessed the evolution of a new model whereby public, private, nonprofit and for-profit actors come together to hold each other accountable for achieving needle-moving results.
Read the full article about how philanthropy can help us move forward by Ben Hecht at Medium.
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