There is no better guardian of this freedom—no better defender of the vulnerable—than civil society: Committed, compassionate, engaged citizens organizing themselves—and mobilizing others—to work on behalf of others.
Indeed, during the last several years, many countries have begun restricting the right to assemble—and impeding the work of civil-society organizations, of NGOs, and faith groups, and associations of the discounted, disregarded, or disenfranchised. I see so many people fighting fear with concerted, courageous, compassionate action. Every day, on every continent, they take action for dignity, for fairness, and for the democratic values they believe in.
These brave men and women speak truth to power. They forge relationships with local communities and understand their concerns. By taking action, they make people feel less vulnerable. And you can bet that more than a few of them sat exactly where you sit today.
No matter where you work, I challenge you to think about ways you can bring your talent and tools to work for civil society, too. Ask yourselves:
- How can I learn from the courageous work of civil-society organizations and their leaders around the world?
- How can I take my cues from communities and civil society—from the people closest to the problems themselves—and advocate for change?
- How can I act on behalf of the NGOs defending human rights in countries where they are under threat?
- How can I model and extend these freedoms we cherish to all people?
It will take humility, and courage, and commitment to spread freedom from fear, and create a world that is free of fear. But this freedom—and all our freedoms—are worth fighting for.
Impact Philanthropy is a complex topic, and others found these selections from the Impact Giving archive from Giving Compass to be good resources.
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If you are ready to take action and invest in causes for Civil Society, check out these Giving Funds, Charitable Organizations and Projects related to Civil Society.