Giving Compass’ Take:
• Bess Rothenberg writes about the Ford Foundation’s grantmaking practices that respond to and advance the #MeToo movement.
• How can these practices be incorporated into your existing efforts?
• Read about the potential of #MeToo to have a lasting influence.
When the #MeToo movement went viral in 2017, an avalanche of revelations rocked the fields that philanthropy invests in, from arts to media to politics. But within a few months, #MeToo complaints began surfacing within philanthropy itself, reminding us that no organization is immune. The allegations were disturbing: of discrimination being repeatedly ignored and of far too many examples of accusers leaving the organization while the accused kept their positions. Boards and funders received reports about serious misconduct yet had not responded. A few cases even involved forcible sexual abuse.
The scale and momentum of the #MeToo movement compelled the Ford Foundation to take a long, hard look in the mirror. What should be our role in responding to abuses of power within the organizations we support? In preventing them? Had we been doing enough?
To provide more specific advice and insight to our program staff and grantees, we developed a body of institutional-level guidance, case studies and tools that reflect a reassessment of our efforts, both in responding to cases of discrimination, harassment, and abuse, and in taking steps to prevent these cases from happening in the first place.
Throughout this process, we learned seven lessons that are crucial for the broader funding field going forward:
- Be explicit and consistent about commitments to dignity and safety in the workplace.
- Institute a clear internal process.
- Be fully informed and establish a grantee’s responsibilities.
- Understand where a funder’s role begins—and where it doesn’t.
- Grant funds to help right wrongs.
- Convey that learning and improving are non-negotiable.
- Imagine systemic solutions to systemic problems.
Read the full article about grantmaking practices for the #MeToo era by Bess Rothenberg at Stanford Social Innovation Review.
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