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Trust-Based Philanthropy in 4D Webinar Series

Thursday, May 5, 2022 -
10:00am to 11:30am PDT
Zoom Meeting
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The Trust-Based Philanthropy Project, in partnership with the Environmental Grantmakers Association, Blue Sky Funders Forum, and Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders, is pleased to announce a four-part webinar series on using trust-based values to guide your philanthropy’s grantmaking practices, culture, structures, and leadership.

While some may view trust-based philanthropy as the sector’s latest fixation or a self-styled catchphrase to publicly signal trust, practitioner-advocates of this approach have experienced its potential to inspire much deeper work — the work of reimagining the systems, norms, and beliefs that have held philanthropy back from realizing its vision of a better world for all of us. A full expression of trust-based philanthropy invites funders to bring values of equity and power-sharing to the forefront – and use them to guide all dimensions of our philanthropy, from decision-making to culture-setting to systems design. This trust-based, values-centered approach – which diverges from the scrutinous, compliance-oriented culture of traditional philanthropy – has gained momentum in the past several years as funders recognize the need to build trust and transparency in order to successfully tackle the complexities of today’s world.

While trust-based philanthropy tends to be most associated with a core set of practices such as unrestricted funding and streamlined paperwork, the Trust-Based Philanthropy Project’s four-dimensional (4D) framework invites us to consider how our grantmaking practices are intrinsically linked to our internal culture, structures, and leadership. Simply put, building trust and sharing power between funder and grantee requires us to proactively address how power and racial inequity show up at all levels of philanthropic work. 

Trust-Based Philanthropy in 4D offers a framework for being proactive in building trust and alleviating power imbalances across the various dimensions of a grantmaking organization, regardless of your starting point. In this webinar series, we will break down each of the four dimensions, spotlight examples from foundation leaders who have intentionally worked to align their grantmaking with trust-based and equity-centered values, and offer concrete steps you can take to apply these concepts within the context of your grantmaking organization.  

Who should attend: This webinar series is for anyone who works at a grantmaking organization, regardless of role and familiarity with trust-based philanthropy – however, most of the material will feel most relevant to those in senior leadership or decision-making roles. The series will offer enough introductory material for funders who are less familiar with trust-based philanthropy while providing new material and deeper context for those who have attended past programs from the Trust-Based Philanthropy Project.

Format:  Each session will include a 60-minute panel discussion featuring case stories from foundation leaders who have operationalized trust-based philanthropy within their orgs, followed by a 30-minute facilitated breakout discussion for members of our partnering organizations. While we recommend attending all four sessions for an optimal experience, each individual session will be designed to stand on its own.

Session 4: TBP in 4D: Cultivating Trust-Based Leadership

Thursday, May 5, 2022 | 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM PT


An organization’s leadership team plays a key role in upholding and reinforcing values and culture—not just by what is said, but what is done. For this reason, trust-based philanthropy is most successful when there is buy-in and modeling from leadership. In a trust-based context, leaders strive to be collaborative and facilitative, focused on lifting up the whole team and building trust internally rather than consolidating power and influence at the trustee level. Most importantly, they lead by embodying values of humility, equity, and transparency — with a willingness to give up some of their power in service of the organization's greater purpose.

So what does this tangibly mean for leaders at various roles within an organization? And how can a foundation’s CEO and board work to intentionally build trust among one another while upholding and reinforcing a trust-based culture? In this final session of the 4D series, we will hear from practitioners who have embraced self-reflective practices to cultivate their own trust-based leadership, as well as what they’re doing to reimagine their roles and their trustees’ roles toward advancing a more intentional trust-based culture within their organizations.

Participants can expect to walk away with a clearer understanding of what it means to be a trust-based leader; tools for taking a coaching stance to uplift, guide, and support teams; and strategies for reimagining board leadership to support your organization’s big-picture vision for trust-based philanthropy.


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