These past months, we've found ourselves returning to the same question: are our plans still serving their purpose, or is there a greater opportunity made possible by the crises in which we find ourselves?
We asked NCG's board, staff, and membership to weigh-in on how they're balancing this question. Darnell Cadette, Director, Community at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative joins us to share more about the launch of NCG's newest network, the Bay Area Homelessness Funders Network, and what he's learning about the broader movement of the moment we're in.
What are you hearing from the region’s philanthropy and our broader partner-community on what matters most right now?
As we confront the legacy of racism in the United States with the backdrop of civil unrest, a global pandemic, an economic crisis, and fires across the region, what matters most is the work towards our collective vision of a just Bay Area where everyone thrives — a Bay Area where Black, brown and all other people impacted by systemic racism and structural inequities have the assets and power to shape their communities. This is the work, and it is imperative that as a sector, we intentionally resource, center the voices of, and ultimately cede power to leaders from these communities as they build a racially equitable and just future for everyone.
What excites you about the Bay Area Funder Network to End Homelessness?
This funder network is an incredible opportunity for increased collective action in preventing and ending homelessness in the Bay Area. I’m excited about the opportunities for shared learning and collaboration as best and promising practices from across the region and country are elevated, implemented, and scaled. I’m also excited about the network’s explicit commitment to centering racial equity in our work, and how well positioned this network will be to support the philanthropic sector on this journey.
What’s bringing you joy right now?
My family—both chosen and by blood—continue to bring me tremendous amounts of joy! I’m incredibly lucky to be surrounded by a strong and supportive community, and I am particularly grateful for them right now. The second thing bringing me joy is my work. Yes, we are tackling some intractable problems at a particularly tumultuous time, but I get so much energy from the community leaders and philanthropic partners I am fortunate enough to collaborate with in this work.
What’s one thing you’ve learned about yourself as you pursue your work through the pandemic and the uprising?
One of the things I’ve learned, and continue to learn, is the importance of self care while also taking care of others in our space. The systems and structures we are ultimately working to dismantle and reimagine have been designed, built, and reinforced over hundreds of years. The significant moment we are in right now is part of a broader movement, and while working with urgency is paramount to our success, so is persistence and longevity.
What’s the best adaptation we’ve made at NCG?
I continue to be impressed with NCG’s ability to engage its members, identify and articulate our needs, and develop programming and opportunities that enable us to meet those needs. Throughout the past few months, the programming has been accessible, topical, and insightful, and continues to be in service of building our sector’s capacity to collaboratively support a healthy, thriving, and just Bay Area. I’m so grateful for the hardworking, creative, and passionate team!