Well, it didn’t take long for 2021 to remind us that the journey back from the edge of an abyss will not be a gentle one. Last Wednesday showed us we will need to advance racial equity to achieve a functioning democracy. And if democracy fails, we cannot sustain racial equity. The insurrection at the Capitol on January 6th undermines both.
Last week we celebrated Black futures and explored how we achieve a multiracial democracy that centers Black people. Northern California Grantmakers (NCG) and California Black Freedom Fund (CBFF) have been scheming to bring something to philanthropy for a while. More than 200 folks joined us to have some challenging conversations about the legacy of systemic racism, how it impacts today, and how we turn the corner and build a democracy that serves us all.
Thank you, Marcus and Dwayne, and Cathy and Dimple, for your courageous leadership. And Dimple, thank you for inviting me into the conversation to answer "What exactly holds us back from making more dramatic transformations in our philanthropy?" I’m humbled to be a part of it. I propose that what holds us back from making more dramatic transformations in philanthropy are three beliefs that we inherit and internalize from white supremacist culture.
I’ll be honest: I’ve been putting off answering your question “How do foundation leaders stay clear-eyed in this moment?” As I sit to write, our Northern California skies are hazy with wildfire smoke. It strikes me as a metaphor for this moment, 19 months into COVID, when our visions of a post-pandemic future are shifting yet again. I definitely don’t feel clear-eyed.
Thanks, Marcus and Dwayne, for your inspiring words and your leadership. As good discussions go, you’ve both got me thinking. And thanks to Marcus for tagging me and inviting me to jump into the conversation. Marcus’s “meet the moment” question for me is a good one: How does philanthropy need to work differently in these complex and turbulent times?
We have been working hard for the past year to create a website that reflects our current evolution. You'll find that we've updated our brand—and it's not just about changing logos or colors. We've taken a deeper look at how we communicate our values through our new design and our refreshed mission and vision statement. Our new site provides better accessibility and is more user-friendly. We hope this website makes your experience with NCG even better than it was before.