We live in dangerous times, and every passing news cycle contains another outrage, another violation of norms, another threat to our democracy, another threat to our planet.
In the face of escalating racial attacks, (be it imprisonment of kids on the border or the racist rhetoric being tweeted from the white house) many have noted, rightly, that philanthropy as a sector has been too cautious and too quiet. The Communications Network, in it’s recent piece, Silence Speaks Volumes, calls on foundations to use their voices in this moment.
Yes, it’s meaningful for people from all sectors of our society to condemn the Administration’s attacks on people of color. And, for those of us working in the philanthropic sector, these times call on us to use all of our tools in defense of our inclusive, multi-racial democracy. We are more than commentators or observers– as funders, our role is to resource a more just and equitable future. What we do in this moment will be far more important than what we say.
As painful as this moment is, it is also a time in which the work to be done has become more clear. The vulnerability of our democracy has become more clear. Racial anxiety and social divisions are being stoked in order to prop up a reckless system that benefits only the wealthiest. As we condemn the most recent of a long list of outrages, can we also use this moment to deepen our own clarity of purpose, and ensure that our funding will bring about a more just future?
As funders, we can not only speak out but also take action to bolster our inclusive democracy.
So many of us in philanthropy are eager to do something meaningful in this tumultuous time. Let’s challenge ourselves to use this moment to put our institutional values into practice. Let’s walk the walk as boldly as we talk the talk.