Wherever we have seen community resilience in the face of the public health, economic, and education crises of 2020, we find strong local leadership at work. However, rather than supporting local people to strengthen their own capabilities to identify, prioritize, and solve their own problems as the path to sustainable development, the world’s current development paradigm prioritizes working on behalf of local people to define… Read More »Sustainable Development Requires a “People-first” Approach
What we are reading
“What would it look like if we decided to find and fund local organizations applying themselves to bringing value to their communities?” It was a sunny summer day in 2012, and the question came from American philanthropist Andy Bryant, executive director of Segal Family Foundation. He was visiting the Population Services International office in Bujumbura where I worked, looking for organizations to whom his foundation could… Read More »In Times of Crisis and Beyond, Local Leaders Are the Ones We Need
I was in Kibera, Africa’s largest slum, when I heard about the shooting of another black man, Jacob Blake, by US police. Close by is a mural of George Floyd, painted on a wall near where I grew up, a reminder that the current upheaval surrounding race in the US has global repercussions. Just as calls for racial justice echo in American and European streets, government offices and… Read More »Closing the race gap in philanthropy demands radical candour
As events unfold in the US and across the world, colleagues in the aid sector are closely watching, and sharing their solidarity. After all they are allies and educators of human rights. Yet as various institutions grapple with their failure to address discrimination, there has been a disappointing lack of self-reflection in our sector. If we understand that racism is embedded in structures, that it… Read More »The aid sector must do more to tackle its white supremacy problem
Who would have thought Americans would be nostalgic for a week ago? Today I woke wishing that all we were managing was a global pandemic, more than 100,000 deaths in the United States, and a deepening economic crisis. I did not think that the constant fear we were carrying could have gotten this much worse, this quickly. Over the past week, along with other colleagues… Read More »Dismantling Racism Might Require Philanthropy to Dismantle Itself (Dispatches)
For more than a decade Morgan Dixon and Vanessa Garrison have been working to mobilize Black women to improve their health one step at a time, literally. In 2010 the friends founded GirlTrek with the mission of inspiring fellow Black women to change their lives by walking.
What the world witnessed last week in America is not new. George Floyd, another African American man killed by police. Over one hundred uprisings in cities around the country to express the collective hurt of racism, state-sanctioned violence, and economic want. The hurt is intensified because we bore witness to ten minutes of documented terror; because COVID-19 increasingly reveals people of color to be both… Read More »MEETING THIS MOMENT: FIVE STRATEGIES TO MOVE FORWARD TOGETHER
This letter is the product of a protracted, heated, angry and passionate discussion that took place on the #ShiftThePower WhatsApp group last week. Several people on the group had been approached separately by International NGOs who wanted to learn about their experiences in local fundraising and building community philanthropy, but in ways that all felt were ‘extractive.’ These interactions point to the growing trend for INGOs to look further afield for resources to fill the funding gap that many are experiencing.
Between our broken global economic model, rising inequality, and the erosion of democracy and human rights, we are living in a time of crisis. But there are, in times of crisis, new possibilities for transformation. We are living not only in an era of change but in a change of era. The flawed 20th-century international system is ending — and it has to. But what… Read More »Opinion: INGOs — it’s time for us to go further, faster
As I begin my third year at the Ford Foundation’s helm, I am reminded of how privileged I am—and we all are—to serve this institution. For my colleagues and me, these past 15 months have entailed both deep introspection about this privilege and broad exploration of how we can harness and direct it to advance our mission. For us, what has unfolded is a process… Read More »Toward a new gospel of wealth