Decolonizing Philanthropy: Why We Need to Rethink Giving

A new perspective on philanthropy that challenges the status quo and prioritizes the most marginalized communities.

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The Problem with Philanthropy

We need to rethink the way we do philanthropy if we want to create lasting change. The current system is colonial and extractive, benefiting the rich and powerful at the expense of the poor and marginalized. It’s time for a new way of giving that puts people and planet first.

The history of philanthropy is rooted in colonialism

The word philanthropy is derived from two Greek words, philia, meaning “love of” or “friendship to”, and anthropos, meaning “human being”. The concept of philanthropy has always been tied to the idea of helping others, but its history is often left out of the conversation.

Philanthropy has its roots in colonialism, and many of the world’s largest philanthropic organizations were founded by colonialists and imperialists. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, for example, was founded by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, who is the world’s wealthiest person. The foundation’s stated mission is to “enhance healthcare and reduce extreme poverty worldwide”. However, it has been criticized for its support of patented drugs and agricultural technologies that can create dependencies and exacerbate inequalities.

In recent years, there has been a growing movement to decolonize philanthropy. This involves rethinking the way we give, with a focus on supporting marginalized communities and promoting economic justice. It also means reevaluating how philanthropic organizations are structured and governed, ensuring that they are accountable to the communities they serve.

Decolonizing philanthropy is an important step in creating a more just and equitable world.

Philanthropy often reinforces systems of oppression

While philanthropy is often seen as a positive force, it can also reinforce systems of oppression. For example, philanthropic organizations may give money to support education in developing countries, but they may also inadvertently support the colonial education system that exists in those countries.

Philanthropy can also be used to promote a particular agenda or belief system. For example, some philanthropic organizations may give money to support religious missionary work. This can lead to the spread of Christianity in areas where it may not be wanted or welcome.

It is important to be aware of the potential problems with philanthropy before giving money to any organization. Otherwise, you may inadvertently be supporting a system that perpetuates inequality and oppression.

The Need for Decolonized Philanthropy

The colonial history of philanthropy has long been intertwined with the project of conquest and control. From its origins in the Christian churches of Europe to its more recent manifestations in the form of development aid, philanthropy has always been used as a tool to further the interests of the colonizer. Today, in a world that is increasingly interconnected and interdependent, it is more important than ever that we decolonize our philanthropy.

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Decolonized philanthropy centers the experiences of marginalized communities

Decolonized philanthropy is a term that is used to describe a philanthropic approach that centers the experiences and expertise of communities who have been marginalized by colonial systems. Decolonized philanthropy is built on the recognition that these communities know best what they need and how to achieve it. This approach challenges the traditional power dynamics in philanthropy, which have typically been dominated by wealthy donors and institutions.

There are many reasons why we need to decolonize philanthropy. First, it is important to acknowledge the role that philanthropy has played in perpetuating colonial systems. For example, many foundations and donors have supported projects that have had harmful effects on marginalized communities, such as forced assimilation or displacement. Second, decolonizing philanthropy can help to redress some of the damage that has been done by these colonial systems. By centering the experiences of those who have been most impacted by colonization, we can begin to repair some of the harm that has been inflicted. Finally, decolonizing philanthropy can help to build more just and equitable societies. When we invest in marginalized communities, we are investing in the future of our world.

Decolonized philanthropy challenges systems of oppression

Decolonized philanthropy is about much more than simply giving money to good causes. It’s about fundamentally challenging the systems of oppression that keep marginalized communities from thriving.

Most philanthropy today perpetuates the status quo, upholding systems of power and privilege that marginalize certain groups of people. In order to create a more just and equitable world, we need to decolonize philanthropy.

There are many ways to decolonize philanthropy, but some key principles include:

-Centering the voices and expertise of those most impacted by the issues we’re trying to address
-Repairing historical harms caused by colonization and capitalism
-Shifting power away from institutions and toward communities
– valuing wisdom, knowledge, and experience over formal education or credentials

These principles can be applied in many different ways, but they all start with the understanding that current systems are not working for everyone. We need to rethink the way we do philanthropy if we want to create a more just and equitable world.

What Decolonized Philanthropy Looks Like

Decolonized philanthropy is an approach to giving that is based on the belief that all people are deserving of help, regardless of race, ethnicity, or nationality. It is about recognizing the humanity in all people and working to end oppression in all its forms. This type of philanthropy is about more than just giving money – it is about giving of oneself in order to make the world a better place for all.

Decolonized philanthropy is community-led

Decolonized philanthropy is community-led, with dollars flowing directly to those who are most impacted by the issues at hand. It is based on the principle of self-determination, and it challenges the power dynamics that have historically kept marginalized communities from having a say in how their own needs are addressed.

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In a decolonized philanthropy model, foundations and donors would cede power to the communities they claim to want to help. Grantmaking would be based on the principle of asset-based community development, which sees all members of a community as experts who have valuable skills and knowledge to contribute. This approach values collective wisdom over individual experience, and it recognizes that communities know best what they need to thrive.

Asset-based community development has its roots in indigenous philosophies like Ubuntu, which holds that we are all interconnected and that our individual wellbeing is intertwined with the wellbeing of our community. This philosophy has much to teach us about how to build more just and equitable societies.

Decolonized philanthropy is participatory

Decolonized philanthropy is about more than just giving money – it’s about engaging in a process of co-creation and participatory decision-making. It’s about understanding the root causes of the problems we’re trying to solve, and working together to find solutions that are inclusive and just.

Decolonized philanthropy is about relationships – between donor and recipient, between fundraisers and funders, between those who hold power and those who have traditionally been excluded from power. It’s about building relationships of trust, respect, and collaboration.

Ultimately, decolonized philanthropy is about creating change that is led by the people most affected by the problems we’re trying to solve. It’s about supporting community-led initiatives that are based on the principles of solidarity, equality, and justice.

Decolonized philanthropy is accountable

Decolonized philanthropy is built on the idea that all people are deserving of respect and dignity, and that everyone should have an equal say in how resources are used. This type of philanthropy strives to be accountable to the communities it serves, making sure that decisions are made in consultation with those who will be most affected. It also recognizes that power imbalances exist and works to redress them, rather than perpetuate them.

How to Get Involved in Decolonized Philanthropy

A decolonized approach to philanthropy is one that centers on the self-determination of communities of color and Indigenous people rather than the extractive mindset of the colonizer. This type of philanthropy is about true partnership, allyship, and respect. It’s about listening to and amplifying the voices of those who have been historically oppressed. If you’re interested in getting involved in decolonized philanthropy, keep reading.

Support community-led organizations

One way to get involved in decolonized philanthropy is to support community-led organizations. These are organizations that are created and run by the people who are directly impacted by the issues they are trying to address.

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Community-led organizations are often more effective than mainstream institutions at tackling complex social problems because they have a deep understanding of the root causes of those problems and the people affected by them. They are also more nimble and adaptive, able to quickly respond to changing needs.

Unfortunately, community-led organizations often struggle to get funding because they don’t have the same resources and networks as larger institutions. This is where philanthropy can make a difference.

By redirecting your giving to support community-led organizations, you can help ensure that marginalized communities have the resources they need to create lasting change.

Educate yourself and others about decolonized philanthropy

Colonization is a system of oppression that has led to the marginalization of certain groups of people. Decolonization is the process of undoing that oppression and working towards equality.

Decolonized philanthropy is about giving back in a way that supports communities that have been marginalized by colonization. It’s about working to dismantle the systems of oppression that have been put in place through colonization.

There are many ways you can get involved in decolonized philanthropy. One way is to educate yourself and others about the issue. This can help to raise awareness and create understanding about the need for decolonized philanthropy.

another way to get involved is to support organizations that are working towards decolonization. This can include donating to organizations, volunteering your time, or using your voice to amplify their work.

You can also work towards decolonization in your own community. This might involve supporting Indigenous-led initiatives, working to create more inclusive and equitable space, or engaging in anti-racist work.

No matter how you choose to get involved, remember that decolonization is a journey – there is no one right way to do it. Be open to learning and growing as you go, and begentle with yourself and others as we all strive to create a more just and equitable world

Be an ally in the movement for decolonized philanthropy

There are many ways to get involved in the movement for decolonized philanthropy. Here are some suggestions:

1. Support organizations led by and serving communities of color.
2. Educate yourself and others about the history and legacies of colonization and racism, and how they play out in the philanthropic sector.
3. Advocate for equitable representation of communities of color in philanthropy, including in leadership roles.
4. Support efforts to increase transparency and accountability in philanthropy, so that grantmaking decisions are made in a more equitable and just manner.
5. Work to dismantle systems of oppression within philanthropy, such as those that reinforce unequal power dynamics or that enable grantmakers to avoid accountability for their actions.
6. Encourage foundations and other grantmakers to adopt a decolonized approach to their work, one that is centered on the needs and experiences of communities of color

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