Back to top

Family Philanthropy Newsletter, July 2019

Publication date: 
Monday, July 22, 2019

USING OUR PRIVILEGE WITH CULTURAL HUMILITY 

On June 20, 2019 the SCG family foundation community came together for its Annual Family Foundation Conference.  One of the largest gatherings yet for this conference, family philanthropists addressed the issue of Unpacking Power Dynamics with Cultural Humility. This conference was designed to be provocative, to question assumptions that many of us hold and encourage thoughtful change in our personal work, our interactions with our family and our relationships with the broader community. You can view and download the full conference program here. We would like to share some key themes that have given us reason to reflect and continue to be revisited in our conversations with our members.

 

KEY THEMES

Owning Our Privilege

Few of us realize how privilege affects us as we move about our daily life.  Without being conscious of it, all of us grew up exposed to various opinions and perspectives.  The problem isn’t that the perspectives are wrong, it’s that we often ignore how they inform our everyday interactions. According to our opening keynote speaker, Susan Borrega, Chancellor, the University of Michigan at Flint, privilege can be defined as the “unearned package of benefits I carry around”.  Our position in the world is determined by a variety of factors: what we look like, where we live, how much we make – these all influence the power and privilege we hold in various situations. Privilege contributes to defining our unspoken social “scripts” – social instructions that impact our relationships.  These scripts tell us what to say, where to go and what to do when we interact with friends, colleagues and strangers.  Many of these scripts we perform automatically without thinking. Learning to see and hear the script before it is enacted can prevent hurtful consequences. Examining privilege, looking at our internal social scripts and being honest in our assessment is a first step toward practicing cultural humility.

 

Honoring Our Communities

As our closing keynote speaker Edgar Villanueva noted, making a shift in our thinking begins the process of unpacking power dynamics.  One of the critical first steps in this process recognizes the strength of community participation, creates space for them at the table and invites their input.  Foundations have traditionally used their power to influence and direct how community organizations use their grant money which ultimately affects community services and programs. Foundations are now beginning to explore the benefits of sharing their power with community organizations, trusting them to be the experts and empowering them to find creative solutions. Edgar raises the question: What if funders moved from hoarding resources and operating in obscurity to becoming transparent and participatory? 

He suggests foundations move their dollars and focus their resources where there is the greatest need and asks the following:

  • Is your foundation using its capital and assets to meet your mission?

  • Are you reaching out to communities or are you harming them? Are you listening to them authentically?

  • What is the net value of your philanthropy?  Is it a side hustle or is it making positive impact and change?

 

Responding With Cultural Humility

We are not striving for cultural competency – saying the right words at all times – it’s exhausting and not possible.  Engaging and having a genuine conversation is more important than “saving face”. Instead we are striving for cultural humility – culturally humble people are willing to make mistakes and learn. What does it mean to lead with cultural humility?  Jann Murray-Garcia, one of our conference key experts and panelists, actually coined the phrase.  Among the key elements of cultural humility is the ability to nuture a lifelong commitment to self-evaluation and self-critique, redress power imbalances in the funder-community dynamic and develop mutually beneficial partnerships with communities. As individuals and philanthropists we are at different stages on this journey of becoming culturally humble and aware.  Taking small steps by communicating authentically and listening respectfully advances our own work to respond with cultural humility.

“Philanthropy is more than just your grantmaking. It’s how you show up in every aspect of what you do.” – Shawn Escoffery, Executive Director, Roy & Patricia Disney Family Foundation

 

SCG COMMUNITY UPDATES 

Congratulations to Rachel Roth on her recent appointment as Executive Director of the Crail-Johnson Foundation. Rachel is an esteemed member of SCG’s family foundation community not only in her role with the Crail-Johnson Foundation, but also as a trustee with the Roth Family Foundation and a member of SCG’s Family Philanthropy Advisory Board. We are fortunate to have Rachel’s talents in our community.
 
Rachel Hoff Searles, a member of FFIX3, welcomed her second child, baby girl Piper was born in February. Rachel has recently assumed the administrative duties for her family’s foundation, the ABAR Foundation which is now focusing on fighting homelessness and working with the homeless population. Rachel admits that life is finally beginning to return to normal!
 
Nadine Tilley and The William H. Tilley Foundation hosted a convening that brought together major stakeholders in foster and adoptive care. The primary focus was to use a case study to determine how to keep kids out of the system.  This event came about collaboratively with a fellow FFIX4 member Caitlin Scott of the Reissa Foundation.
 
Wendy Chang serves on the national board of directors for Lambda Legal, the oldest and largest national legal civil rights organization for LGBT people and everyone living with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work. Beyond achieving marriage equality, Lambda’s work is focused on the greatest impact in protecting and advancing rights for us all. As an ally, Wendy feels strongly that attack on one of us is an attack on all of us. Thus, the work of Lambda Legal is more important than ever. This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, among the most important milestones of our modern LGBTQ rights movement. Lambda formed just four years after Stonewall and we are working overtime defending trans rights - in the military, workplace injustices, discrimination against youth, seniors and families. In addition, “religious freedom” bills are sweeping through legislatures in dozens of states, giving people a license to discriminate. Lambda will continue to be devoted to its mission and programs to ensure that ALL people are protected and safe.

 

FAMILY PHILANTHROPY RESOURCES FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION

We have curated a list of resources that connect to key themes from the conference: 

  • Grantmaking with a Racial Equity Lens- A guide that offers advice on promoting and deepening your foundation's commitment to racial equity, both internally and in the programs you support.  

  • Cultural Humility Worksheet for Funders- Reflective questions for your leadership and philanthropy. 

  • Power Moves- Your essential philanthropy assessment guide for equity and justice. 

  • Racial Equity Tools- This site offers tools, research, tips, curricula and ideas for people who want to increase their own understanding and to help those working toward justice at every level – in systems, organizations, communities and the culture at large.

  • Demos Racial Equity Transformation- Materials to create your own unique racial equity transformation plans.

 

UPCOMING NCFP WEBINARS

FAMILY PHILANTHROPY THROUGH MULTIPLE VEHICLES
AUGUST 8 | 12PM EST

How can families with multi-faceted philanthropic efforts – those with multiple foundations or funds, who are also using impact investing and other creative strategies – develop governance systems and structures that accommodate this complexity? What processes are these “complex” families using to allocate available human capital to the various governance structures? What approaches are they using to address dilemmas of a unified versus diverse philanthropic agenda across different vehicles? And how are they managing family dynamics in these complex governance systems? This webinar will share early findings from a new NCFP study led by Lansberg, Gersick & Associates, authors of NCFP’s ground-breaking “Generations of Giving study.

REGISTER

 

EXITING RESPONSIBLY: MAKING WISE CHOICES AS YOU WRAP UP
SEPTEMBER 12 | 12PM EST

Whether your foundation is considering wrapping up a long-term initiative or completely spending down and sunsetting your foundation, this webinar will provide valuable ideas and approaches. Hear from field experience how to navigate this complex and challenging process to maximize the potential for impact while leaving grantees and fields strong.

REGISTER

 

UPCOMING EVENTS

SCG ANNUAL CONFERENCE: FORESIGHT PHILANTHROPY

SEPTEMBER 9

Join over 600 colleagues for a day filled with interactive plenaries, inspiring keynote speakers, and skill-building workshops designed to embolden us to become philanthropic futurists.

REGISTER

 

LA84 FOUNDATION YOUTH SPORTS SUMMIT

SEPTEMBER 10

The 8th Annual LA84 Foundation Summit, "Play Equity: Elevating the Game for Our Kids", will address the contributions that youth sports, structured play, and physical activity make to their success in school and life.

REGISTER

 

2019 HILTON HUMANITARIAN SYMPOSIUM AND PRIZE CEREMONY 

SEPTEMBER 18

The Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize is the world’s largest annual humanitarian award presented to nonprofit organizations judged to have made extraordinary contributions toward alleviating human suffering.

LEARN MORE

 

EXPONENT PHILANTHROPY CONNECT CONFERENCE 

OCTOBER 2

Exponent Philanthropy programs are filled with philanthropists who give with few or no staff, and led by skilled facilitators who understand your unique style of philanthropy. CONNECT is an opportunity to challenge your assumptions while building critical skills for success.

REGISTER

 

THE 2019 NATIONAL FORUM ON FAMILY PHILANTHROPY

OCTOBER 16

Join the National Center for Family Philanthropy for their annual conference where you will earn from leaders in the field, connect with colleagues, and engage with your philanthropy. Get early bird tickets below. 

REGISTER

 

CHANGE PHILANTHROPY SUMMIT

NOVEMBER 19

The Unity Summit will host over 800 participants to expand their individual and institutional practice in order to advance equity with an intersectional lens, and with community at the center of our efforts. We seek to create space for all attendees to participate as thought leaders and philanthropic activists. 

REGISTER

Funding Issue Area & Geographic Regions
Type of resource