Social Change Philanthropy
What is progressive social change/social justice philanthropy?
Social change philanthropy is distinguished from other forms of grantmaking by the central tenet that philanthropy's success is measured not only by where the money is given, but also the process by which it is given. While "mainstream" philanthropy may also work to benefit marginalized communities and support the root causes of issues, the process, players and analysis of power and politics are what differentiate social change philanthropy from other forms of philanthropy. Some specific charactertistics include:
- Focusing on marginalized and disenfranchised communities, and striving to be accountable to them.
- Involving constituents in setting the organization's agenda (as mentioned above).
- Identifying and learning about the root causes of issues faced by our constituents (organizations and the women and girls they serve) and supporting organizations that address them.
- We have an inclusive process. Social change funders pay particular attention to the accessibility of their grantmaking processes for grassroots organizations, recognizing that these groups have fewer resources for writing proposals. They are concerned with grantees' access to information and have a transparent communication process.
- Committing to cultural/class competency, acknowledging that race, class, gender, and sexual orientation issues are critical to resolving social and economic injustices and central to how organizations function. Staff engage in trainings to evaluate the assumptions they have that guide their perspectives on social issues and therefore their grantmaking. Evaluating the power issues that inform the experiences of grantmakers will help them become more effective and improve their communications with grantees, who are likely to have backgrounds different from their own.