The Council on Foundations (COF) annual conference has been over for about a week. I followed the conference coverage adeptly provided by the blog team led by Kris Putnam-Walkerly at Philanthropy411, in partnership with the National Network of Consultants to Grantmakers (blogger confession, I am a founding member of NNCG).
It started with a fabulous haiku by Sterling Speirner which took me back to 5th grade and the posts keep on coming. The latest is from Cole Wilbur titled Learn Essential Skills and Strategies in Philanthropy.
For me, the posts sticking are those when the blogger shared their thoughts, experiences and beliefs about the role of race, social justice, accountability and movement building in their work and beyond. In particular, the following resonated deeply at first read and continue to do so:
- On Fire by Rebecca Arno which gave an engaging overview of the dissection of social justice philanthropy by an eight member panel of speakers facilitated by Gara LaMarche from Atlantic Philanthropies. – Although I was not there, I feel the “truth to power” energy through the words of Rebecca. Hope those voices continue to speak and find new audiences.
- Nits Make Lice by Mike Roberts chides the COF for its language in the insert to this year’s conference program, when it refers to Sand Creek as a site of conflict rather than the massacre of Northern Cheyenne by the US Army. Mike reminds us that inclusion, or pgress towards it, does not erase past injustices and prejudices and that the words we choose mean things. – It is what I like to refer as the Disney touch.
- Social Justice Bringing it Home by Henry Ramos who shared the highlights of the last session of the Social Justice track. Eight themes emerged from this “off the record” conversation which suggest that change really is afoot and that social justice grantmaking may be coming out of the closet and in to the light. – I was particularly inspired by the interest in movement building and boundary crossing.
- Sitting at the Intersection – Affinity by Colin Lacon who pushed COF and its members to move beyond recognition of the varied affinity groups which meet “around” the big event towards meaningfully engaging and including their perspectives and work of these groups in to planning and action. – It is hard to walk the walk and appreciate one of the leaders in philanthropy asking more of his colleagues and of himself.
What’s sticking for you and why?