What’s bringing me inspiration and hope this spring
As spring brings forth new beginnings and new ideas, a national dialogue on philanthropy and pluralism is drawing attention and debate. I’m sharing what has brought me inspiration and hope during the first quarter as I was fortunate to engage in learning opportunities supported by our members and resources shared through conversations with peers in our network.
Deborah Aubert ThomasPresident & CEO
As spring brings forth new beginnings and new ideas, a national dialogue on philanthropy and pluralism is drawing attention and debate. I look forward to bringing more reflections to you in our Summer edition of “Philanthropy Review.”
For now, I’m sharing what has brought me inspiration and hope during the first quarter as I was
fortunate to engage in learning opportunities supported by our members and resources shared through conversations with peers in our network.
In January, several communities celebrated the National Day of Racial Healing on January 17, including a virtual event sponsored by bi3, Greater Cincinnati Foundation’s community-led coalition All-In Cincinnati and the Center for Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) at the University of Cincinnati. A powerful keynote conversation with prominent political activist, scholar and author Angela Davis, Ph.D., highlighted how in order to heal, we have to transform and reimagine what can exist in a world based on equity. Healing requires collective self-care to help us understand ourselves in the context of community. She encourages an imagining of radical relationality – to explore future possibilities of living together in society.
February brought the opportunity to learn about Black History in Ohio. Philanthropy Ohio member Ohio Humanities lifted several stories, including The Lincoln School Story, the largely untold story of a group of Black mothers in Southwest Ohio who, in 1954, marched their children to the white school, demanding admission, only to be turned away every day for two years. Their activism resulted in one of the longest-sustained protests of the civil rights era. Other stories include the Cleveland African American Civil Rights Trail and a special podcast story “Andrew Jackson Davison Club Presents: Mount Zion,” courtesy of the club at Athens Middle School, about Mount Zion Baptist Church in Athens, Ohio, and its historical importance to the Black community in Athens and beyond.
Inspiration drawn from reflecting on Black History can fuel the imagining of the future encouraged by Dr. Davis. The series, The Future of Black Wealth by Arabella Advisors, aims to redefine the racial wealth gap problem and shift mindsets. The second post in the series, The “Three Levers Changemakers Must Pull to Eliminate the Racial Wealth Gap,” reposted on the Center for Effective Philanthropy’s blog, focuses on coordinated interventions that combine the tools of philanthropy, impact investing and policy/advocacy to adequately tackle the intersecting systems of oppression and widespread systemic racism that perpetuate it.
The Abundance Movement is also reimagining how philanthropic dollars can be allocated to Black-led and Black-centered organizations in a way that leads to freedom and joy for all. It is a movement to free mindsets, dollars, policies and practices to address anti-Blackness in philanthropy.
In “A Vision for the Future of Philanthropy,” Crystal Hayling, executive director of the Libra Foundation, calls for change through visioning philanthropy as “an active force in bending history’s arc toward justice” by letting go of extraction and moving forward with regeneration, from individualistic to interconnected, from objective to experienced, from mechanistic to organic, from dominion to reciprocity, from hate to love and from lies to truth. Hayling expands on these shifts as “changes we must make in our work as philanthropists in the coming years if we are to achieve the caring, multiracial and inclusive future we want for ourselves and our communities.” She concludes, “There are no shortcuts, no quick fixes in forging this future. The only way through it is through it. Together.”
Deborah Aubert Thomas
President & CEO