How Does Our Sector Make Disruptive and Necessary Changes?

We are in a moment of disruptive change. I’m sure you can feel this disruption in your work. The pace of this change has been increasing and will continue to do so. Fundamental beliefs and systems are challenged and stressed. To cope, we must quickly move beyond denial and stress and get to work building our future. And to create real and transformative change, we must lead, risk and make different decisions than we have made in the past— decisions that will upset “philanthropy as usual.”

During times of transformation, it’s criti­cal for foundations to speak up and speak out—a time for each of us to lead with our voices, our values, and our choices. We must be clear about who we are and what we stand for. We have to stand up and speak out for inclusion, equity, and prosperity for all and stand firm against division, hate, and fear. Love of humankind is in our sector’s DNA.

We must live our values out loud. It won’t be easy, and it may not be comfortable, but it is necessary. In this issue, you’ll learn more about how your colleagues are mak­ing their own difficult, disruptive, and very necessary changes.

We need to consider new ways to lead on big issues. Our sector’s responsibility to eliminate racial and economic inequalities doesn’t go away with government paralysis or dramatic budget reductions. Philanthro­py and business leaders still need to find ways to act even if their public partners won’t.

The changes in public and civil life are big. Recently enacted federal tax reform is changing the playing field for the entire sector. We have an opportunity and an obligation to understand our new normal and to build a new version of civil society that works in our changed reality.

Change is coming at us fast and furi­ously. It’s disrupting the norms. We must collaborate and create the future we want to see. We must stand together – all of us using our voices, living our values and making our choices – in service of a civil society and a democracy we are proud of. It may not be easy, but I believe we are up to the challenge. Together, we’ve got this.

In solidarity,

Trista Harris

President, Minnesota Council on Foundations


Giving Forum Spring 2018