How We Can Respond to a Week of Heartache and Tragedy

Friday, July 8, 2016

A message from Trista Harris to MCF members

Last night’s attack on the Dallas Police, and the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile this week, remind us that we have much work to do to build safe and non-violent communities for police officers and for all our citizens. We need to do this work together.” – Congresswoman Betty McCollum

At MCF, our hearts ache for Philando Castile’s friends and family and our entire community. We are also heartbroken for civilian and police casualties that resulted from the shootings in Dallas. Congresswoman McCollum is right, we need to do this work together.

I want to reach out to you personally as members of MCF, as thoughtful people working in philanthropy and as members of communities directly impacted by violence and injustice. Sadly, we have been here before.

There are immediate needs in response to these tragedies and we can and must find ways to meet those needs. But, of equal importance, we need to make significant structural changes as a society going forward. I’d like to share a few articles and resources below that offer ways of understanding and addressing these issues. But I’d also like to ask for your help.

The Center for Disaster Philanthropy put together a post called “Four Ways Funders Can Respond to Tragedy” that not only helps guide us on what to do now but also how to think long term in the midst of so much chaos and grief.

As many of you know, The Disaster Philanthropy Playbook is a compilation of philanthropic strategies, best practices and lessons learned that have saved and galvanized local economies, nonprofits, and vulnerable populations from entering into a permanent downward spiral in the wake of a disaster.

Alex Daniels put together “Black Nonprofit Leaders Share Grief in Wake of Police Shootings” that captures grief but also contains guidance on where to put support.

This post in The Chronicle of Philanthropy from August 7, 2015, “A Year After Police Shooting, St. Louis Offers Lessons in Rebuilding,” while a year old, is also an excellent resource.

We, as people working in the philanthropic sector, have actual power and resources to make a difference. Contact me with ideas of how MCF can help members address these issues and work for positive change. If you are not sure what to do but want to help, please reach out to me at any time.
Please take good care of yourselves and each other,