Power Moves: Your Essential Philanthropy Assessment Guide for Equity and Justice

Taking time out for self-assessment and learning is an important part of the organizational cycle of planning, action and reflection.

It helps ensure that your strategies make sense given your goals, and that those strategies are having the impact you seek for the communities you care about. Other factors may prompt introspection, such as internal leadership changes or external events. The philanthropic sector’s growing urgency to tackle inequities also offers strong motivation to take stock. Today, it is still all too easy to predict advantage or disadvantage based on race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation or ability.

This suite of self-assessment resources addresses all of these imperatives, but with a unique twist: It helps funders like you respond to the current moment of social foment and the enduring drive for long-overdue justice by exploring your own power. It complements and builds on other important equitable grantmaking resources so that you can solicit feedback and engage in a reflective assessment process that increases the likelihood of success.

Power, whether through organized people or organized money, is the force that changes systems, and changing systems is the only way to achieve equitable outcomes for all communities. As a grantmaker, you cannot truly strive for and advance equity until you understand your own power and privilege in society and in relation to your grantees. Then you can make conscious choices about how to use that power to be more effective and have lasting positive impact, in ways that align with the goals, needs and strategies of the communities you seek to benefit.

Explore what the most strategic social justice grantmakers already understand: To make the world a better place, communities need to build power; funders need to share their power with these communities; and they both need to wield their power to influence relevant audiences and decision-makers. Fundamentally, these funders acknowledge the role of power and activate it to create change – with humility and attention to privilege.

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