Resonance: A Framework for Philanthropic Transformation

Building on The Choir Book and the Harmony Initiative, which have accelerated the adoption of grantmaking practices that achieve equity and justice, Resonance is a guide to support you and your philanthropic organization in reducing extractive practices and increasing regenerative practices.

Like all other forms of wealth in the United States, philanthropic wealth can be directly traced back to industries that relied on economic practices of extraction and exploitation, such as the theft of Indigenous land and genocide of Indigenous people, the kidnapping and enslavement of millions of African people, the systemic undervaluing of “women’s work” and the destruction of natural systems and the web of life. Because philanthropic wealth comes from these historic (and current) extractive practices, we must recognize that grants alone (which merely represent approximately 5% of a foundation’s financial assets) are insufficient to eradicate the harm these practices have caused.

The transition from a system organized around limitless extraction and wealth accumulation to one organized around regeneration and resilience within natural limits is a transition in which philanthropy can play a catalytic role. As human-made and natural crises accelerate, it has become clear that incremental approaches are insufficient to manifest the large-scale changes we seek. We must take bold and transformative actions that have the potential to advance exponential change and forge a new path that will allow future generations to thrive.

A Just Transition for philanthropy requires us to reject the accumulation of wealth and power, and to instead choose equity and justice. It also requires us to adopt new models for governing philanthropic resources — including financial capital, knowledge and human resources — to redistribute wealth, democratize power and shift economic control to communities.  Resonance: A Framework for Philanthropic Transformation is meant to support your philanthropic organization, irrespective of your starting point, in reducing extractive practices and increasing regenerative ones.

Resonance: A Framework for Philanthropic Transformation will be released in January 2019. To be notified of its release, sign up for the Justice Funders email list