Equity Summit 2018
My Equity Summit experience started with the Convergence Equity Forum; as part of the Convergence Partnership, we gathered with other funders for an opening day focused specifically on the role of philanthropy in equity work. The Forum was a great way to get oriented and grounded before the main Equity Summit began, especially to set a framework of approaching the rest of the Summit in a funder role.
The morning’s session was facilitated by the Center for Popular Democracy, a national organization that partners with local grassroots/community organizations. Through the network of partners that the CPD works with, they facilitated a survey focused on the relationship between grassroots organizations and funders. This survey revealed insights about the ways that funders can support (as well as hinder) the grassroots organizations that they work with. Some of the ways that funders can be good philanthropic partners are to support existing work (in addition to funding new initiatives), supporting capacity-building, bringing an express equity lens to their work and making time to listen to community members who are directly affected by equity issues, and providing extra support for grantees (such as grant application pre-submission and feedback). Adversely, things that funders do that are challenging for grantees included creating burdensome applications and timing expectations, as well as not understanding the role that intersectionality plays in equity work.
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Editor’s note: The Equity Summit focused on practice and policy, politics and power—the ingredients needed for transformative change. The movement is stronger than ever, bolstered by our combined resistance to assaults on hard-earned victories and nuanced by our deeper understanding of intersectionality and the interconnectedness of issues. – PolicyLink