In bayous, hollers, cities, and small towns across the American South, visionary leaders have long pioneered cutting edge, successful strategies to build lasting change in their communities and beyond. These leaders have the skills and expertise necessary to navigate an inclusive way forward for everyone in this era of unprecedented political, economic, and demographic shifts. Yet philanthropy—for reasons both mundane and profound—hasn't kept up. How can Southern and national philanthropists alike change this trend and help advance progress in the region and the nation overall?
Last month, over 300 funders and field leaders joined Neighborhood Funders Group in Oakland, CA, making it NFG's largest convening ever. Grounded by frontline leaders and organizers in social movements for racial and economic justice, the conference provided a dynamic space where funders listened deeply and talked frankly about how best to resource meaningful social change with community power building and innovative partnerships in the heart of these discussions.
“People were not afraid to be real. In other funder convenings, there are lots of layers to the truth. People were...