Following the tragic events that took place in Charlottesville on Friday, August 11 and Saturday, August 12, many philanthropic organizations, universities and nonprofits issued statements condemning bigotry and white supremacy. While it is always nice to hear some of the nation’s most prominent institutions boldly proclaim that they do not support Nazism, it would be far more helpful to hear and see how those proclamations will be followed by concrete support for organizations and communities that are fighting against racism, discrimination and hate on a daily basis.
If Philanthropy cannot match its words with funding, we are leaving racial justice activists to fight alone, much like the students in the above photo, bravely standing their ground while surrounded by a sea of hate.
Some within the sector have made such a call. The National Center for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP) challenged the sector, saying that “wealthy donors and grantmakers can no longer hide behind neutrality” in the battle for racial justice. Funders for Justice stated, “Now more than ever, philanthropy must double down in support to those explicitly addressing racism, white supremacy, and white nationalism.” And other organizations such as Race Forward, ABFE and PRE—organizations that have been fighting battles around racial equity in philanthropy long before the nation was made aware of Charlottesville or Ferguson—continue to remind us that, as Angela Davis said, “In a racist society it is not enough to be non-racist - we must be antiracist.”
One of Heather Heyer’s favorite social media posts was, “If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention.”
Philanthropy. We need you to pay attention.