Reexamining power in philanthropy: a new vision for partnership

January 22, 2020 | GFC & Partner Updates

Global Fund for Children is proud to join the Trust-Based Philanthropy Project, a five-year, peer-to-peer funder initiative with the goal of bringing greater vulnerability, transparency, and humility to philanthropy.

The project, which launches today, was co-founded by the Headwaters Foundation, Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, and The Whitman Institute.

GFC President and CEO John Hecklinger and Vice President of Programs Corey Oser will serve as “activators” for the project – practitioners who embody a trust-based approach and are committed to amplifying the message of trust-based philanthropy.

Philanthropy is experiencing a cultural moment of reexamining power, with more and more foundations coming to terms with the entrenched imbalances they’ve inherited, created, or inadvertently helped sustain. Left unchecked, these unequal power dynamics become exacerbated by policies and practices that require nonprofits to jump through hoops to prove their worth, year after year.

The Trust-Based Philanthropy Project builds upon existing efforts to bring more equity and accountability to philanthropy, offering concrete steps for funders to build radically different grantee relationships through trust-based practices and behaviors. The approach is rooted in six interrelated principles that, when practiced together, advance a new vision for partnership and philanthropy.

“At GFC, one of our core values is Serve Partners First, which underpins everything we do. We’re examining every stage of our grantee partnerships to make sure we build trust by serving our partners responsively and respectfully. Ultimately, we hope to demonstrate how trust-based approaches shift power to those we aim to serve.” John said. “The Trust-Based Philanthropy Project is an opportunity for us to share what we’re learning, and to learn from others in this growing movement.”

Over the next five years, the project aims to make trust-based philanthropy the norm rather than the exception. Key to this shift will be collaborations with regional associations and other philanthropic-serving organizations that will help seed and build regional learning communities. Thus far, the project has cultivated an informal network of more than a dozen foundations that have pledged to publicly share their experiences and aid others in adopting trust-based practices.

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Global Fund for Children (GFC) UK Trust, created in 2006, is a UK registered charity (UK charity number 1119544). We work to generate vital income, create new fundraising opportunities, and raise awareness of the invaluable work of GFC’s grassroots grantees. Our aim is to extend the reach of GFC in the United Kingdom, Europe, and beyond.

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