Beeston’s Blog: Three Philanthropic Approaches to look out for

We regularly feature blogs by the philanthropy advisor and author, Emma Beeston, and Sarah Taragon and Steve Woollett of Clarity CIC. Always, thoughtful and insightful, the articles usually discuss issues that are currently relevant to organisations and individuals working in the charitable sector.

Today’s blog is provided by Emma and looks at several approaches to philanthropy that are trending. If you can’t see the article below, this link should take you to Emma website, where the full blog can be read.

“This summer I have caught up on some reading and so wanted to share some philanthropy approaches to keep an eye on. These are not all new but seem to be gaining traction or certainly being written about more.

1. Reparative Philanthropy

“This approach recognises that wealth has arisen due to extraction and exploitation in the past and these wrongs need to be acknowledged and resources returned to the communities affected. One example of putting this into practice comes from philanthropist Laura Trevelyan who explained her response to her family’s links to slavery which included a £100,000 donation to set up student bursaries at the University of the West Indies. She is one of the founders of Heirs of Slavery, a new group for British people whose ancestors profited from transatlantic slavery. Heirs of Slavery are campaigning for increased reparations as is the Decolonising Wealth Project which in June committed $20 million over five years to boost campaigns for reparations across the US.

“If you want to know more then take a look at Derek Bardowell’s book, “Giving Back or for a shorter read, the National Centre for Family Philanthropy’s article ‘The Work of a Lifetime: Reparative Philanthropy, Relationships, Healing, and Joy’ has some examples of families and foundations taking a reparative approach”.

2. Solidarity Philanthropy

“I have started to see the word ‘solidarity’ come up, most recently in Rhodri Davies’ blog about philanthropist Leah Hunt-Hendrix who says the notion of solidarity is core to her philanthropy. For me, solidarity is the time-old tradition of giving to those you believe in and showing your support for the work they do. Its current rise is linked to the increase in funders trusting their funded partners alongside giving unrestricted funds, a move away from funder-defined metrics and an increased recognition of grassroots movements in achieving systemic change. Solidarity encompasses the idea that we are all in this together and that funders are working alongside rather than taking a top-down approach. It is a more engaged approach where donors get involved beyond the money – adding their time and influence to a cause”.

3. Community-led collaboratives

“This approach combines two key trends: the dramatic rise in funder collaborations and shifting power to those with lived experience who are closest to the issues. It is a powerful combination of funds and local knowledge and something I expect to see grow as more philanthropists look to be guided by those on the ground. For a compelling argument, watch Rebecca Darwent’s TED talk. She gives examples such as Clima Fund which raises funds from donors and foundations which are then allocated using participatory grant making to support grassroots movements addressing the climate crisis. It sees the continued shift in the role of grant makers from decision makers to enablers.

“And lastly, I wanted to highlight the WINGS Transforming Philanthropy Initiative Report as it summarises the current thinking amongst institutional funders and sets out key principles that will influence future funding strategies. Of note is a re-emphasis of the role of philanthropy as risk capital. Recognising that philanthropy is too small to address the global poly-crisis on its own, WINGS highlights its unique selling point as taking risks: “several of philanthropy’s most unique and precious values include its ability to fail, support what markets or governments will not, test new approaches and innovations that can be scaled and trust those who are closest to the needs.

There is no doubt in my mind that philanthropy continues to have an important civic role and also that we are at an interesting time of evolving practice including these three philanthropic approaches”.