The Transformative Power of Collaboration, Mindset Shifts, and Intersectionality in Philanthropy
Leadership Published Date, 2023

The Transformative Power Of Collaboration, Mindset Shifts, And Intersectionality In Philanthropy

Created By: Andrea Bastiani Archibald, PhD
July 19, 2023

In the pursuit of equity and empowerment for girls and women of color, the philanthropic sector is undergoing a profound transformation. To delve deeper into this subject, Orr Group recently convened a roundtable discussion with a diverse group of nonprofit leaders across the greater Washington, DC area to strategize and share best practices in the field on prioritizing women and girls of color, and the organizations that serve them, in philanthropy. I was honored to be joined by co-hosts Violet Apple, CEO of Girl Scouts of Central Maryland, and Lidia Soto-Harmon, CEO of the Student Conservation Association, to collectively dissect gaps in existing philanthropic practices and explore innovative approaches to driving investments that will create lasting positive impact for all.  

"Prioritizing Women and Girls of Color in Philanthropy" Roundtable Attendees
Nonprofit leaders across the greater Washington, DC area attended Orr Group’s “Prioritizing Women and Girls of Color in Philanthropy” luncheon on June 22nd, 2023.

Below are several themes and key takeaways we identified during the conversation that are driving this exciting transformation.

1. The importance of collaboration and coalition building.

Collaboration and coalition building stand at the forefront of achieving meaningful change. Recognizing that no single entity can address the complex challenges faced by girls and women of color alone, partnership among diverse stakeholders, organizations, and communities is essential. By pooling resources, amplifying voices, and influencing systems change, collaborative efforts can create a more inclusive philanthropic ecosystem. This ecosystem can effectively advocate for equitable funding allocation, inclusive representation, and anti-discrimination policies, maximizing the benefits for girls and women of color. A stronger, more cohesive, and empowered community can be cultivated through shared focus and collective action, leading to greater equity and empowerment for all.

2. Necessary mindset shifts to enable and activate change.

Historically, the philanthropic sector has been dominated by predominantly white, male voices, which has perpetuated the marginalization and underrepresentation of girls and women of color. The collection of leaders at this roundtable specifically noted the need to move away from a resource-constrained, victim mindset towards a philanthropic mindset that redistributes decision-making authority to a diverse range of individuals. If we are to make lasting progress, it is essential to recognize and address the inherent power imbalances within philanthropy and actively work towards more inclusive practices. Nonprofit leaders of color and those representing marginalized communities must assert their value and authority in driving fundraising discussions and directing impactful investments. By embracing this shift, the sector can dismantle barriers and create a more equitable philanthropic landscape.

3. Encouraging intersectional solutions to problem-solving.

 An intersectional approach acknowledges that race, gender, class, and other factors intersect to create specific disadvantages for marginalized communities, particularly for women and girls of color. By understanding these complex dynamics, philanthropic efforts can design initiatives that address multiple challenges simultaneously. This comprehensive approach not only advances justice but also fosters economic growth and innovation on a broader scale. By centering the experiences and needs of girls and women of color, intersectional solutions have the potential to uplift entire communities and benefit a diverse range of individuals, leading to more holistic and effective solutions.

As witnessed through the various experiences and perspectives that each of these leaders brought to the table, the philanthropic sector is undeniably shifting toward a more equitable and inclusive approach to address the challenges and barriers faced by girls and women of color. By embracing these takeaways, philanthropy can forge a path toward greater equity, empowerment, and social impact for girls and women of color and other marginalized communities. Together, we can build a more just and inclusive world.

Orr Group can help your leadership build consensus and create alignment to drive effective fundraising forward. Get in touch to understand how we can collaborate to design strategies for lasting change.

Andrea Bastiani Archibald

Andrea Bastiani Archibald, Ph.D., is a Managing Director at Orr Group. Andrea is an applied developmental psychologist and thought leader with expertise in nonprofit strategy and leadership support, and has a strong background in utilizing data-driven insights to build partnerships and design mission-based solutions.

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