A Just Transition for philanthropy will require individual philanthropic organizations to shift their practices away from extraction towards regeneration. The vision that we have put forth is our North Star, and recognizes that individual institutions will make these shifts in their own way, at their own pace and via their own entry points.
The way to begin your philanthropy’s Just Transition – whatever your starting point – is to identify ways to operationalize your values within all aspects of your organization. You can begin with the goal of being less extractive and more regenerative across the various functions of your organization. We outline what this might look like below.
As you think about how to facilitate a Just Transition in your own philanthropic practice or institution, individual leadership styles and organizational cultures may prefer to start at the meta level, while others prefer to engage by workflow:
- At an investment level, this might mean divesting from companies that exploit their workforce, contribute to ecological degradation and exacerbate wealth inequality, and reinvesting in worker cooperatives that help to build community wealth and well-being.
- At a grantmaking level, this might mean discontinuing grants to improve police relations (based on a recognition that current systems of law enforcement cannot dismantle oppression and state violence) and instead providing grants for communities to identify and design alternative, collective structures for community safety.
- In your operations, this might mean spending less time on due diligence (which is rooted in fear and a distrust of grantees) and spending more time building relationships with grantees, movements and the broader community.
Whether your journey towards a Just Transition is aspirational or practical, we invite you to begin with the belief that it is possible to reorient how your philanthropic resources are managed. Our colleagues at Movement Generation often say, “The heart learns what the hands do.” It is a simple way to acknowledge that it is through practice that our values become realized. We share this phrase as an invitation to boldly re-imagine your philanthropic practices.
The following spectrum contains examples of practices that range from extractive to regenerative, to help you imagine what shifts you can make towards a Just Transition. It is a work in progress and we hope to continue learning with our philanthropic allies as more funders embrace a Just Transition.