Themes From The Next Normal: Building True & Equitable Partnerships With Funders

Themes From The Next Normal: Building True & Equitable Partnerships With Funders

This is the second installment of my short series revisiting some of the incredible conversations I’ve had with folks as part of my Next Normal series at the beginning of this year. As so many of us continue to grapple the implications of COVID for how we work and how we lead, I wanted to revisit the idea of leadership in this next normal that’s being created.

I call it the next normal because what counts as normal is always changing and evolving, the work of social impact and social justice and leadership and even the structure of nonprofits is evolving and we’re creating a next version of “normal” – hopefully one with deeper equity and more honesty about what is broken and still left to be fixed in our world.

This week, I’m looking at a theme that came up a bunch in the conversations: what it looks and feels like to have an equitable relationship with funders. How has that been changed by COVID, and what are the hallmarks of a true partnership.

These conversations are with Marcella Tillett, VP of Programs and Partnerships at the Brooklyn Community Foundation, Terri Davis-Marchant, Program Director of Housing and Homelessness at Trinity Church Philanthropies, and Robyne Walker-Murphy, EDF of the Groundswell Mural Project.

The themes that came up in all of the wonderful conversations were: 1 – power – what it looks like in a healthy funder/ grantee relationship and in a not so healthy one; 2- how to build true partnership, and a bit of behind the scenes of funder’s perspectives; and 3 – some best practices, from the perspective of both a grantee and two very different funders.

So this week, and for the coming weeks, I’ll be revisiting and curating a few collections of fund conversations, all around themes of leadership. My hope is that the conversations will give you some food for thought for your own leadership.