As my little brother said in a text, “Watched the whole thing. You’re a bad mofo.” Which is about as good as it gets in terms of sibling compliments about an academic presentation on a heady social justice topic. Even if you don’t understand the term “decolonization” and aren’t in the field of philanthropy, check it out. I promise you’ll learn a few new things that will inspire and challenge you! xoxoako
Decolonizing Wealth: Seven Steps to Healing by Edgar Villanueva
Step 1: Grieve
Feel the hurt, shame, and sadness
Grief of the colonized
- Cultures, people, and lands that were forcibly taken away
- Hundreds of years of enslavement and genocide
Grief of the colonizers
- Emotions of fear, guilt, and shame
- Separation mindset that causes defensiveness and apathy
Step 2: Apologize
Acknowledge where philanthropic wealth originated
- Theft of land and resources
- Labor of enslaved people
- Exploitation of low-wage workers
- Ongoing income and wealth disparity
- Tax shelters, breaks, and loopholes for the rich
Step 3: Listen
Tap into the wisdom of those we wish to serve
- Challenge paternalistic benevolence
- Value and center lived experience
- Stop controlling the conversation
- Address and work through challenges
Step 4: Relate
Prioritize relationships and connections over results
- Cultivate human connection
- Value people over ROI and metrics
- Seek information from all levels of the organization and community
- Practice collective decision-making
Step 5: Represent
Include diverse people in decision-making processes
- Diversify your board, leadership, staff
- Create new leadership opportunities for community members
- Prioritize deep, authentic knowledge that only community members can provide
- Share decision-making power with community members
Step 6: Invest
Celebrate giving and put money towards your values
- Measure effectiveness by giving, not endowment returns
- Give more than the minimum 5%
- Divest from unethical investments
- Practice mission-related investing
Step 7: Repair
Use money to heal and achieve social justice
- Fundraise to close the racial wealth gap
- Make reparations for wealth that was stolen from BIPOC
- Emphasize that this is to correct a current, not past, injustice
Decolonizing Wealth Paradigm Shifts
Please answer the questions for the paradigm shift that you would like to see at your organization.
I. DIVIDE > CONNECT
- How do divisions show up between your organization and the community it serves?
- What actions has your organization taken to connect with the community it serves?
- Referring to the “Seven Steps to Healing,” what actions can it take to better connect with the community it serves?
II. CONTROL > RELATE
- How does control play out between your organization and the community it serves?
- What actions has your organization taken to better relate to and share control with the community it serves?
- Referring to the “Seven Steps to Healing,” what actions can your organization take to better relate to and share control with the community it serves?
III. EXPLOIT > BELONG
- How does exploitation show up among your organization, your donors, and the community it serves?
- What actions has your organization taken to increase belonging among your organization, your donors, and the community it serves?
- Referring to the “Seven Steps to Healing,” what actions can your organization take to increase belonging among your organization, your donors, and the community it serves?