By Pamela Nathan
I attended one day of the Philanthropy Australia National Conference called Purpose. The morning keynote speakers were really inspirational and indicated a new way forward for philanthropy and new thinking for funding bodies.
Jeremy Heiman’s, co-author of New Power (2018), is the co-founder and CEO of Purpose, an organisation headquartered in New York that builds and supports social movements for a more just and equitable world.
He spoke about ‘old power‘ and ‘new power‘. Old power is for the elite and is jealously guarded. Old power is exclusive and values specialist expertise. New power is made by many and is open, participatory and peer-driven. New power is collaborative, sharing, transparent and a maker of culture ethic. New power can change the world. He spoke of movements as change agents and changing the world.
Jeremy showed a very powerful video on the White Hat Movement in Syria, which is a voluntary movement that comes in and rescues people after bombings. They showed the rescue of a two week old baby, buried under a collapsed three story building, and his/her precarious rescue. The young man depicted in the film died a few years later. The film bought tears to my eyes and to the lady sitting next to me. The message? Saving one life saves the world.
What do I take from his talk for CASSE and the Men’s Tjilirra Movement (MTM)? The following messages:
CASSE changes minds and saves lives.
Invest in saving lives.
Invest in changing lives.
Invest in new power.
Invest in support and safety.
Invest in expanding access to opportunity.
Invest in new power to help the less powerful
On the side of love
Saving lives every day.
This is what CASSE and the MTM do, in fact. CASSE has the answers. CASSE is ahead of its time.
Then Fred Blackwell spoke. Fred is the CEO of The San Francisco Foundation, one of the largest community foundations in the country worth now billions of dollars. The Foundation works with donors, community leaders, and public and private communities throughout the Bay area.
Fred spoke about race and equity and social justice. RACE!! Race is the foundation of his Foundation. The community is largely African American. We don’t speak the word Race in Australia readily and, if so, one does at one’s peril.
People, Place and Power are their focus, their mission and vision.
They now fund operational costs and not program costs. They fund long-term projects. They take a multi-focus.
CASSE values people, place and power (to the people).
Invest in people, place and power.
This is what CASSE does.
Come on this journey, too!
Then there were break-out sessions. I attended: Decolonising philanthropy: How can philanthropy advance Indigenous community-led solutions? This session was quite remarkable and panellists included speakers from CAGES Foundation, Culture is Life and First Australians Capital. The conversation centred on how can a philanthropist review and change their practice if they are successfully to partner with Aboriginal organisations and communities. Woor-Dungin prepared principles during a three day gathering: “Walking Together”. I will cite their principles:
Ask us what we really need
Treat us with respect
Come without any answers
Really listen to us
We know our communities best
Understand that culture and connection to our mobs are our most important values
We want to work together with people with genuine intent
Tell us straight up what you will fund
Your finding must be ion our terms, it must be our vision
We are trying to bring about changes to our mob that take more than one year
We have so much to offer philanthropy
You can learn from our cultures
We are willing to share but it is hard for us to trust
For us, it is all about relationships.
Woor-Dungin and Australian Communities Foundation are this year’s recipients of the Indigenous Philanthropy Award for the Criminal Record Discrimination Project (CRDP).