Insightful article. I guess my complaint, which is related to Ms. Joyaux’s complaint about social change philanthropy not being well known in the nonprofit sector, is that it’s challenging for social change organizations to secure funding from non-individuals (foundations, corporations, etc.). Outcomes for social change organizations are not as easily measured as those of direct service organizations. Social change outcomes may also not be as attractive to funders as say the number of meals served on Thanksgiving. Systemic change takes time, but so often non-individual funders are not in it for the long haul. I look forward to reading Part II.

  • Laura Berry

    I join Simone in wishing that the roots of justice were more prominently on display in philanthropy. One simple approach could be asking all endowed institutions to be active shareholders. Foundations can and should learn about the shareholder proposals that arrive in the “mailboxes” of the investment firms that manage non-profit endowment, would go a long way toward healing and reforming the impact of the market collapse. Funding justice work is so important AND paying attention to justice as investors is too. Foundations like the Nathan Cummings Foundation are wonderful examples. Whether through program related investing or simply voting the institution’s proxies each year, endowed institutions can create more just and sustainable corporate practices by using their power as shareholders.

  • Simone Joyaux

    Thanks, Laura and Amy. Yes, too many non-individual funding sources prefer to invest in direct service. Direct service is easier to understand and easier to measure impact. Systemic change is so long term. For example, think about Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech – and the promise that someday… And that day has not yet truly arrived. This is not a post-racial country, despite the election of Barack Obama.
    Bottom line: social justice is really scary. Social justice means that those with privilege may lose some of their privilege. Foundations and corporations are some of the most status quo organizations that exist. And questioning the status quo is very very very challenging.
    I think we owe a great debt of gratitude to anyone – or any group – that questions the status quo. And after questioning, then steps up to invest in social change by speaking out, giving money, and so forth.