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Trust-Based Philanthropy Cohort

The 2022 Trust-Based Philanthropy Virtual Cohort is a three-month learning and action cohort, offered in collaboration with Philanthropy New York and the Trust-Based Philanthropy Project, advised by CHANGE Philanthropy. 

At its core, trust-based philanthropy begins with understanding power - and acknowledging how race, gender, and other factors of positionality shape our lived experiences and our relationship to power. As grantmakers, we have a responsibility to recognize that we're operating within an inequitable system that has perpetuated a racial wealth gap. Meanwhile, white dominant norms and perspectives have informed and influenced perceptions of who is deemed trustworthy and who is not. Being a trust-based funder requires constant and continuous examination of the implications of such biases in our day-to-day decision-making, as well as our culture, structures, leadership, and practices.

This cohort is specifically designed for senior leaders of grantmaking organizations that are ready to embrace and/or deepen their commitment to trust-based philanthropy with a particular focus on advancing racial equity. Participants will walk away with new peer connections, tools, and clear action steps that they can implement in leading organizational change toward trust-based, racial-equity focused philanthropy.

Intended Outcomes

Participants will be able to:

  • Articulate examples of how systemic inequity shows up in traditional philanthropy and a plan to identify areas of focus within their organizations that need to be more explicitly addressed
  • Identify tangible aspects of their organizational culture that they want to work on; and ideas for integrating values more intentionally into their organizational culture
  • Have a deeper self-awareness about their power and limitations, tips on how to take a coaching stance in their management approach, and a stronger sense of connection with one another as fellow leaders in philanthropy
  • Identify at least one structural component of their organization that needs to be changed and a plan of action in partnership with a peer accountability partner
  • Understand of how the six grantmaking practices of trust-based philanthropy require a racial equity lens in order to prevent potential harm
  • Have a deeper sense of commitment to their work in trust-based and racially equitable philanthropy, and a workplan for how they'll activate that commitment with a dedicated accountability partner for peer coaching

The lead faculty for this program will be Pia Infante, Co-Executive Director at The Whitman Institute, with additional perspectives from other philanthropy leaders brought in throughout the series. The sessions will be co-facilitated by Mariah Casias, Vice President of Learning and Evaluation at Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia and Yi-Ching Lin, Vice President of Learning at Philanthropy New York.

Cohort Composition

We are building a cohort of 25 – 30 members that is racially diverse and committed to creating a community that enhances and supports each other and the greater goal of equity in the sector. We will build the cohort with intention around collective knowledge capacity to advance racial equity work both internally and externally.

The group is comprised of Philanthropy New York and Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia members, who:

  • Have a commitment - or intend to commit - to policies or practices that build racial equity in your grantmaking while institutionalizing trust-based practices. 
  • Demonstrate that they hold an organizational position with a significant influence on organizational outcomes, including executive, senior leadership, or others who have decision-making power on grantmaking practices and organizational outcomes. 
  • Have a basic understanding of equity vs. equality, racial equity, and the dimensions of racism. These workshops are not intended for those who are relatively new to racial equity work and trust-based philanthropy.

The cohort will launch in early April 2022 and encompass six sessions over three months. The curriculum* has been developed by the Trust-Based Philanthropy Project in close consultation with CHANGE Philanthropy. Proposed topics are:

  • Session 1: Confronting Historical Power Imbalances in Philanthropy
  • Session 2: Aligning Trust-Based Values with Organizational Culture
  • Session 3: Trust-Based Leadership with an Anti-Racist Lens
  • Session 4: Optimizing Org Structures to Support Trust-Based Philanthropy
  • Session 5: Applying Racially Equitable, Trust-Based Approaches to Your Grantmaking
  • Session 6: Clarifying Next Steps on Your Trust-Based Journey

*This is an organic outline, so session topics may be adjusted based on the cohort’s needs.

Want to know more?

Read our FAQ that answers some common questions about the cohort, or reach out directly to Mariah Casias, Vice President of Learning and Evaluation.