In Monday’s session on Philanthropy’s Role in Linking Social and Personal Transformation, the transformation of individuals was described as a central strategy to creating social change. Foundations often shy away from the “soft” side of change, but by ignoring the individual you risk developing unsustainable movements. The speakers described how their organizations created an environment where personal transformation is nurtured.
ForestEthics has taken a long term view when it is planning staff development activities. The organization invests in communications training, meditation techniques, and intensive leadership development programs. The purpose of this investment is to ensure that the movement has sustainable leaders. For this organization, the professional development budget of staff is one of the last expenses to be cut.
Ng’ethe Maina, Executive Director of Social Justice Leadership, described how his organization engages multiple staff members from 50+ organizations that participate in multi-year development cohorts. This wide and deep model ensures that change sticks.
Individual transformation is key to organizational and community transformation. By supporting the development of sustainable leadership, philanthropy can have a lasting impact.
Trista Harris is executive director of the Headwaters Foundation for Justice. You can read her blog here.