Challenging conversations have always defined the field of philanthropy. Opposing viewpoints and robust disagreements hone good decisions into great ones and tune discord into harmony.
But lately I feel like I’m seeing less optimism in the field. While our conversations struggle to critically examine and alleviate some of the greatest problems facing humanity, they can too easily turn overly inward. We begin to question whether we are good enough, honest enough or inclusive enough to even attempt these feats.
Going into this conference, I have been looking for ways I can become a better grant maker. I’ve been asking myself how the field can achieve systemic change around the important issues of our day.
In thinking about these questions, I was reminded of a favorite passage from author Kurt Vonnegut. “Many people need desperately to receive this message: ‘I feel and think much as you do, care about many of the things you care about, although most people do not care about them. You are not alone.”
As we come together to discuss our vision for philanthropy, I will be eagerly anticipating the fresh ideas that come from open-minded, results-oriented debate. It’s my hope that, even amid great disagreement, we can transcend ego and insecurity enough to remember that we care about many of the same things–that we are not alone.