#28 | Are we ready for these important conversations with our donors?

Our Tuesday conversation this week is with Trista Harris; a philanthropic futurist and passionate advocate for leaders in the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors. I recall Trista catching my attention while she was establishing a platform for herself a decade ago. Since that time, Trista has been featured on CNN, and her work has been covered by the Chronicle of Philanthropy, the New York Times, Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal, Forbes, and numerous social sector blogs. In her new book, FutureGood, Trista encourages the social sector to learn to how to predict the future in order to anticipate better trends and new realities that will impact our work.

Trista’s 2019 Philanthropy Predictions provided a thought-provoking outline for our conversation this week. It strikes me that each of Trista's predictions will increase the importance of more deliberate conversations with our donors and other constituents.

From Trista’s Blog:

Natural Disaster Forces Action: 2019 will bring another huge natural disaster, exacerbated by human impact on our climate. Since just 100 companies have been the source of more than 70% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions since 1988, an increased foundation focus will be on shareholder advocacy to hold corporations accountable for their impact on the climate, rather than just focusing on the recycling and driving habits of individual citizens.

Marijuana Expungements become an Equity Focus: While whites and blacks use marijuana at similar rates, blacks are more than 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession. This criminal record can impact job prospects, public housing eligibility, and student financial aid eligibility. A growing number of foundations, including community foundations in states that have legalized marijuana, will fund organizing and tech tools to clear the records of people with marijuana related crimes.

Cities as a Unit of Change: As the need for more connected cities planned around people’s well-being increases, foundations learn how to influence city-scale development projects. By harnessing the power of collective impact tables, more flexible resources are available for authentic community input, global idea exchanges, and the engagement citizen-focused design experts.

Foundations Find their Voice: Just as television images of civil rights protesters being viciously beaten galvanized disengaged northern Whites to act, social media stories and videos of the children of asylum seekers at the southern border being separated from their parents and abused or dying while in the custody of the United States government will push foundations to speak out against separations. Foundations like the ones that have been a part of Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR) for a number of years will provide mentorship and support to funders that are just beginning to engage.

Board Demographics Shift: Because of increased transparency and better cultural competency, foundation and nonprofit boards will get more serious about their board demographics reflecting the populations that they serve. As a result of these shifts in representation, there will be lasting impacts on foundation strategy and selection of more CEOs of color in the future by these boards.  

If you'd like to reach out to Trista, connect with her on LinkedIn or visit her website at www.tristaharris.org 

Stayed tuned for this week’s Thursday conversation with Tina Barber, Vice President of Development at Neuva Esperanza in Philadelphia.

Jason Lewis