Amidst feeling of uncertainty about this historic moment in time and calls for philanthropy to be about building bridges, not walls, the 2017 WINGSForum in Mexico City opened with a question on the minds of many: where is philanthropy going next?
There are of course no easy answers. Existing models must be examined. New narratives must emerge. But as I listened to panelists from around the world talk about the future, what resonated was a shared desire for philanthropy to be so much more than it currently is.
Perhaps now more than every there is an opportunity to channel the values that underpin global philanthropy – compassion, empathy, inclusion, belonging to name a few – into territory that for some may be less familiar.
What role might grantmaking play in funding movements working to address issues of social injustice and inequality?
How might philanthropy continue to engage people in shaping public policy and social discourse?
How might charitable giving expand to become a greater vehicle for impact investing and supporting social entrepreneurship?
In the years to come philanthropy will continue to evolve, and we as individuals, organizations and networks must be ready and willing to evolve too. Country by country, community by community, we will be challenged with what to hold onto, what to let go of, and what to start fresh to meet the priorities of the future.
The diversity of people and perspectives around the WINGS table is our greatest strength, and in this moment our ability to push the boundaries of what philanthropy is, and what is can be, will make us an even stronger force for collective good.
David Venn is the Director of Communications for the Community Foundations of Canada.
You can find more coverage from the WINGSForum 2017 here.