Participatory grantmaking is a promising way to practise a more just and equitable approach to philanthropy, though implementing it requires considerable readjustment of both attitudes and ways of working. In this article, we – practitioners of participatory grantmaking – respond to some of the questions we are frequently asked by those interested in the approach.
"How can we ensure all voices are given equal consideration, not simply token representation?"
How do participatory approaches support diversity, inclusion and/or equity?
In practice, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives in philanthropy have often fallen short. Many focus solely on gender and race, with little consideration given to sexual orientation or disability and virtually no intersectional lens. The emphasis has tended to be on hiring ‘diverse’ staff, rather than questioning who is setting the agenda. It almost looks like an effort by those in power to move over a little on the seat, but not to give it up. For us, key questions remain: where is diversity at the top, where decisions about money are made? And, how can we ensure all voices are given equal consideration, not simply token representation?