I welcome the critique of Alliance’s future editorial direction (Alliance 100th issue, September 2021). And I’m pleased to see Alliance magazine using its 25th anniversary as a moment for reflection. Alliance stands alone as global philanthropy’s trade publication so it is especially important to analyse the responsibilities that come with this unique position.
I see the strength of Alliance to be a critical friend to philanthropy – but not its mouthpiece. It should highlight the inconsistencies and inherent contradictions of our sector, the power imbalances and underlying agendas, critically analyse giving motivations and gaps. As we enter crucial years in the struggle to stave off the climate crisis, Alliance should report more and more deeply on the systemic changes needed to prevent climate breakdown and challenge philanthropy to respond.
To do this, Alliance needs to highlight the diversity of voices that make up philanthropy today. It should give space to those who are not often heard, either because they do not usually have a seat at the table – our Indigenous, queer, feminist, black and brown colleagues – or because they have chosen to stay away from the table. Alliance has a special responsibility to hold a critical lens to a new breed of elite philanthropists, and scrutinise their motivations and impact.
Philanthropy at its best should be a field which all of us within it are building together – holding each other to account, pushing each other to be more ambitious, partnering to increase the impact of our grantmaking.