Fearless Fundraisers, I am deeply saddened by the tragic death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and too many other Black names I know and many that I do not. I have not written you yet because I have been in a deep state of reflection and learning - from anti-racist books, to learning about the racist history of my local community, to listening about the biases that Black fundraisers face, to a deep personal reflection on the industry of ‘coaching’ and my belief that it is contributing to these injustices more than any coach wants to admit.
It is the last point - the inequity that coaching perpetuates - that has me deeply committed to doing my own anti-racist work NOW. As I coach, I want to be constantly providing and serving. As a fundraising coach. I believe deeply that the conversations about money, power, value and worth need to shift in our society. I see fundraisers - YOU - as the money movers that we need to have a more whole and just society. This work is my calling, passion, and livelihood.
And yet, the events of the last few weeks have left me stunned by my own ignorance. In all my work around the power dynamics of fundraisers and philanthropists, I had never stopped to think about the additional layer of structural racism in philanthropy. I’m embarrassed to admit that. But here I am, humbly and deeply listening and learning.
Some amazing resources for learning and action include:
Our Right to Heal (stories of Black Canadian women fundraisers)
If you have worked with me before, you know I call myself ‘a recovering perfectionist’. And yet this email is the most imperfect thing I have ever sent.
Because I have no complete answers yet. I’m still listening, I’m still learning. My work focuses on awareness, alignment, and authentic action. I stress to my clients that powerful action MUST come from the combination of awareness and alignment work.
So here I am, working on MY awareness. So far, in the early stages of my learning, I am ready to make the following commitments:
By August 2020, I will implement a DEI review & assessment into my contract process for retainer contracts (meaning I will not work on retainer for an org that does not meet specific guidelines). I will pay an expert to help me find the right resources to reference.
I will create a more robust and transparent scaled pricing structure to elevate Black leaders by the end of June.
I will highlight Black leaders and their powerful fundraising work, as well as their challenges due to systematic racism, on my social media platforms starting immediately.
In addition, for the rest of the year, I am contributing 10% of all new full-fee contracts to Black liberation organizations such as Movement for Black Lives, National Bailout Funds, and the Black Youth Organizing Project. And, until I have the scaled pricing structure fully flushed out, I will be offering 25% off of all services to Black lead organizations (those I currently have contracts with and any new clients).
As my awareness and alignment evolves in the coming weeks and months, you can expect to see more authentic action around these issues.
I promise to do better - to apply my position of power and privilege as well as my skills and talents to partner with others who are fighting for and building a more equitable society.
In solidarity and service,