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Letter: A Signal Of Hope

The global movement for racial justice has refocused our attention on our values and inspired us to reflect. The murder of George Floyd magnified deeply-rooted historical racial inequality and mistreatment. The protests are a painful cry from global citizens, not just for an end to police brutality, but for an end to structural racism and injustice. These cries have too long been denied, ignored, and discounted. It is time for all of us to step up and take action both in our organizations and in our personal lives.

TPW is a global network of social investors dedicated to helping nonprofit and community partners. We are in a fortunate position to accelerate positive social impact and progress. However, we must also acknowledge that we are firmly entrenched in the very systems that we are trying to make more just and more equitable. Many of us have been beneficiaries of high-quality education, easy access to capital, influential networks, intergenerational wealth, and socioeconomic structures that make wealth accumulation and philanthropy possible. 

TPW’s 25-year history is rooted in systems change. We were created to help philanthropists learn and work more collaboratively, to get proximate with communities to better understand ecosystem issues, and ultimately to give more strategically.  

Overall, we believe that communities—not philanthropists, not government, not businesses—know best what they need and how to collaborate to solve complex problems. And they deserve agency. They don’t want “top-down” solutions—they want strategic partnership, unrestricted funding, long term support, and funders that are smart enough to trust the leaders on the front lines and brave enough to use their influence and privilege for the benefit of others. 

Our mission is to mobilize a global network of strategic investors united by their commitment to unlocking resources, lifelong learning, collaboration, and entrepreneurial approaches. Our vision is that every community in the world has the resources it needs for our people and planet to thrive. Equity and justice are at the core of this mission and vision. The resources we deploy in our role as social investors—time, talent, treasure, and ties—come with responsibilities: power, privilege, and a platform to make a difference.  

Our Commitments:

  • We uphold equity as a basic human right underscoring everything we do. 
  • Social movements and organizations led by people of color are under-funded. We commit to unlocking resources to remedy this imbalance.
  • We all need to unlearn hidden biases and assumptions from our past. TPW is proud of our educational programs and track record in confronting racial injustice, but we commit to going further to address the root causes and biases in our own philanthropic system. That includes a thorough examination of our internal practices and governance.
  • Traditional philanthropy, while well-intended, can be a barrier to healthy change. Currently, too much money is on the sidelines, sitting in foundation endowments or DAFs when it should be deployed. Decision-makers are also predominantly white. We need to learn from more social investors of color so we can drive valuable solutions and create systems for a better future.
  • With a history of operating at the intersection of society, business, and government, we in the TPW Community hold ourselves accountable to the progress led by communities. We commit to transparently sharing the models, approaches, and best practices that actually work. That requires taking more risks to boldly communicate what doesn’t. 
  • We will continue to build a more diverse board and staff that better reflects the communities and neighborhoods we trust and support. This is not just a moment, but a deep reckoning. We are ready to listen, to learn, to act, and to be held accountable. We do not have all the answers, but we believe TPW has a role to play in demonstrating how global problems and unjust systems can be changed, and how by working in humble collaboration, we can all be a signal of hope. 
Lisa Wolverton, Board Chair
Renee Kaplan, CEO

@TPWGiveBetter

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