Dear Partners and Community,
At the turn of a new year, we often think about having a fresh start – committing ourselves to resolutions of what we want to do differently or how we will change, sometimes going after a fad, or quick fix to reach our end goal.
As I reflect on these invariably uncertain times and what 2023 will mean for Convergence Partnership, it became obvious what our focus is: to not look for shiny and new, but rather, to stay the course of our commitments.
Philanthropy’s habit of being fickle and looking for the shiny new thing to fund is antithetical to what is needed this year and for many years to come. Just in the last three months, several reports, statements, and articles have revealed that while some good strides have been made, it has not been nearly enough to make the impact we all say we want – racial justice, economic inclusion and health equity. Grassroots leaders and peer philanthropic leaders are sounding the alarm once again for philanthropy to stay laser focused, yet we are hearing that some are stepping back or pivoting away from the commitments made in 2020, while others are reluctant to explicitly address racism, racial justice or racial equity. We know better and must do better.
Convergence Partnership sees racial justice as the only way to health equity. Instead of shifting course, Convergence is going to have the courage to be disciplined, and encourage our partners and peers to join us. We are staying true to our commitments to continue to: acknowledge and repair the generations of harm philanthropic institutions have caused on Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and AAPI communities; dismantle racially biased and inequitable philanthropic and institutional practices; and, cede power and wealth to people closest to the issues and communities who have been most harmed and extracted from. We are continuing to invest in Black-, Indigenous- and people of color-led frontline organizations to support their work to build economic, narrative and political power as the sustainable way to move toward racial justice and health equity. Our role is to organize and align our funding peers to do the same.
I do believe that philanthropy can be in better solidarity with impacted communities by supporting community power and agency in the pursuit of liberation. We face an enormous opportunity and responsibility to help move others to this imperative and not to backslide to old habits. My hope is that philanthropy as a sector can release itself from the mental tether of creating systemic efficiency above all else. But instead, our goal should be to reimagine and redesign systems and institutions that embody justice and wellbeing, and community care.
At Convergence Partnership, we want to see a future where the resources and influence of philanthropy are fully aligned to the priorities of people at the frontlines of injustice. When people have the political and economic power to control their own lives, so much is possible. They can build systems and institutions that are inclusive, just, and support their well-being.
We will help achieve their vision of healthy, thriving communities in all parts of the country. We are committed to staying the course, even – and especially – as it goes against the systems of efficiency at all costs.
I, like many of you, am excited to reconnect and be in community with one other again. I look forward to seeing you in person at this year’s conferences, gatherings, and visits to create, align, and support holistic, reparative philanthropic practices and structures that amplify people power to drive structural change toward racial justice and health equity.
With gratitude and resolve,
Executive Director, Convergence Partnership