by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
For people who are worried about whether a new woke ideology has taken over philanthropy, there is good news and bad news. The bad news is that it is everywhere. From the biggest foundations to the smallest nonprofits, an agenda of racial equity and identity politics is pervasive. The good news, though, is that this ideology is so divorced from reality that it might spell the end of many of these organizations.
Over the past year, billions of dollars have been pledged to support the cause of racial equity. According to a report from the AP, $12 billion in charitable contributions were “earmarked for racial equity” in the past year. A recent survey from the Center for Effective Philanthropy of 800 foundations found that 75 percent “had initiated efforts to support nonprofits that serve communities of color.” And according to Ellie Buteau, the Center for Effective Philanthropy’s vice president of research, the foundations were “trying to learn more about racism” and “self-reflect” about hiring and grant-making.
Indeed, for many foundations, the new mandate is not simply to give to more woke causes, regardless of their organization’s mission. It is to entirely change the way they do business. …
… Take the recent news from the Chronicle of Philanthropy that nonprofits are now hiring and promoting development staff without regard to their ability to raise money. As an example, consider C. Nathan Harris, who was recently hired for a fundraising job at the Oregon Food Bank. In an interview, he “was asked if he had ever developed an innovative approach to fundraising work. His answer: “putting less emphasis on financial goals for fundraisers as a measure of success and more on human-focused measures like relationships with supporters.” …
… Since he got the job, Harris has set out to make his team of development officers feel better, even if it’s at the expense of actually raising money.