Building Trust Through Practice: A Shared Journey Toward an Inclusive Economy

There’s a lot of talk in philanthropy about racial justice, trusting and centering grantees, sharing power, and enabling the risks necessary for innovative ideas to launch, succeed, or fail. But what does this look like in practice?  

In this new report, Building Trust Through Practice: A Shared Journey Toward an Inclusive Economy, Surdna’s Inclusive Economies team shares how they implemented a new strategy with and for their grantee partners. And the practice, insights, and lessons learned along the way.   

Key takeaways:   
  • Trust-Based philanthropic practices can pave the way to authentic, meaningful partnerships with grantees.  
  • Good funders are good followers. It’s essential to recognize the power of grantees’ experiences on the ground and follow their lead.  
  • Measurement is for learning, not proving impact. We focused on establishing a system for learning rather than evaluating if grantee partners reached their targets.   
  • Keep it simple. The greatest lessons come from learning from your mistakes and having sufficient information to make informed decisions. For example, we initially overwhelmed grantee partners with numerous options and metrics before finding the sweet spot. 
  • Investing in strategists is just as important as investing in strategies. Funders can accelerate momentum by creating spaces for stakeholders and grantees to learn, collaborate, and take action together.  
  • Changing the narrative is part of the equation. In response, we will soon pilot learning cohorts that will work together to shift narratives and share what they learn. 
Read the report.
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