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Shifting Philanthropy– In its Workplaces and Through its Work.

By: Sadiqa Reynolds, CEO at Perception Institute

At Perception we’ve been pushing for shifts that need to happen in philanthropy––in its workplaces and through its work. We lifted up strategies to accomplish these shifts six years ago in His Story: Shifting Narratives for Boys and Men of Color, a toolkit that compiled key knowledge, analysis, and resources in one place for grantmakers seeking to invest their time, talent, and treasure in narrative change work. We continued by supporting the strong work happening inside foundations. Our work with the MacArthur Foundation is illustrative.  Compelling research and on-the-ground experience reinforces the reality that the stories we tell ourselves about each other––whether our colleagues at work or the communities we aim to serve––matter. It’s why MacArthur has partnered with Perception to address the power of narrative––to imprison us or to free us.

In his latest blog, John Palfrey, President of the MacArthur Foundation, writes that “MacArthur’s values include Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and our Just Imperative calls on us to lead with justice and create the conditions for more people to have equitable access, treatment, consideration, and opportunity. Our Staff, with the Just Imperative in mind, called on MacArthur to address and repair harms, so we can live our values—individually and collectively.”

He goes on by writing that, “We aim to be in right relationship with communities and with one another. The first step to being in right relationship is to admit where we have been wrong.”

He further explains that, “Staff leading us to accountability was the right approach, but we also needed outside support from external partners who led us through the process. In part because this work is emotionally taxing, and our Staff also had their ongoing roles and responsibilities to meet MacArthur’s mission. We found this support in Dr. Shaniqua Jones and Jason Craige Harris of PERCEPTION Strategies, who were essential partners.”

The work of Perception Institute and Perception Strategies focuses on organizational, narrative, and systems change. Together, these two entities, under the Perception Umbrella, make a powerful collaborative that aims to transform every space we enter, toward greater dignity, equity, and belonging. 
Read John Palfrey’s entire blog here.

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