PUBLISHED In Nonprofit Quarterly | JUNE 16, 2022
Freeing Ourselves from Colonial, White Savior Models of Philanthropy
By Nicolette Naylor and Nina Blackwell
The global uprisings for racial justice in 2020 forced many in our society to reckon with the role they play in perpetuating the violent, destructive forces of racism and anti-Blackness.
As a Black woman who grew up in South Africa under the ravages of apartheid and who now works as a senior leader within a large, US-based, global philanthropic organization, I—Nicolette—had a moment of reckoning where I had to ask whether and in what ways my institutional role perpetuates anti-Blackness and a colonial mindset in relation to Black and Brown communities in Africa.
As a white, female executive director of a grantmaking organization that has only ever funded community organizations in Southern and Eastern Africa, I—Nina—wished that it hadn’t taken George Floyd’s murder to have my fellow funders and philanthropists wake up. I was also reminded again that the system of Global North philanthropy favors people who look like me. The very fact I was chosen for this role—having never lived on the African continent—was perpetuating neocolonialism, white supremacy and anti-Blackness.
Still, we were tentatively hopeful about philanthropy’s swift public response to calls for racial justice and the promises made by many organizations to do better through more funding, intentional reflection, and policy change.
Read the full op-ed in Nonprofit Quarterly