Mackenzie Scott announced another significant round of donations today in a blog post on Medium. Congrats to local organizations like Big Thought for receiving this recognition of your work. But, equally – or arguable more – exciting as the donations is what she had to say about philanthropy’s norm of centering wealth and donors.
“People struggling against inequities deserve center stage in stories about change they are creating. This is equally — perhaps especially — true when their work is funded by wealth. Any wealth is a product of a collective effort that included them. The social structures that inflate wealth present obstacles to them. And despite those obstacles, they are providing solutions that benefit us all.
Putting large donors at the center of stories on social progress is a distortion of their role. Me, Dan, a constellation of researchers and administrators and advisors — we are all attempting to give away a fortune that was enabled by systems in need of change. In this effort, we are governed by a humbling belief that it would be better if disproportionate wealth were not concentrated in a small number of hands, and that the solutions are best designed and implemented by others. Though we still have a lot to learn about how to act on these beliefs without contradicting and subverting them, we can begin by acknowledging that people working to build power from within communities are the agents of change. Their service supports and empowers people who go on to support and empower others,” wrote Mackenzie.
Beyond the list of organizations receiving these donations, her announcement is well-worth the time to read and share, and share, and share, and share.