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After the Election, Finding Hope in Philanthropy

Filed in Uncategorized — November 10, 2016

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By Vanessa Pierce, Director & Chief Strategist, Black Fox Philanthropy

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.
-Martin Luther King, Jr.

Like nearly 60 million of my fellow Americans who voted for Hillary Clinton for President, I was in a state of shock and disbelief the night of November 8.  The next morning, that shock had quickly turned to grief and an overwhelming sense of despair.

But then something else happened, something that honestly surprised me: I logged on to my laptop and started work, thinking about my beloved clients, spread all over the country and the world, and how they must be feeling at that moment.  And then I realized that another way forward after this terrible, divisive election was right in front of me: the work that I do every day, and have done for most of my adult life, the work of the non-profit sector.

Politics is just one lever for change. Philanthropy is another.

The word philanthropy comes from the Greek for “love of humankind.”  This love for our fellow humans, our fellow Americans and our fellow global citizens has seemed in short supply during this brutal election.  But through it all, despite all of the noise and rancor, there are thousands of organizations working tirelessly in service of this love of humankind.

I’ve been fortunate to spend almost all of my professional life in the non-profit sector. I’ve seen firsthand how organizations locally, nationally and internationally are fighting the good fight, not just for today, but for a future far beyond our own lifetimes.  What I did on November 9 was to pivot away from despair, to choose hope and to think about my vision for our country and for our world. I got out my credit card and started making donations to organizations that share my vision for equality, for women’s safe access to healthcare, for social justice and for quality public education.

There are so many incredible organizations that are actively bringing our visions of a more peaceful, just and inclusive society to life.  Politics is important and we can do so much better on that front. But right in front of each of us today is the chance to support a cause that will help us be the change that we want to see in the world. Let’s not lose hope.

Edited to add: Since I wrote this, I’ve gotten lots of questions about where to give. In terms of global impact, all of our clients are doing amazing work all over the world, as are all of the organizations represented at Opportunity Collaboration.  On a national level, Charity Navigator is a great resource and you can search for organizations by issue area and see very transparently what they do and how they do it.  Locally, there are fantastic organizations both secular and religious, schools, social enterprises and more.  Your local community foundations are a great resource.

In the comments below, tell us your favorite organizations that share your vision for a more hopeful future. We each have a responsibility to give our resources—whether that’s our skills, our voices, our time or our money—to move forward for positive change.