Our organization and our network are in a moment of growth. At Philanthropy Northwest, we are clarifying our comfort with being bold and taking a stand on policy issues like the Census, increasing DEI across the sector, and rolling out new opportunities like the Northwest Bond Fund. We are amidst a bold campaign to fuel our work for the future, and we’re taking seriously the need for state-by-state strategies for engagement. We are deepening our commitments to tribal and native communities through programs and research, and we’re re-tooling what it looks like to support the next generation of philanthropic leaders. All the while, we’re not forgetting our roots and making sure we maintain our relevance for all types of philanthropies while building the capacity and efficacy of the full sector. We’re weaving in our rural partners, we’re pushing ourselves to think differently about our marketing and programs, and we’re listening to the needs of our community foundations. We’re meeting people where they are, helping them look at where they’ve been, and helping them find their next step forward – with a network of peers to support them!
We’re also in a unique position this year to be in partnership with CHANGE Philanthropy. Their Unity Summit, which happens every two years, is the blackest, brownest, queerest gathering of philanthro-folk in the country. This is an opportunity for Philanthropy Northwest to serve as a bridge: meeting our network where they are and showing them options for how to connect to deeper conversations about racial equity and racial justice through an intersectional lens. As our network engages with CHANGE, and vice-versa, we’re able to be the regional through-line for a national level conversation. We’re connecting our vast six-state region, all the urban and rural and everywhere-in-between communities that our philanthropies serve, and we’re offering an on-ramp to a deeper conversation about power, justice and liberation.
And we’re here, in Seattle: a place so many in our network call home. The ancestral lands of the Duwamish people, and through the waters, a connection point for all the Coast Salish peoples. A transportation hub of ferries, buses, light-rail, planes, trains, bikes, kayaks and water taxis. This place, so deeply connected by water and surrounded by forests, is already seeing major changes from climate change. A place with deepening income and racial inequality, seeing the complicated relationships between a growing technology economy, rapid displacement of historically black and brown neighborhoods, seemingly progressive politicians and an affordable housing crisis. Through it all, philanthropy is figuring out how to move more resources to support community-led efforts. How do we support healthy communities and strong social systems? How do we align our histories, our people, and our resources to put community at the center? We might not have all the answers, but we know this: we cannot do it alone.
Given the unique place we find our organization, this opportunity with CHANGE Philanthropy, and our city, our theme this year will be: ROOTED. GROUNDED. GROWING.