I recently authored an op-ed published by Westword on 2/6 titled: Foundations need to put our money where our missions are. The op-ed reflects my views and opinions as an individual and as an executive director working within philanthropy for 6+ years, and does not reflect the views or opinions of any organizations, groups, colleagues or peers that I am affiliated with. 

I wrote this article in response to an article that Westword published about a nonprofit organization asking philanthropy to do better and their specific requests were important and accurate. Due to the exact power imbalance between nonprofits and funders referenced in the original article – in my opinion, the requests couldn’t go as far as they needed to go in asking foundations to substantially increase funding to enable them to truly serve their communities and hold ourselves (funders) accountable to our missions across 100% of our assets (not just 5%). That needed to come from within philanthropy.

To some readers, the article may feel strongly worded, but I do believe this moment in time warrants hard truths and taking a hard look at our sector and ourselves as funders, philanthropists, gatekeepers and human beings. What is our role in perpetuating the social, economic and environmental problems that exist and what is our responsibility for addressing them? This is the decisive decade. The 2020s will be our inflection point where we decide whether or not to make the changes that can potentially stave off catastrophic climate change and work toward "a world where all people can live a prosperous and dignified life within the planet’s natural boundaries". With all due respect, I believe we can’t afford anything but deep, honest reflection, hard truths, true accountability to our communities and our missions, and a commitment to addressing root causes.

Please feel free to reach out to me at kpetrie@ajlfoundation.org with any questions, comments, feedback or ideas on how we can evolve ourselves and our sector to work toward an economic system built upon social, economic and environmental justice. We are all truly in this together.