#70 | Has philanthropy been designed for the macho white male?

I was especially eager to have this podcast conversation with Chase McNamee; and while we are both straight, white males, it was refreshing to own up to the privilege that comes with our identity and discuss some of the ways that philanthropy might improve itself in order to ensure more diversity around the table. Much of our conversation begged the question of whether philanthropy has been designed for the macho white males who are often applauded for writing the big checks. Chase wants us to wrestle with the reality that racism, sexism, and homophobia has prevented some from having a seat at the table; consequently we are missing out on the opportunity for these marginalized groups to contribute in a meaningful way.

I really appreciate that Chase is among those who has chosen to be a scholar-practitioner which affords him perspective of what’s happening in field while also allowing him to ask critical questions that can improve our practices. I shared with Chase how my habit of asking questions has been met with some resistance, particularly among those whom I believe have the most to gain by asking these types of questions - questions that confront head-on the under-representation and inequity that is so prevalent in our sector. As impressive as our outcomes might be and as talented as we’d like to think we are, is philanthropy merely stuck in a cycle of repackaging ideas and messages that narrowly appeal to only the most privileged in our society?

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Jason Lewis