Resident Power: Leading Neighborhood Change is the title of 2017’s OTG in Pittsburgh (Sept 13 – 16 – there are just a few tickets left!). But it is also a description of how we’d like to see neighborhood change and social change come about – as the result of residents and people directly affected by decisions exercising their power. For this to happen, a lot needs to change.
The good news is that the changes we need will benefit every segment of our society:
- We need to actively ensure that the gifts of those on the margin are brought into the center
- All impacted people have a meaningful role in decisions
- Decisions are entered into with an eye toward addressing inequity and strengthening community
- This approach requires relationship
At Grassroots Grantmakers, we are working to apply these practices to the work of grantmaking.
On the Ground Pittsburgh, happening just a few short weeks from now, has developed out of this approach. We realized that we wanted to get to know Pittsburgh as much as we could, so GRGM’s board held our meeting there in April. Our board chair and ED have made multiple visits. OTG host The Sprout Fund, and their Local Planning Committee led the process. Our event planner was local. We asked to listen to resident partners of the local grassroots funders and hosted two events with them.
The result is the creation of new relationships and the development of a process designed to offer an opportunity for meaningful conversation among all participants at the OTG – and to lead to new or strengthened relationships in Pittsburgh going forward. Already we are seeing new ways that grantmakers and residents are engaging each other. This is a necessary first step onto the path of meaningfully including residents in philanthropy and grantmaking.
As we continue to learn together, we’ll find new ways to do the work of making change together – ways that will strengthen communities because everyone will be included. We’ll keep you posted!