The Power of Voice Foundations and corporate giving programs wield enormous influence. Whether local, regional, or national in scope, they command attention because of their resources, flexibility, and role in supporting innovation. At their best, they use this influence to search for next generation ideas; test new models and bring those that are successful to scale; and take advantage of philanthropy’s staying power to strengthen community resiliency, build new fields of work, and focus on issues over time. With this great influence, however, comes a great responsibility: to take an active role in securing positive change. But when, where, and how should philanthropy use the power of its voice? When, where, and how should it lift up the voice of others? These questions inspire lively discussion within the field. How well do foundations communicate their ideas? How involved in public debates should grantmakers be? Are funders appropriately respectful of and responsive to the assets and priorities of the communities they serve? Has philanthropy’s support for advocacy and policy change been too robust or too timid? The 2014 GIH annual meeting will be a time to reflect on the power of voice in all of its manifestations.
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