Silence Speaks Volumes
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ ” Fred Rogers
Over the weekend and into this week, you’ve probably heard about the racist taunts and nativist exhortations delivered and defended by The White House.
The message of division is loud and clear. And it’s once again echoing across America.
So is silence. Particularly from many of the foundations and nonprofits that make up our sector.
Over the last few years we’ve learned that foundations and nonprofits that communicate well are stronger, smarter, and vastly more effective.
As the rhetoric out of Washington edges ever uglier, we’ve been pondering a question inspired by Mr. Rogers: Where are the helpers?
Sharon Alpert of the Nathan Cummings Foundation makes the case that we are the helpers. She recently shared How Philanthropy Can Curb the Rise of Hate: Count It, Condemn It, Confront It.
To build on Sharon’s idea, what might it look like if, over the next few weeks, every nonprofit or foundation did a simple, decent thing and used their institutional voice to clearly and publicly affirm their core values, purpose, and aspirations?
Silence speaks volumes. And words matter. They can harm. Or they can help, heal, and keep hope alive.
If you’re looking for more to consider:
Valerie Jarrett and Keecha Harris offer 6 Steps Foundations Can Take to Advance Racial Equity
Below, you’ll find a roundup of responses we’ve seen so far (updated 8/12/2019). Please contact Yabsera Faris if you would like to have a statement added to this list.
- Statement of The Boston Foundation: The time is now to raise our voices on race
- San Francisco Foundation CEO President Fred Blackwell: Battle the Bully Pulpit, Right Here at Home
- Barr Foundation President Jim Canales: We Must Persevere
- Philanthropy Northwest CEO Kiran Ahuja: Philanthropy Leaders, Join Me in Rebuking Trump’s Racist ‘Go Home’ Tweets
- Heinz Endowments President Grant Oliphant: Messengers of Wonder
- Irvine Foundation President Don Howard: Standing up to divisiveness, providing aid for immigrant families
- Statement of the Kenneth Rainin Foundation: Rejecting The Language of Hate
- Kresge Foundation President & CEO Rip Rapson: We Need to Lift Up, Not Tear Down, Our American Cities
- Statement of Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation: Channeling Anguish into Action
- Baltimore Community Foundation President and CEO Shanaysha Sauls: Statement on President Trump’s Tweets about Baltimore
- The Funder’s Network President and CEO Patricia L. Smith: The mind reels, the heart aches. But our values are not negotiable
- The Chronicle of Philanthropy: Philanthropy Reacts on Social Media to Mass Shootings in El Paso and Dayton
- Brooklyn Community Foundation President & CEO Cecilia Clarke: Brooklyn: Stand Together Against Racism
- Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees President Daranee Petsod: President’s Letter on mass Shootings and Raids