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4 Min Read

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.

 

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