Edgar Villanueva’s book, “Decolonizing Wealth,” takes an innovative look at the purpose of wealth. His thesis is that the solutions to the damage and trauma caused by American capitalism, including philanthropy—can be gleaned from the values and wisdom of our nation’s original people. He’s a Native American working in philanthropy. (Originally aired 11/30/18)
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And welcome to Tony Martignetti nonprofit radio. Big nonprofit ideas for the other 95%. I’m your aptly named host and the pod father of your favorite abdominal podcast. Oh, I’m glad you’re with us. I’d be forced to endure the pain of hyper garsia if you tickled me with the idea that you missed this week’s show. Here’s our associate producer, Kate with what’s coming? Hey, Tony, this week it’s decolonizing wealth. Edgar Villanueva’s book, Decolonizing Wealth takes an innovative look at the purpose of wealth. His thesis is that the solutions to the damage and trauma caused by American capitalism including philanthropy can be gleaned from the values and wisdom of our nation’s original people. He’s a native American working in philanthropy. This originally aired November 30th 2018. On Tony’s take two, Tony tells a joke were sponsored by donor box, outdated donation forms blocking your supporters, generosity, donor box fast, flexible and friendly fundraising forms for your nonprofit donor. Box.org here is decolonizing wealth. It’s my great pleasure to welcome to the studio, Edgar Villanueva. He’s a nationally recognized expert on social justice philanthropy. He chairs the board of Native Americans in Philanthropy and is a board member of the Andris Family Fund, working to improve outcomes for vulnerable youth. He’s an instructor with the grant making school at Grand Valley State University and serves as vice president of programs and advocacy at the Shot Foundation for Public Education. He’s held leadership roles at Kate B, Reynolds Charitable Trust in North Carolina and Marguerite Casey Foundation in Seattle. Edgar is an enrolled member of the Lumby tribe of North Carolina. You’ll find him at Decolonizing wealth.com and at Villanueva Edgar Edgar. Welcome to the studio. Thank you, Tony. Pleasure to be here. Congratulations on the book. Thank you, which just came out uh Last month, it was October October 16th. Yes. All right. And uh you just had a very nice interview with the New York Times. Congratulations on that. They, that prep the preps, preps you for nonprofit radio. Right. Right. I’m ready. All your, all your media appearances to date have brought you to this moment. So the, the it’s all culminated here. Um and I promised listeners uh footnote one, footnote one to hyper gargle ashes. Uh Of course, anybody who listens to the show knows that uh I open with uh something funny like that. A disease. Every single show. Uh But in Edgar’s book, he uh mentions hyper gargle aesthesia. So this is the first time over 400 shows that the uh that the guest unknowingly has uh provided the opening disease state. So, thank you very much you didn’t know what we do that, every single show, um, that you didn’t know that you’re not listening to nonprofit radio. It’s, it’s your life all right. Um, ok. Decolonizing wealth. Uh, you’re, you’re, you’re, you’re a bit of a troublemaker a little bit. Yeah, you’re raising some eyebrows. Someone told me yesterday that I was the Colin Kaepernick of, uh, philanthropy. Which, um, I was like, I haven’t thought about it that way but that’s not all bad. Get a little closer to the mic so people can hear you. Yeah, just not almost intimate with it almost. Um I used to call myself the Charlie Rose of charities until he blew that gig for me. You know, he, he ruined that. Uh It, it’s, I can’t use that any longer. Um Could you talk about uh colonizer virus and exploitation and division? Um uh like, these are bad things? Yes, they are bad things. What uh what is the, what, what, what’s the colonizer virus? Why do we need to decolonize so many of us who uh work in philanthropy or even the nonprofit sector? Um you know, um have this firewall that we are completely disconnected from um Wall Street or from capitalism or, or some of those uh processes and systems in our country that um may have a negative connotation for the, the good doers. Um But in philanthropy, we are not very far uh uh you know, disconnected from uh corporate America. Most of this wealth was made by corporations and businesses. Um sometimes uh not in the best ways, not in the back of a lot of indigenous and uh colored people. Yeah, when you look at the history of the accumulation of wealth in this country, it’s steeped in trauma, right? And so uh legacy wealth that has been inherited for generations. Now, folks may not even know the origin of their family’s wealth. Uh but, you know, uh when we look back and we see in general how wealth was accumulated, um you know, especially I’m from the South North Carolina, we’ll talk about that. Um There absolutely was a legacy of slavery and stolen lands that, that help uh contribute to the mass of wealth. And you feel there are a lot of lessons we can learn from the values of uh Native Americans. Yeah. So, you know, we uh as a people talk about healing a lot, we have a lot of trauma that exists in our, our communities. Um You know, because colonization as we often think about it as something that happened five years ago in North Carolina and especially where I’m from, we were the first point of contact, but uh colon and the uh the acts of separation and exploitation are still continuing present day. And so in my community, uh native communities across the country, even as recent as uh my grandparents’ generation, kids were forcibly removed from their homes and put into boarding schools. And so we’re still, we’re experiencing a lot of uh trauma as a result of these practices. Um But we are, are, we are resilient people and um those who are closest to a lot of the problems that we are trying to solve today. Um As a society have um a lot of answers and wisdom that we can bring to the table. You say that the natives are the original philanthropists. Um Now you’re a member of the Lumby tribe of North Carolina. Uh Robinson County, North Carolina, which, which is not too far from where I own. I own a home in Pinehurst, which is a little north and west I think of, of Robison County. Lumb. So the Lumby tribe, I assume the lumber River is named for the Lumby and Lumberton, the town name for Lumby, right? So Lumby were actually named after the, the lumber River. Um After the first, yeah, the river came first and so the river came first. The name of the river came from. The river’s been there much longer than the one. Yeah. So we are um you know, a hodgepodge of historical tribes that were in coastal North Carolina um that came together to form the Lumby tribe and named ourselves after that river. Um And we’re gonna come back to uh Native Americans as the, as the original philanthropists. But uh I I that, that struck me a lot. I think you, you, you say you say that at the end of the, at the end of the book is where I, where I caught it. Um uh We just have like a minute and a half or so before a break. So just, you know, we’re introducing this, uh We got plenty of time together. Uh Wealth. Uh You say um divides us, controls us, exploits us. What’s that about? So the accumulation of wealth. So I money in itself is neutral, wealth in itself. Iii I say is, is neutral, but it’s the way that wealth has been accumulated in this country that has caused harm when we value um when we, you know, fear and we’re motivated by greed. Um The acts that can result as a, as a result of that to exploit the land and to people are or what that’s what has caused the harm in itself. So um the case that I’m gonna make in this book that I’m making in this book is that wealth and money can actually be used for the good. If it historically has been used as a negative thing that has caused trauma, we can flip that to use it for something that can actually help repair the harm that has been done. You’ve got uh seven succinct steps to that. Uh the second half of your book, it’s time for a break. Open up new cashless in person donation opportunities with donor box live kiosk. The smart way to accept cashless donations anywhere, anytime picture this a cash free on site giving solution that effortlessly collects donations from credit cards, debit cards and digital wallets. No team member required. Plus your donation data is automatically synced with your donor box account. No manual data entry or errors, make giving a breeze and focus on what matters your cause. Try donor box live kiosk and revolutionize the way you collect donations in 2024. Visit Donor box.org to learn more. Now, back to decolonizing wealth, Ngani Behi. Uh That is your Indian name. Did I by any chance say that correctly? I, I think that’s correct. Um I’m, I’m a little shabbu with my ojibwe these days. You don’t know your ojibwe, but that is your Indian name. Uh uh leading bird, tell the story of how you got that name. We, we’ll come back to, don’t, we’ll come back to the exploitation and control, don’t we? That this is a good story. How you got that name? So um my tribe and the Lumby tribe in North Carolina doesn’t have a tradition of naming um you are whatever your mom calls you, that’s your name. Right. Right. So, um but uh when I, when I was working in North Carolina in native communities, I went to a conference where there was a medicine man and someone uh the medicine man was meeting with folks who wanted time with, with him to, to talk or have a session and growing up in North Carolina. My identity as a native has always been quite complicated. Uh We didn’t have these types of practices in my home in Raleigh, North Carolina. And so, but I was very curious to meet with this medicine man and to um see what could happen from that encounter. And someone told me if you’re, if you’re really lucky when you meet with a medicine man, they might give you a spiritual name or a native name. Um And so I met with this guy in, in the Marriott Hotel in Denver, Colorado where this, this native health conference. So it was all uh I tell the story in the book is quite um um hilarious in, in many ways. But at the, at the end of our session where I was feeling um excited about, you know, the conversation we had, but also a little confused and skeptical in some ways because I’ve, you know, had such a colonized ways of thinking. Um He did offer me a native name, Ngani Beche, which means leading bird. Um So I was very honored and my first thought was, what kind of bird? Right? Am I a little tweety bird or am I a mighty eagle? Pelican birds are best? So, um he explained to me that I was the type of bird that flies in a v formation. Um And uh as I, when I left, I, I studied uh these birds and, and they’re the leading I’m the leading bird. I’m the bird that flies in the front of the V formation, which is the kind of leader that is often visible, but really understands its uh coded dependence and interdependence on the other birds. And so if you watch birds flying in a V formation, it’s really like a, an amazing natural, natural phenomenon. Uh how uh how they, they, they communicate and fly together. Uh The other thing that’s remarkable about the leading birds type of leadership is that it often will fly to the back of the pack and push another bird forward. So it’s not always the one that’s out front. And, um, when I, when I learned these characteristics, um I, I just felt really, um uh I was really, really happy and content about this name because I do see that’s the type of leadership that I model in my everyday life. And I think it’s the type of leadership that’s really important for the nonprofit sector. You explain how the birds communicate, which I’ve always wondered, um, they’re, they’re just close enough that they can feel like vibrations off each other and, or a micro movements, I think you say off each other, but they’re not so close that they’re gonna bump into each other and, and, you know, be injured, but that’s how they, and they, I guess they’re feeling the breeze off each other and sensing these micro movements of each other. So they’re that close. But not so close that they’re gonna be injured. Yeah, it’s very, it’s very fascinating. It’s like a scientific, uh, you know, a GPS built into their bodies. And the other thing I recently heard about these birds, um, is that, uh, you don’t ever find one that, uh, dies alone. And so, you know, I, I wanna learn and research that a little bit more but I think when they’re, when someone is down or, you know, um there’s an injury or whatever may happen. Uh They, there’s, there’s a certain way that they take care of each other. And so, um you know, it just kind of speaks to our common humanity and our inter related, you know, being interrelated exactly our interdependence. Now, this is a, this is uh an indigenous uh belief that we are all related and that’s what it makes me think of the birds also working so closely together that they feel micro movements. But how, how explain this, this belief that we are each of one of us related to the, to all the other. Yeah. So there, there is a, a native belief, um all my relations that means um you, all of our suffering is mutual, all of our thriving is mutual. And uh you know, we are um we are interdependent and so it’s a very different mindset or worldview um from sort of the um American individualistic type of uh of mindset. Um We also have connected to that viewpoint is, um, this idea of seven generations. So not only are we all related, you know, in this room right now and that we’re relatives, um, and we are related to the land and to the animals around us, but all of the things, all of the decisions and, um, that we are making today are gonna impact future generations. So there’s an idea that I am someone’s ancestor. And so what a responsibility to move through the world in a way that is thinking that far forward about our um our young people. And so these are concepts that um were taught to me by my family. But I also uh in recent years, this book gave me the opportunity to revisit and spend time with indigenous elders to remember these teachings and that and to think about um how to apply them in my work and you encourage us to each that, that each one of us takes responsibility for, as you said, we, we’re thriving and suffering together. Um What I’m referring to is the, each of us takes responsibility for the colonizer virus, say, say more about that. Yeah. So, you know, I think we all responsible, we’re, we’re all responsible because we’re all affected. Um I think some folks um when we, when you know, when we learn about colonization in schools is something that seems pretty normal, right? We um we think of colonization and the colonizers as heroes. It’s like the natural path of progress, the way it’s learned, right? We have holidays, you know, for, for Christopher Columbus, for example. And so, uh but the realities are that colonization um was something that was terrible that resulted in uh genocide and all types of exploitation. And uh that type of history that we have in this country is something that we um as, as the people have not come to terms with. We actually, we don’t tell the truth, we don’t face the truth. And so I think we’re still dealing with the consequences. Um And so the dynamics of colonization which are uh to divide, to control, to exploit, to separate those dynamics. Um You know, II, I refer to them as uh the colonizing virus because they, they are still in our bodies as, as a nation, they show up in our policies, our systems reflect the colonizer virus and in our institutions in the nonprofit sector and especially in philanthropy where we are um sitting on uh lots of money, privilege and power uh the least naturally to your point about us, them organizations. So, you know, I think the philanthropy uh for example, can perpetuate um you know, the dynamics of colonization because when you look at um uh where this, where this money came from and how we as a sector don’t face the realities of that truth. Uh When you look at um ask the question of why this money was held back from public coffers um that, you know, had it gone into the tax system, it would be supporting the safety net in vulnerable communities. Um And when you look at who gets to allocate, manage and spend it, you see a very um white dominant kind of mindset happening because, um for example, if we get into the numbers just a little bit, um foundations sit on $800 billion of assets. That’s a lot of money that has been uh you know, sheltered from taxation, that’s money that would have gone into public education, uh health care, elder care, um things that we need for the infrastructure of our communities. Um But that money has been put there with little to no accountability. Um Private foundations are only required by the IRS to uh uh pay out 5% of their assets. And so then, you know, you’re looking at just a small percentage of, of money that was intended to be for the public good. Only a small percentage is actually leaving the doors being invested in communities. Let’s assume it’s, it. Uh I know there are a lot of uh foundations that use that 5% minimum as their maximum. So that’s so 5% of that would be $40 billion. Uh So the counter is, but there’s $40 billion coming each year could be more, but let’s take the minimum just to be conservative. And, you know, we’re trying to preserve this uh this foundation capital for perpetuity. So if, you know, if we, if we spent in the next two years, the 800 billion, then we wouldn’t have anything left for future, just future years and other generations, we’re trying to, you know, we, we wanna be around for in perpetuity. Uh The foundations would say. Right. Right. And, you know, I think, I think there is a case to be made for saving some funds for a rainy day in the future. Uh But the, the truth is that 5% when Congress had acted that 5% rule, um it actually began at 6%. I, I believe in 1974 and then in 1976 was lower to 5%. The reason that Congress had to actually put this legislation forward is because foundations were not paying out any money. And so when you think about the intent of foundations, are they being started to actually benefit the public? Are, are wealthy, the wealthy 1% or whoever corporations starting these foundations just for the, the sake of having a tax break. And so that, that uh IRS minimum payout of 5% that rule was put in place to force um foundations to actually begin making grants. And so, you know, so it is sort of uh the other thing to explore if you are with a 95% that is not leaving the doors. Um if the intention is really to do good in community. We have to look at how that 95% is then being invested to generate more money for future grant making. And the truth there is that the majority of those funds are tied up in harmful and extracted, extractive indus industries um that are counterintuitive to the mission of foundations. You make the point often uh that often, right, those investments are in uh are in industries that are hurting the very populations that the foundation is explicitly trying to help through its, through its mission. And, and in fact, funding um the um there was something else that I was going to ask about the uh the way the money is. Um All right. Well, we’ll come back to it if I think of it. Um There’s, there’s a lot that organizations can gain by hiring people of color, indigenous people. What, uh and, and very few uh you’re, you’re a rare exception um working in, in found doing foundation work. Uh What, what’s the, what make explicit th those uh those advantages? Sure. So, um you’re right. I’m absolutely um an exception. I think when I started in philanthropy, I was one of 10 native Americans that I could find. We kind of found each other. And what year was that? Uh this was in 2005 and we are now, uh there’s about 25 of us now. Um The last time I counted. Um So, yeah, there’s, there’s, you know, an an amazing opportunity for foundations. And I think more and more foundations are understanding, to bring uh folks in uh to, to foundations that have lived experience and not only foundations but, but nonprofits, the NGO S doing the ground work, the foundations are the funders. Uh and, and of course, some foundations are now actually doing their own ground work. We’re seeing that emerging but, but for the nonprofits doing the day to day work as well uh represent the communities that you’re absolutely, it kind of makes sense, right? And uh you know, it’s funny because some foundations actually require that of nonprofits. They ask about the diversity of their staff and their board, but they themselves have no type of uh you know, values around diversity of their staff. But you’re, you know, the, the point is that uh for sure that any nonprofit or foundation to, to have folks uh that, that work there who have authentic accountability to community and understand and have been impacted by the issues that you’re trying to solve is gonna bring an awareness and um you know, about the problem in, in a different way, it’s gonna create some proximity that I think is gonna just inform strategies that, that make sense. And I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been in uh strategic planning processes and board meetings where decisions were being made. And uh I always carry my mother, my family with me, you know, and spirit into the room and uh I hear these decisions or these conversations and I’m thinking like, oh my God, like, you know, this, you know, this, this would not in any way help my mother or my family that’s still living in poverty. Decision makers are disconnected. There’s such a disconnect. And uh I, I thought of what I was gonna ask you about or just comment on the, the foundation wise. We do see some foundation saying that they’re gonna spend down their assets. Uh I, I wouldn’t say it’s uh needle moving but you do hear that from time to time that there’s a foundation that’s committed now to spending it. It’s, it’s assets down, you know. Um Was Paul Allen, was it uh now the not Paul Allen? Uh the Microsoft uh I think the Microsoft founder, co founder who recently died. I think his foundation was Paul Allen. OK. OK. Um I was thinking of Steve Allen the com the old comic. OK. That’s why I thought, no, it wasn’t him but it was Paul Allen. I think his foundation is one but there are some, so we do hear some glimmers. Uh But you say in the book a few times uh people we need to move the needle. Yeah, I think, I mean, I think deciding to spin down is uh is a very progressive way of thinking about it. There’s so much need now um if we actually release the funds or even if you don’t want to spin down, you can make a decision to pay out more. Um There, there’s a lot of amazing work happening. Um Right now that is so under resource that if we could um support and get behind investing money in these various movements and these uh in, in communities of color, which are so um marginalized by philanthropy, you know, uh uh the 5% that is being invested, only 7 to 8% of those dollars are being invested in communities of color. That would make a big difference. And so I think, um you know, I think it’s a conversation that the boards of foundations should think about what is the value of, you know, why, why do we want to stay in perpetuity? Like what is, is that about a family legacy? Is that really about making a difference in the world? Um Because in some ways, it feels uh I can see that as being a very selfish type of uh you know, uh uh way of thinking uh if this was CNN uh right now, I would, I would play a video of you but I don’t, I don’t have that. Uh But in your, in your times, uh we have to work on that at Talking Alternative. We need, we need video capture and screens and everything uh in your video in, in your interview with uh David Bornstein New York Times, uh you said by not investing more in communities of color philanthropy, venture capital, impact investing in finance are missing out on rich opportunities to learn about solutions. Yeah. You know, I think that I think of, you know, people of color indigenous folks as being the Canaries in the coal mine sometimes when, when uh policies fail or systems fail, um we hurt the hardest and uh but there’s just something so magical about and, and sense of pride that I have about my community because we are so resilient, like, regardless of um you know, um all of the trauma, the colonization, the um you know, genocide, stolen land, we still remain intact as a people. Um And so there’s, there’s gotta be something magical about that resilience that I would, if I weren’t native, I would be interested to know like, what when you think about sustainability, you know, we have a corner on sustainability. Um Indigenous peoples around the world are on the front lines of saving this planet on, you know, um you know, really fighting for environmental protections. Um There, there’s so much wisdom and, you know, often when foundations roll out new theories of change or changes RC strategies or there’s a new model or theory, theory of change that comes up. And I’m like, wow, we’ve been doing that in our communities for years. If someone would have asked us, you know, maybe we would, we can get there faster. Is there still a lumby community in Robeson Robinson County. Yes, there are, there are about 60,000 enrolled members in the Lumby tribe. The bulk of our community is, uh, still in Robinson County now, I have a North Carolina driver’s license. Will that, will that get me in? Can I be in? You know, we, we’re very inclusive. We, uh, we, we will take, we’ll adopt you as an honorary brother, but, uh, you have to have a little bit more documentation to, to get officially enrolled. It’s a stretch for an Italian American with just a North Carolina license plate and, uh, and driver’s license. All right. Um, you, uh, you talk about, um, you know, I guess, I mean, we’re, we’re, we’re skirting around these things to make it explicit that the, the power imbalance, you know, that um minorities are seeking it and uh mostly middle aged white guys are, are doling it out. Uh, you know, piece meal. Um, the, the, the, the imbalance, you know, the, the, the grant, even the, even the word, you know, the, the granting. Uh, it’s like some, uh, I don’t know, it’s like some Holy order has, uh, has bestowed upon you something that’s, uh a gift when, uh, your, your belief is that, uh, and your thesis in the book is that it’s, it’s, it’s a, it’s a right, equally held by all. Yeah. You know, I think power and money, a lot of, a lot of this does come down to power and ownership. Um We are talking in the nonprofit sec sector right now, a lot about equity, right? And um equity is very different from uh diversity and inclusion. Um To me, equity really is all about uh shifting power and we often think about that from um uh lens of equality. So we’re gonna have the same power, which is a good thing. But to really achieve equity, it’s gonna actually require that some folks who have had power for a long amount of time, give up more power or take a back seat. That’s not gonna happen. You know, that that’s highly unlikely, like infinitesimally small, unlikely, you know, it’s, it’s a hard thing for people to uh to think about and especially if you have, if you’ve been privileged for so long, um equity might actually feel like oppression for you, right? Because it’s like, you know, wow, II I have less than I’ve had. So um but you know, we, I I wanna think about this through an abundance mind frame. There’s enough, there’s enough resources and enough power to go around. Um We just have to uh work together to make sure that we are privileging those who have not been privileged by that power. I love that you, you approach it from a position of abundance and not and not scarcity. It’s time for Tony’s take two. Thank you, Kate. I saw on Twitter or XX. Of course, that the average attention span is nine seconds and I thought that’s enough time for my mother to create guilt. I’m coming over for dinner. Can’t you stay for the night? I’m coming to stay for the night. Can’t you stay the weekend? I’m coming to stay for the weekend. Take me on a cruise. I’m taking you on a cruise. Can’t you move back home? I’m moving back home. Let’s get cemetery plots. That is Tony’s take two Kate. That sounds so much like nana like it was, it was, I didn’t know how to like react. That was so like nana just keeps pushing and pushing. Oh I miss her so much. Lots of people experience uh mother induced guilt. So I wanted a little tribute there. Yes, we’ve got Buku but loads more time. Let’s go back to decolonizing wealth with Edgar Villanueva. Welcome back. You didn’t go far. Thanks for having me. Glad to be here. No, you haven’t done anything that would lead me to shut your mic off. Um It hasn’t happened. I’ve threatened but uh it hasn’t happened. So let’s let’s start getting uh positive, you know, the, the second uh roughly the second half of your book is uh seven steps to healing. Um And uh I thought you came up like five short. I mean, we have another 12 steps. I mean, if you wanna, if you wanna share power, you’re gonna have to have, you gotta have to step it up with like 12 steps or, or even 15, you know, you have more than the colonizers. Uh, but, but the seven steps are in themselves, they’re, uh, they’re pretty radical. Yeah. You know, um, it, it’s funny because I, I did have some resistance to, um, having seven steps. Right, because it, it, it makes, it seem like there’s a, there’s a, a quick and easy fix. If I just do these seven things, then we’re done with this and we can move on a prime number so that I don’t know. So, you know, but I did need to simplify the process in some ways just to help us get our minds around, uh you know, a process that we can begin, but there is no uh linear way uh or a quick way to uh to solve all of these problems or to, to undo what has been done. But uh there are ways to, to, to move forward and uh the steps to healing for me were, are, are list them out for us, just list all seven and then we’ll, we’ll talk about them. Sure. So they grieve, apologize. Listen, relate, represent, invest and repair. Um So you’ve been thinking about this for a while. I mean, this uh iiii I just did, I admire the, I, I admire the thinking that goes into this. Yeah. So some of it comes from my, my own personal experience um when and, and kind of come to terms and, and with uh the sector that I’m working in and the disconnection that I felt as a native person in the space and spending time in my community to uh just re ground myself and my values. And um and kind of acknowledging the, the wisdom that was uh in my body and in my community that I could bring to the space. Um the other parts of it come from, I did lots of interviews with folks who work in nonprofits and in philanthropy who were uh I think a very forward thinking people in this space activists who are leading movements around the country to get to a place of, you know, what, what did, what have you gone through personally to kind of reconcile some of this. Um And then, you know, a lot of this is also based on an indigenous uh restorative justice model. So we hear a lot about restorative justice um in the nonprofit sector. Now, this is a, a method that’s used in schools and um in the criminal justice system to um help uh people deal with uh with, with things that have gone wrong to kind of get back on the right track. And so this is a model that has come from indigenous communities where we sit in circle with, with the offender with someone who has harmed us or done us wrong to get to a place of truth and reconciliation. Uh So uh grieving, uh you say e everybody, I mean, because of our inter relatedness where we all need to grieve, including uh the people of color, indigenous, you know, those who have been oppressed. Absolutely. We all need to grieve. Um We need to get to a place where we’re just very clear and honest about the history of this country. What has happened, what the idea of, um you know, white supremacy, which is not a real thing, right? But what the idea of subscribing to that the the the harm and the loss that has calls for people of color, but also white people. And uh you know, I think that’s uh we we it’s pretty clear the trauma and the harm that has been caused in communities of color. It’s not so clear. We don’t talk about it very much the the loss that uh that colonization and uh the idea of white supremacy has actually caused in white communities. But it’s uh it, it is, there is a loss there. I talk about it in the book um of uh the idea that white people came from, from communities where they had uh cultures and uh tribal ways of interacting in many cases, um languages and things that were given up in order to assimilate to this idea of being American. And I think now we’re seeing um folks feeling a sense of loss about that. That’s why if you see these commercials for these DNA tests are so popular right now because everyone wants to kind of remember where they’re from and they feel connected to that in some way. Um And um the uh the, the thing you talk about too is uh the orphans, orphans. You say that uh those of us who are descendants of, of the, of the settlers, you, you call us orphans. How’s that? I, I call them orphans. Uh This is a term my bar from some research that has been done uh on uh whiteness and it is, it’s kind of speaking to this idea of loss. Um again, sort of giving up uh the, the culture um that maybe from, from, from the home country, from where, where folks settlers came from, giving up those, those ways of being interactive and community to subscribe to um this individualistic way of being in America. And so with that, um there’s been a loss of sort of that, that mother country um for lots of white folks and a loss of identity. Uh because although, you know, I’m, I’m not anti-american, let me be very clear about that. This is the greatest country in the world I’m very proud to, to be a citizen of this country. Um But there is something about um leaving behind and not remembering where you originated from in order to adopt sort of this new culture here. Um You know, and, and, and, and not um that, that makes you feel sort of like an orphan. If you’re not, you, you, you have no connection to where your grandparents are from or the language they spoke or the culture that they have. Um And I feel that that’s a loss for many white communities. That is actually a feeling that is shared with communities of color. Um And if we recognize that loss and that trauma that we have in common, uh it opens doors for a different type of conversation about race. You, you said a few minutes ago that white supremacy is, is not a real, not real. Why? Why do you say that? Well, I mean, there’s a white supremacist movement. Uh But how are you thinking about it that you say it’s not real? Um Well, well, the idea that, that, uh you know, a certain group of people, white people are superior because of the pigment of their skin is not a real thing, right? So this was an, an ideology that was created um in order to um be able to uh have the types of oppressive uh movements and systems and policies that have been put in place for many years. And so it is a, a mindset that has been, uh you know, an idea that is not real, but we have built systems and um societal norms around that, you know, growing up, I was taught that, um you know, or sort of the default for me was whiteness was, was better. And so if I were to behave or dress or act um in a certain way that appeared to be more white, then that was gonna be a better thing for me. And so we know that the idea of white supremacy is, is, you know, the idea of it is not real, but there are very real implications and uh for how we have adopted that, that uh belief. Um And you’re, you also encourage uh nonprofits and teams to have a grieving space while we’re talking about, we’re talking about grief. Uh We just have about a minute before break, but, and then we’ll move on with the seven steps. But what, what’s a grieving space in an, in an office? Yeah. So, you know, these, these steps are, are, are personal but it can be applied in an organizational setting. And so I think especially those of us working in the nonprofit where we’re supporting communities, we need to have um a space spaces in our, in our, our work life to be able to uh talk about bad things that have happened and to grieve that and to feel emotion, to be human about it. And so, um you know, I share some research in the book and, and some anecdotes of um folks who have have done that and the research shows that there um it’s actually um leads to a much more productive workplace to have moments where we, we stop the work to actually grieve and acknowledge the events that are happening, you know, in our communities. The, the, the book is uh decolonizing wealth, just, just, just get the book, you know, because we can only scratch the surface of it here in, in an hour. But uh decolonizing wealth.com, that’s where you go. I like the idea of the grieving space, you know, uh uh to acknowledge, you know, everything doesn’t go well all the time. It’s impossible. No organization succeeds 100%. Uh Nothing. So give yourselves time and space to talk about it, acknowledge it, learn from it and, and move on rather than it being some cloud over the organization that everybody’s afraid to talk about or something. You know, it’s how, how, how oppressive is that very oppressive and in philanthropy is especially because we uh we’re sort of carrying around these, the, these secrets of like how this wealth was amassed or secrets that are within these families that um you know, many people feel bad about. And so we just need to kind of, you know, be, be truthful and honest about the history and spend time grieving over that so that we can move forward, as you said, and, and that moves our next step in terms of uh uh your next step. Uh apologizing, recognizing which includes recognizing the source of the foundation money. I mean, you worked for the Reynolds Kate B is it Kate Kate B. Reynolds Foundation? I mean, Reynolds Tobacco, North Carolina, you know, that money was raised on the backs of slaves. Um I’m not gonna ask you if the Kate B Reynolds Foundation acknowledges that. But that’s an example of what we’re talking about in the, in the step apologizing. Absolutely no, there was, there was no acknowledgment of that. And uh chapter one of, of the book is called My Arrival On the Plantation because our foundation offices were literally on the uh former estate or plantation of RJ Reynolds. And so um really literally and metaphorically, I was, I was working there, but no, there was there, there’s no acknowledgement of that. And I think you see that, you know, in, in North Carolina uh recently, the Chancellor of the University of North Carolina acknowledged that uh the history of slaves and in building that university and that some of the buildings there are named after a former slave owners. What most people of color want um is just to be seen and heard and, and for folks to make that recognition acknowledge and, and maybe move to apology per perhaps that didn’t Johns Hopkins University do do something similar that, that they had their founders were uh was it Johns Hopkins? Their founders were slave owners? I think Georgetown University, Georgetown. Sorry. Thank you. OK. Uh Georgetown, they were priest, right? They were priests, uh priest founders that were slave owners. That’s right. I actually know um AAA friend of mine who lives in New Orleans is a, a black woman who is a descendant um and was called to Georgetown uh to share about her family’s history. And it was a beautiful moment. They said in community together, talking about the history, talk, acknowledging the contributions of her ancestors. And uh there’s a big write up in, in the paper. And uh you know, this has been very uh healing, I think for the university, but also for my friend Karen, um who is now having that uh you know, that recognition that her, the contributions of her ancestors, you, you, you talk a good bit about the reconciliation process uh in South Africa. Um Canada uh just you gotta get the book. I mean, we can’t, we can’t tell all these stories. I mean, I know listeners, I know, I know you love stories as much as I do, but there’s just not enough time to just get the damn book. Just go to decolonizing wealth.com for peace sake. You go right now. If you’re listening live, where are you Poughkeepsie Schenectady? Uh Nottingham Maryland just, just go to decolonizing wealth.com. Um OK, listening, you talk about uh em, em, empathic and generative listening, right? So, you know, often um when we, when we move through a process like this, we feel bad, we’ve apologized. Um The default sort of like dominant culture way of being is like, OK, I’m done with that. I’m gonna move forward. And so, but before you move forward and act, you just need to pause to actually listen, um, to listen and learn so to, to, to uh uh for, for nonprofits. Uh, you know, I ran a nonprofit. I’ve worked in philanthropy for 14 years when I asked nonprofits, what is the number one thing that you wish funders would do differently? The response is always, I just wish they would listen. Uh because there’s something about having resources, money, privilege and power. When we enter the room, there’s a power dynamic where we um automatically feel that we can uh control the airspace and we have an agenda and uh the nonprofits are gonna be responsive to what we want. And you know, that often is the case. But uh the, the best way to really build a relationship with folks where there is a difference in, in power and privileges is to actually stop and listen. Put aside your own assumptions and, and try as best you can to put yourself uh in, in their shoes to understand their experience and their history. So it’s just gonna make you a better person. Um I feel like listening is a human, right? We all want to be, we all deserve to be heard. And so that is um just something that we have to keep reminding folks who have privilege is to um to, to stop at times to, to also listen and to let others be heard. Put aside the White Savior Complex. Yeah. Uh Listening, we talk about, we talked about uh about that a lot on the show in terms of just donors and, and I know your next, your next step is, is relating versus being transactional. And that’s, that’s, that’s the beginning of a relationship, as you said, you know, listening, genuine hearing uh to w whether it’s donors or potential potential grantees. Um There, there’s a lot to be learned. So it goes back to the, the value of bringing uh representing the, the, the communities that you’re, that you’re serving. Um OK. So relation, you want us to, uh you want us to relate. Let me ask you, uh, you, you, you read, um how to win friends and influence people. You say dozens of times, you say dozens, I have trouble reading a dozen pages in a book. You’ve read one book dozens of times. Uh What, what, what, what do you take away time after reading, uh Dale Carnegie’s book dozens of times? Well, you know, I still have an original copy from that. I, um, I stole from the library of, uh my mom was a domestic worker and she was caring for a frail elderly man. Um, they had this vast library. So I ended up with this little book that you stole from an infirm. I know, I feel terrible about a book. It haunts me to this day. So this is a public, I didn’t even think to leave like 20 bucks or something on the table. I didn’t have it if I had it at the time. Um So hopefully this is my way of giving back. This is, this is my reparations for, for that, that wrong. But you know, and the one take away for me in that book uh is uh is really kind of connected to relating and listening. Um is when you’re, when you’re talking to folks, people just really want to be heard. So mostly you should listen. Um And if you actually just listen more than talk, people are gonna think that you’re a great friend like, wow, Edgar, that was that I had such a nice time with you. Um But even if I didn’t say one wrong, right? And so, yeah, it’s really about listening and, and letting others feel that they are important because they are um you know, we, I think people just feel so invisible these days that um just by giving people that moment of, of feeling heard and connecting with something that they are interested in. Um It’s just gonna really take you much further in building a relationship and, and stop the, the transactional, the, the transactional thinking. Um You have, you, you have an example of uh uh a uh oh and, and like building design, like office design, kitchens, you’d love to see a kitchen in the center of, of offices. Yeah. You know, so sort of like these ideas of like the colonizing virus, it infects every aspect of our community. So yes, even the way buildings are designed, um, especially buildings that are uh financial institutions, think about what banks look like when you walk in and with the, with all the marble and, you know, hard edges. Absolutely foundation offices where you have to go through five levels of security to get in as if we’re as if the millions of dollars were in the office. Right. And so we just, uh, through even how we design our offices and um you know, the way that they appear can be super intimidating for folks who are coming in who need access to resources just in, in terms of designing organizations more egalitarian, you’d like to see. Absolutely. So, uh one of the steps in the book is represent, and when you look at the uh the demographics of the nonprofit sector and um especially in, in foundations that part of the sector, uh we still have a long ways to go with diversity uh particularly when you look at the board of directors and the CEO positions, folks who really hold power in organizations. So what are the, what are the ideas that I put forth in the book is that foundations should have a requirement that at least 51% or at least 50% of their board should reflect the communities they serve. Uh This would drastically change what uh you know, shake up what the seats on the bus look like, but this isn’t this uh far from what is required of, of many nonprofits. Funders actually are, you know, requiring this, of their nonprofits that they’re funding. Um, and many go, um, organizations that receive, gover government funding, federal funding have these types of requirements that the folks who sit on the boards must be, um, folks who are benefiting from the services of those nonprofits. Representative. Absolutely. That’s a, that’s a stretch. 51 percent. It’s a stretch, it’s a stretch. But, you know, um, the, the conversation has uh, has been uh zero about it. So I figure, you know, if we put something, a bold vision out there to help us imagine what’s possible, maybe we’ll get a little bit further down the road and there are some examples. Uh you cite the Novo Foundation in the book, uh they have a women’s building that they’re, that they’re repurposing some old warehouse or something to turn into women’s building and, and the, the decisions are being made by, by women who are gonna be using the building. Absolutely. There’s some great examples of, of foundations and, and funds that are, um really, um putting these values into practice in their work. Uh Novo is, is a foundation that I really appreciate. Jennifer and Peter Buffett, the founders of, of the, the Novo Foundation wrote the forward to my. And uh they, um are folks that you, if you get to know them, you can see that they have done this work. Um and it shows up in how they give, they are a foundation that absolutely sits in community and listens um to folks who are impacted by, especially women and girls, which is an issue they, they really care about and they fund in a way that is responses to what they really need versus what the foundation’s agenda might be. Is it novo that funds for five years or seven years? Is it guaranteed? You, you cite this in the book, no matter how much trouble you’re having in year 123, you’re going to be funded for five or seven years for their initial commitment. Right. Right. And, and that type of long term commitment is uh you know, something that, that is the best type of funding, you know, um folks can be, you can focus on building a relationship versus, oh, I’ve got to meet these certain objectives so I can keep getting this money year after year. And so to be relieved of that, that pressure of thinking about where am I gonna, you know, how am I gonna pay these salaries next year? Um Really allows folks to have the freedom to think about the actual work that they’re doing in communities and, and planning and, and can plan instead of it being one, only one or two years. Um And so we kind of mishmash together, you know, relating and representing um investing. So investing is really a call to philanthropy to think about using all of its resources for um for, for the public good, right? And so uh we are not uh going to be a, a AAA sector that achieves equity that, that is really moving the needle on issues if we’re supporting uh with the 5% in our right hand, really good work, uh you know, mission related work. But in our left hand, we are investing 95% of our resources in um industries and causes that are extractive that are, you know, really canceling out the positive of, of our resources. So, you know, there are great foundations like the Nathan Cummings Foundation, for example, who just recently declared that 100% of their assets, their entire corpus is going to be used um in support of their mission. And again, other examples in in the book. And uh we just have about a minute or so before we have to wrap up actually. Um so talk about your final step, which is the final step is repair. Um All of us who are philanthropists are givers and as we’re getting close to the end of this year, uh we are all philanthropists um supporting um nonprofits in our communities. Think about how we can use money as medicine, how can we give in a way that is helping to repair the harm that has been done um by colonization in, in, in this country. And so think about looking at your personal portfolio are you giving to at least one organization of color um to support grassroots leadership. So reach across um and support folks who may not look like you invest in ways that are helping to unite us uh versus thinking about some of the traditional ways of giving that have not been uh you know, along this lines of thinking or exercising these types of values. OK. So I’ll give you the last 30 seconds uh uh uh in the way that uh the, the way I learned that uh natives are the original philanthropists was by what you, what you talk about your mom. Yes. So, you know, I think a lot of giving, when we look at giving in this country, the biggest philanthropist philanthropist are folks who are giving the most uh highest percentage of their incomes, incomes are actually poor people. And so I do talk about my mom in the book um who um was uh you know, is actually um very low income and, but yet she gave um to our community and, and had it ran a ministry out of our church to support Children ministry. You just gotta, you gotta get the book, you gotta read the ministry. And so it’s like giving of time, treasure and talent, not just resources. And so all of us who are caring for our communities in ways that are um you know, through love is uh we’re all philanthropists, get the book, go to decolonizing wealth.com, Edgar Villanueva. Thank you so much. Thank you for having me on Tony. Real pleasure. Next week, zombie loyalists with Peter Shankman from the archive. If you missed any part of this weeks show, I beseech you find it at Tony Martignetti dot com were sponsored by donor box. Outdated donation forms blocking your supporters, generosity, donor box, fast, flexible and friendly fundraising forms for your nonprofit donor. Box.org. Our creative producer is Claire Meyerhoff. I’m your associate producer, Kate Martignetti. The show, social media is by Susan Chavez. Mark Silverman is our web guide and this music is by Scott Stein. Thank you for that affirmation. Scotty be with us next week for nonprofit radio. Big nonprofit ideas for the other 95% go out and be great.