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Giving 3.0: Embracing the New Diversity in 21st Century Philanthropy – Sponsored by The Alford Group

Resource Center - Foundation

Dr. Jackie Copeland-CarsonOver the past 30 years, the charitable sector finally has recognized that all communities have some form of philanthropy. But the inclusion of diverse donors into most organizations remains elusive, and new social identities are challenging conventional notions of diversity defined in broad ethnic or racial terms.

Dr. Jackie Copeland-Carson (right) is the COO of Catholic Charities of Santa Clary County and chair of the Pan-African Women’s Philanthropy Network. As this year’s Diversity Speaker at the AFP International Fundraising Conference, she will be discussing these issues and more during her presentation.

AFP sat down with Copeland-Carson and talked about how much progress the sector has made in the areas of diversity and inclusion and how charities can reach out to different philanthropic systems and cultures.

Q: What do you hope participants get out of your session? What should they walk away with?

A: The global economy is in our backyards, bringing with it new ethnicities and cultural traditions that add to the vibrancy of American communities.  General conventional categories of "black," "Latino," or "millennial" do not fully capture the cultural complexities of our time.  Participants in this session will learn a framework to better understand the philanthropic preferences and trends of this new diversity, including strategies to access the giving of new ethnic giving markets.

Q: From the session description, you seem to indicate that the philanthropic sector has recognized that diversity and inclusion are critical, but that we haven’t reached the goal of actual inclusion. Is that an accurate assessment? How do you think the sector has progressed?

There is a Paradox of Philanthropic Diversity and Inclusion.  Increasing diversity has not necessarily translated into more inclusion of diverse organizations as grantees.  There have been remarkable strides, particularly in the representation of women in foundation executive and board positions.  But the percentage of funding to women's and girls’ organizations has not demonstrably increased.   There has been a notable increase in the number of African-Americans and Latinos working in the field's program position.  But, again, we have not seen a notable increase in funding black and Latino nonprofit organizations.  And with decades of discussion and training in accessing ethnically diverse donors, according to the Global American Giving Study, mainstream nonprofit organizations still report significant challenges in attracting ethnically diverse donor populations.

Clearly diversity and inclusion are complex.  During the session, we will revisit the underlying theory of change for diversity and inclusion, exploring implicit assumptions that diverse leadership can or should translate into a more diverse donor or grantee pool.

Q: You say the philanthropic field has recognized that all communities have some sort of philanthropy. Are we doing enough to reach out to these different philanthropic systems? 

A: One of the key barriers is that 21st American philanthropy does not have a full appreciation of the rich diversity within diversity influencing giving today. During the session, I will present key 21st Century Giving Structures that provide a useful framework to understand, identify and cultivate the New Diversity of 21st Century Giving.

Q: What sort of “new social identities” are you seeing that are creating new challenges as we seek to address diversity and inclusion? 

A: There are many new identities, but for the session, I will focus primarily on diaspora giving--philanthropy by individuals who maintain ties and allegiances to communities across the world.  These "translocal" donors are an untapped resource for American philanthropy.

Q: You work with both the for-profit/corporate sector and the philanthropic sector. What can the philanthropic field learn from our for-profit partners, and vice versa? 

A: Philanthropic organizations can benefit from seeing diasporas and other new identities as new markets and apply some of the same communications strategies such a market segmentation to make themselves attractive and accessible.  For-profits can benefit from nonprofits' focus on social benefit and community impact.  Socially responsibility can be an advantage in a competitive market, creating strong brand affiliation and a more loyal customer base. 

Q: You founded and are chair of the Pan-African Women's Philanthropy Network (PAWPNet). How has that informed your work and perspective on diversity and inclusion in philanthropy?

A: I founded PAWPNet because African diaspora women, whether living in Alabama or Zimbabwe, tend to face some the same challenges—for example, disproportionally high levels of infant and maternal health, racism, community violence and other issues.  I wanted to see if a peer support network would help us develop as leaders and have more impact together than apart. 

Today PAWPNet has representation from more than 30 countries and has created Black Philanthropy Month—twice recognized by the UN—as well as groundbreaking diaspora health initiatives. We have demonstrated that organizing diverse people across the globe, using the power of the internet and social media, can elevate learning, mutual support, leadership and social impact.

Copeland-Caron’s conference session, Giving 3.0: Embracing the New Diversity in 21st Century Philanthropy, will be held on Monday, May 1, from 12:15 – 1:30 p.m. For more information and to register for the conference, go to

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