Cross-post: Advancing Equity by Undoing Nonprofit Power Dynamics

  • By Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, June 7, 2018

An Interview with Amanda O’Meara of the Weissberg Foundation & Adventure Theatre’s Michael Bobbitt

If you haven’t already, please RSVP to celebrate the third annual Get a BEER and Undo Nonprofit Power Dynamics Day with us on Thursday, June 21, 2018. We are partnering with Weissberg Foundation, the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, United Philanthropy Forum and Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers for a happy hour at Tonic at Quigley’s from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Check out this blog post from the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers.

June 21 is Get a BEER* and Undo Nonprofit Power Dynamics Day (GBUNPD) – a day when funders and nonprofits across the country will get together without an agenda. GBUNPD is the brainchild of nonprofit leader and blogger Vu Le, who has long recognized that the power dynamic between funders and their grantee partners gets in the way of social change. The only rule of GBUNPD events is that there can be no agenda!

Since WRAG is committed to advancing equity in the social sector and in our region, we were happy to sign on with the Weissberg Foundation, GEO, NCRP, and United Philanthropy Forum to co-sponsor a local GBUNPD happy hour (details!). To shed light on why undoing funder-nonprofit power dynamics is critical to advancing equity, we talked to Amanda O’Meara, program officer at the Weissberg Foundation, and Michael Bobbitt, artistic director of Adventure Theatre. Amanda and Michael are participating – together – in WRAG & LGW’s Putting Racism on the Table: Expanding the Table for Racial Equity learning series. We thought that this shared experience may have revealed new insights for them on the relationship between funders and nonprofits.

WRAG: How has participating together in these challenging conversations about race and equity changed the dynamic between the Weissberg Foundation and Adventure Theatre?

Amanda: I have been fortunate to participate in several trainings and conversations with Michael around racial equity through this series and through the Weissberg Foundation’s Diversity in Theater cohort. I have learned so much from Michael and continue to be inspired by what he does on a daily basis to advance equity. I think learning alongside him as a partner in this work has been beneficial. It has allowed us to have open conversations about how challenging this work can be, and helped to build a stronger relationship where we rely on each other as thought partners.

Michael: The Weissberg Foundation staff have provided such amazing training and educational opportunities around racism, equity, diversity, and inclusivity, that I came into this series with a strong foundation for deeper learning, activism and a more sure-footed ability to add to the conversation and perhaps help others see and hear more deeply. What I love most is that Adventure Theatre’s board and staff have increased their knowledge and our EDI efforts have shifted from conversation and placation to excitement and operationalizing.

To read the full post, visit The Daily WRAG, and don’t forget to join us on June 21.