‘Twas the night before 2100, when all through our zooms
Not a creature was stirring, not even sounds from our incoming email notification tunes;
Our out of office emails were set with auto reply by care.
In hopes that in the New Year, our work would no longer be there;
Feminist advocates were nestled all snug in their beds,
With visions of long term, core, unrestricted funding dancing in their heads;
And program officers in their PJs, and I in my Black Lives Matters nightcap,
We’re just settling down for a long awaited and much needed nap;
When out on the streets there arose such an excited chatter,
We sprang from our beds to see what was the matter;
Away to the window we raced like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash;
The moonlight cast a bright glow
Illuminating the community protestors below;
They whistled, and shouted, and called to us by name
“now philanthropists, advocates, activists – all you privileged, paid professionals – it’s time to give up this oppressive game”;
“We want autonomy, agency and trustful partnerships moving forward…Stand with the community as we dismantle these colonist structures that make us all so tortured’;
They said participatory grantmaking must become the norm, not just with decision-making but in every opportunity and form.
From prioritisation, to budgeting and deciding who and what to fund; but also with the time consuming and extractive paperworking and reporting requirements that always needs to get done;
This is an evolution, not a revolution, of sharing power co-designing and co-creating our new world this very hour.
A fairer, more equitable and compassionate environment controlled by those in the global majority is our entitlement;
We must break down language and accessibility hurdles, that keep some of our community members on the external;
They said, “core, unrestricted long term funding should flow where the community demands.
Supplied by taxes paid from a global wealth tax dividend”;
We will change philanthropy, they said, into a culture of partnership and trust,
One in which you – funders – must prove to us that you are fair and just;
To be stewards of our resources and to distribute it with care
With transparency, oversight and OUR determinations of what is fair;
We – funders – spoke not a word and listened with great care
then went straight to work and called all our friendly pseudo-astronaut billionaires;
They sprang into action and gave us the green light
To give away ALL of their money via participatory grantmaking approaches that very night;
And with that, the protestors disappeared into the night
Satisfied that they, of course, were morally and ethically right;
But I heard them exclaim, as they walked away in the moonlight
We will be back and hold you accountable until the end of capitalism is in sight.