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Members Brunch with FSB: cultivating trust for equity
We came back from summer ready to dive into our commitment to expand relationships through our fourth Members’ Brunch of the year. This time, we co-hosted the brunch with Fundación Segarra Boerman, a local organization dedicated to environmental and educational causes. The event took place at the historic Acueducto de Río Piedras, thoughtfully chosen by our hosts to exemplify the organizations they support. The ambiance of this historic space resonated with the vibrant energy from all the participants.
As usual, we commenced the day with a shared understanding of the event’s purpose – to continue exploring how each of us advances equity within our respective organizations. The dedicated women-led team at FSB, including Alexandra, Nicolle, and Suzzette, graciously guided us through their practices and initiatives, all centered in their core focus of “Trust-Based Philanthropy.” For them it is essential to simplify the process for organizations, enabling them to focus on their community driven-work. Alexandra Hertell, the Executive Director, mentioned, “In the systems we navigate, power imbalances exist – we must acknowledge this. Trust is cultivated; it’s not an automatic given. While we may intend to prioritize communities’, there are practices within philanthropy that can put up more barriers”.
Their approach revolves around aligning their initiatives with the needs of grantees, rather than imposing on them. They achieve this through a series of thoughtful strategies:
Multiyear Unrestricted Grants: by providing multi year unrestricted grants, they empower organizations with the flexibility to execute their initiatives effectively.
Simplified Application and Reporting: FSB streamlines the application and reporting process, reducing administrative burdens for grantees.
Continuous Feedback Loop: They establish a constant feedback loop and take actions based on the insights they gather, ensuring a responsive approach.
Tailored Support: FSB offers support beyond financial grants, based on the specific needs expressed by partner organizations.
Personal Relationships: Building personal relationships with each entity fosters a genuine connection and better understanding of their unique challenges and aspirations.
Certainly, these strategies offer us a broadview of the transformational practices that can be possible inside the philanthropic ecosystem. These spaces keep giving us the opportunity to hear and explore other models and initiatives that advance equity in Puerto Rico. Also, they expand our relationships as an ecosystem and open the door to reflect and think in the ways that we can adopt better practices to a more fair and equitable archipelago.