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What is Social Justice Philanthropy?

“Social justice grantmakers aim to go one step beyond teaching a man to fish, to borrow an old saying. They ask why so few people in this man’s community can afford to own a fishing pole; why the county incinerator is being sited in his neighborhood, befouling his pond rather than that of his wealthier townsmen; and why he’s being taught to fish when he’s more likely to earn a living wage as an accountant or engineer.” So wrote Albert Ruesga, President and CEO of the Greater New Orleans Foundation, in an effort to answer the question: what is social justice philanthropy? He notes that it draws on a number of traditions: the effort to combat structural injustice, to enforce universal human rights, to insure equal distribution of resources, to empower disenfranchised individuals and communities, and several others.

We asked a panel of experts to tackle this question, taking their bearings from Ruesga’s reflections on the question in the articles below.

Required Reading
Social Justice Philanthropy: An Initial Framework for Positioning This Work by Albert Ruesga and Deborah Puntenney

What is Social Justice? by Albert Ruesga


William Schambra, Moderator

Hudson Senior Fellow and Director, Bradley Center for Philanthropy & Civic Renewal

Christine Doby, Panelist

Program Officer at the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation

Peter Frumkin, Panelist

Professor of Public Affairs, University of Texas

Albert Ruesga, Panelist

President and CEO of the Greater New Orleans Foundation

Thomasina Williams, Panelist

Former Program Officer at the Ford Foundation


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