2022 Program Topic:
Friday November 18
Achieving a racially just future in which the majority of people are engaged in building pluralist culture requires more than just changing a few narratives — it requires transforming the toxic narrative oceans in which we swim. But how can we transform our narrative waters so that hundreds of millions of people can change their beliefs and behaviors in order to engage in the hard, delicate work of belonging together? And how can we design for impactful narrative strategy at scale across a broad range of sectors, issues, and stakeholders?
The Pop Culture Collaborative approaches these questions through narrative systems design. To transform the narrative landscape in America around people of color, immigrants, refugees, Muslims, and Indigenous peoples—especially those who are women, queer, trans, nonbinary, and/or disabled — we focus on bolstering the infrastructure and impact of the pop culture for social change field. In this hands-on, interactive workshop, the Collaborative team will share about narrative systems design — the creative, powerful, and responsive narrative framework and strategy at the heart of our grantmaking and field organizing. Participants will learn about the six components that work in synchronized relationship: a culture change goal, mental models, narrative archetypes, specific stories, inciting experiences, and desired behavioral norms.
Through storytelling and interactive exercises, the Collaborative will help attendees analyze past examples of cultural change processes, and learn about the building blocks of a narrative system — so that they can utilize narrative systems design to advance racial justice values and issues in their own work.
There have been numerous calls to action for philanthropy to center equity, and shift power to the community—yet many of these institutions are slow to act to advance their racial equity work beyond public statements. This session will share how Philanthropy Massachusetts, a nonprofit funder-membership organization developed a multi-prong approach to gain insights from a representative body of funders through a working group, staff, and a state-wide survey into the behavioral and organizational barriers funders might be facing in moving from thinking to action. We will discuss how these insights have used these findings to co-create racial equity strategies with their network membership to cultivate mass action at the state level to change systems and shift power to the communities they serve. Philanthropy Massachusetts will draw on its long history of working on race, diversity, equity, and inclusive over the years; participating in the D5 Coalition, a national coalition of funders and PSOs advancing REDI in the field; creating Diversity fellowships for midcareer professionals who transitioned into philanthropy; and convening the Grantmakers of Color network. The panel will also discuss the benefits of co-creating strategies in partnership with funders at different stages of their racial equity efforts, what communication messages were most helpful, and how peer-led action can lead to increase impact for communities that are historically and currently unfunded or under-funded and excluded. Together, the panel will communicate a new vision for a philanthropic state-level approach.
In the wake of QAnon, insurgent movements are embracing its model — building passionate extremist communities using the symbols and communication styles of pop-culture fandoms. When these viral techniques are combined with the infinite reach of digital platforms, the result is a dangerous new approach to hacking our democracy, consolidating influence and advancing the surging cultural power of white nationalism. From the parents’ rights movement to the pro-authoritarians, these toxic digital narrative ecosystems are activated by content created by influencers and right-wing media; held and spread by communities that criss-cross platforms and demographics; and ultimately ultimately forge the identities, beliefs and behaviors of millions.
Join Western State Center’s Eric Ward, Pop Culture Collaborative’s Tracy Van Slyke and Institute for the Future’s Jeff Yang as they share groundbreaking research and cultural analysis on how these “digital narrative ecosystems” are being created, evolved and expanded; discuss the implications of their growing role in American racialization and politics; and share insights on how these same fandom-based narrative change strategies could inspire millions of people to resist, neutralize, and supplant the white nationalist movement with the yearning for a just and pluralist society.
This interactive session will share how frontline leaders are partnering with funders and local government practitioners to advance equitable community-led climate solutions for New Orleans. With funds from Partners for Places and the Greater New Orleans Foundation, the Climate Action Equity Advisory Group, convened by the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice, assessed racial inequities in energy, waste management, transportation, employment, and entrepreneurship that greatly disadvantage Black residents and Black neighborhoods and co-created recommended actions to equitably address climate change and meet the City’s 2030 greenhouse gas reduction goals. Speakers will share key recommendations from "Taking Steps Together on Equity & Climate Change: A Report By and For New Orleanians" and show how community leaders are now working together to implement one or more of the recommended actions.
This interactive session will highlight the knowledge gained and challenges faced by participants in engaging in this cross-sectional work, while also engaging attendees to share their experiences with community-led work and potential solutions to challenges faced.
The 501(c)(3) nonprofit structure was designed to infiltrate and undermine social movements, much like a Trojan Horse. The status was created as a vehicle for protecting generational wealth and has led to a shift from community-based mutual aid to hierarchical institutions providing social services. In order to meet the needs of exploited and marginalized communities, nonprofits depend on the support of wealthy people and institutions whose wealth comes from the exploitation and marginalization of those same communities. Moreover, philanthropists, foundations, governments, and businesses too often wield their financial contributions to undermine nonprofits' efforts to disrupt and change the root causes of oppression. While presented as a solution for professionalizing social justice and filling gaps in social services, the nonprofit industrial complex (NPIC) actually reinforces social control while protecting those with the most power.
During this workshop, we will unpack the systemic challenges facing nonprofits that seek to disrupt and transform the inequitable status quo in our society. We will explore the history and rise of the NPIC and how nonprofits are vulnerable to reproducing the same forms of oppression they strive to resist. We will examine how power, privilege, and oppression manifest within nonprofits both through the micro-lens of our own intersectional experience as well as the macro-lens of capitalism and systemic racism. Drawing on the lived experiences of participants, we will explore Rested Root’s unique framework for how we can TR.A.N.S.F.O.R.M. the nonprofit industrial complex. The session includes grounding practices, games, personal reflection, and breakout groups for brainstorming strategies.
Saturday November 19
While we are all members of “the community,” what does it mean to share power with members of our community who live at the sharpest intersection of systems of oppression, namely race, class, and gender identity? How do we anchor everything we do in the belief that those most marginalized—Black people and people of the global majority who have recently lived with issues such as housing instability and homelessness; low wage work and wage theft; and unemployment and underemployment—should have decision-making power over the resources that are distributed in our communities? This means that private foundations, even the most progressive among us, should have trustees with recent lived expertise on the board, and community members should participate and lead at all levels of the foundation, including grantmaking, communications, strategic partnerships and mission-consistent investing.
In this session, we will share the story of if’s multi-year, ongoing community-centered transformation, invite participants to examine it under a microscope and in a crystal ball, and explore what is made possible if institutions and the broader philanthropic sector truly centered community. By the end of this session, participants will have: 1) a reconsidered definition of community, 2) deeper knowledge and understanding about the challenges and opportunities that can come with centering community in philanthropy, and 3) ideas, connections, questions, actions, and resources that can support their efforts to make philanthropy community-centered.
NAP strongly believes that Native youth bring a critical perspective to the world of philanthropy and deserve decision-making power when it comes to the issues that impact us all. Philanthropy must be willing to be aligned, authentic, and in courageous collaboration with community. Youth are an important part of our communities with a unique perspective on the issues that often affect them most. This workshop will be an interactive conversation with youth leaders, Native Americans in Philanthropy, and funders around building capacity, space, and additional dollars to implement their vision for themselves and their communities.
Audre Lorde describes the “joy in living” as “one of our most potent weapons”— referencing the integral role that joy and imagination play in the movement for peace, justice, and liberation.
As explored in Echoing Green’s short documentary Unwavering: The Power of Black Innovation, for Black and Brown leaders, working to disrupt systems of power is both revolutionary and joyous. For Black and Brown leaders, joy is our antidote — an act of resistance and revolution.
Featuring social innovators driving transformational movements for change, this session will feature an exclusive screening of Unwavering: The Power of Black Innovation, a short documentary by Fearless Studios and Echoing Green, followed by a panel conversation that will explore the importance of Black and Brown leaders finding joy while working to disrupt systems of power. This session will offer participants tangible steps on how to incorporate and cultivate joy in their leadership and movement-building.