Byline: Patrice Marshall
On Monday, as I entered a room at Liberty Hill's third annual Uplifting Change Summit, I was gratified to see the place filled with a significant number of African American people committed to making a positive impact on the African American community in Los Angeles in a multitude of ways. Those attending and speaking at this informative event included but were not limited to individuals who provide resources, lead nonprofit agencies, are corporate-giving professionals and/or are donor-activists.
No matter the perspective or profession of the people at the Summit, it was very clear that everyone was extremely passionate about increasing the number of dollars that flow to African American social justice organizations in Los Angeles and also to increase the number of dollars contributed by African American donors. It was also energizing to network with old friends and to begin the process of cultivating new connections and relationships.
Just about every speaker or panelist shared the sentiment that “relationships matter” (in some variation of those words) when they are considering organizations or causes to support.
That a huge part of one’s success in securing funding has to do with developing relationships seems simple enough in concept, but hearing it in the context of the numerous presentations made me think about it in a very different way. For example, it was simply stated that most people give money to people or places that are familiar to them. If you are hesitant to give money to strangers, why would giving in a philanthropic context be any different? With that thought in my mind, I made a renewed commitment to myself to continue to nurture my existing relationships and to devote time to earnestly cultivate new connections so that my own philanthropy can devlop and grow.
At the conclusion of the Summit, I left the event feeling motivated, encouraged and inspired to do more to make Los Angeles a great place for African Americans to thrive. I left the day with three important goals. I resolved to:
- evaluate my current giving to ensure that it accurately reflects my values
- continue to nurture and develop relationships, and
- consider joining a giving circle in order leverage my dollars for a greater impact.
What will you do to change Los Angeles?
Patrice Marshall is a Liberty Hills fellow.