The Sillerman Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy
The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University
Philanthropy has the opportunity not only to improve the lives of individuals but to more effectively tackle social problems by understanding and addressing trauma as a major underlying root cause of such challenges. Philanthropy can elevate trauma-informed work by funding it, certainly, but also by educating grantees and encouraging them to adopt trauma-informed approaches.
On November 20, 2016, Sillerman was honored to host over 200 youth philanthropists and their program leaders for the 2016 Northeast Youth Philanthropy Gathering, in collaboration with Youth Philanthropy Connect. The goal of the day was to have fun, make new friends, and learn about empathy, other ways to practice philanthropy, think about social justice philanthropy, and come together as a community.
The Black Lives Matter Movement (BLM) has attracted serious attention and, more recently, dollars from US foundations. Moreover, Social Justice Funders have offered not only immediate financial assistance, but movement-building resources to strengthen the decentralized, radical, and controversial movement over the long term.
Investing in refugee integration benefits not only refugees but whole communities. Philanthropy is particularly well positioned to sustain and expand successful national, state, and local practices, programs and policies designed to assist refugees and immigrants.
Education-specific crowdfunding sites such as DonorsChoose and AdoptAClassroom provide platforms where teachers explain how they will use donated money to benefit students. But do these sites allow us to evade hard questions about money, public education, and inequality?
We are honored to be working with the WK Kellogg Foundation on its Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Enterprise, which will help people in selected communities embrace racial healing and uproot conscious and unconscious beliefs in the hierarchy of human value. The TRHT process will adapt some practices of previous Truth and Reconciliation Commissions (TRC), which have been instrumental in resolving deeply rooted conflicts around the world, and apply them in the United States for a national, comprehensive enterprise to resolve the consequences of centuries of racism and structural inequities. By uncovering human rights violations and tragedies, and engaging people in a healing process, TRCs have historically restored dignity and respect on many occasions, paving the way for the transforming of societies – a prevailing objective of the U.S. effort. Sillerman Center Director Susan Eaton is serving as a consultant on this important and vital project.
By providing the opportunity to plan, problem solve and create a finished product, the arts help students with 21st century skills, positively affecting a student’s success in school and beyond. Studies find that low-income students who engage with the arts earn higher GPA’s and higher rates of college acceptance and graduation than otherwise similar peers.