DECEMBER 2021 NEWSLETTER
Reflections for our newest Board member
We are coming to the end of 2021, undoubtedly a very challenging year for humanity, with a long list of crises that afflicts the world, and many sectors of society are calling for action in a context that pushes us to distance ourselves from each other. The pandemic is transforming important aspects of our lives, our relationships, our way of looking at work, how we perceive spaces, how we organize for collective action. With the nuances between positive and negative that this entails, the year 2021 is closing and we should not miss the opportunity to share our learnings and reflections.
This year gave me the opportunity to grow in my professional and leadership space. In addition to having been confirmed in the position of Director of LAC programs at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, where I have been working for almost 10 years, in June I became a member of the IFIP board. Two positions that have given me the opportunity to think and practice philanthropy in a broader and more strategic sense and allow me to contribute to the advancement of IFIP’s mission to foster Indigenous solutions and partnerships among Indigenous Peoples and funders around the globe.
I first learned about IFIP in 2016 when I attended the Latin America Indigenous Funders Conference in Lima, Peru. I remember that from that moment it was clear to me that IFIP proposes a transformation of the relationships between funders and indigenous peoples, it proposes to promote solutions and partnerships, a direct conversation, without filters or intermediaries, and this opportunity represented for me to be part of a space that seeks to make a big difference in how philanthropy exercises its role, and how it is necessary to listen, to build, to be aware and to recognize that it is necessary to operate a transformation in the relationships between funders and indigenous peoples. That face-to-face engagement is essential to Indigenous philanthropy and contributing to thinking about and implementing new ways in which that linkage can be strengthened, and those networks expanded is one of my great motivations for serving on the board.
Today face-to-face looks different than in 2016, as demonstrated by the organization of the IFIP Funder Retreat 2021, which provided us with a space for collaboration and interaction that is essential for this movement. Technology supported us in our need to engage and connect. It provided the space for reflection on the need to be coherent in the exercise of our leadership and it must push us even more as philanthropy to the continuous exercise of honest self-reflection on the practices of power, during the next year and beyond.
Indigenous people across the globe fight against a pandemic that isolates contributes to polarization and discourage social organization. But many alternatives to both the pandemic and climate change are being built today by indigenous peoples. IFIP’s presence at COP26 pushing for the respect and place that indigenous peoples and organizations should have to determine the direction and agendas in the discussion on climate change is an example of the respect and place that indigenous peoples and organizations should have in the climate change discussion.
This should lead us, in the coming year and beyond, to continue supporting the construction and implementation of solutions based on the leadership and self-determination of Indigenous Peoples, which implies transforming the paradigms of resource allocation, maintaining direct and close channels, and providing feedback in our strategic thinking and action. It is clear how critical it is that philanthropy moves to attend structural issues.
I wish and hope that next year there will be more and better spaces for Indigenous Peoples to benefit directly from international commitments, from the resources that are committed to achieving development goals, that more and more donors will dedicate resources and generate partnerships, that they will recognize, include, and consult, that they will be allies. That IFIP´s community of allies grow and make stronger and continue to persevere on the path we have chosen.
The way we create and relate matters, so much so that innovation and impact rest on the value and place we give to our complementarities, in resources and capabilities. At the end it all comes down to building a respectful and trusting relationship, based on dialogue, flexibility, honesty, and care.
Alejandra Garduño Martínez
Executive Director’s Letter
Happy Solstice! The IFIP Team thanks our members and Indigenous partners for another year of thought relationships, collaboration, and partnerships.
While we can see a ray of light in the conversations IFIP is having with members and others in philanthropy. IFIP believes that fundamental transformation in philanthropy cannot solely depend on funders investing in workshops, trainings, and reports about diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice. It is necessary to take a systemic view of our sector to identify what changes are still needed within ourselves and our institutions to make a transformative shift to equity and justice.
The fact remains our sector has been historically slow to respond to the calls, demands, and priorities of Indigenous Peoples. As members of IFIP and actors in philanthropy, we must embrace reflection, honesty, and take bold steps to demonstrate our parting from old ways (colonial mindsets). Philanthropy behaviors that neglected and were deaf and blind to the injustices experienced by Indigenous Peoples.
We would like to see our members, philanthropy at large, taking steps towards:
- Applying a rights-based approach lens to critical issues affecting Indigenous Peoples in all their diversities.
- Stepping-up funding to match the calls for equity and inclusion of Indigenous Peoples across all funding programs.
- Embracing and working with IFIP for transparency and accountability in your grantmaking. Commitments and Pledges can be perceived as empty promises unless shown otherwise.
IFIP envisions a reciprocal community of mutual partnerships and collaboration that amplifies the voices, leadership, and self-determination of Indigenous Peoples. We see collaboration as critical to deepen relationships, enabling us to join forces to influence new audiences as well as envision new ways to address gaps. We invite you to explore with us the many ways we can collaborate to expand the sphere of influence for the transformation of our sector to bolster Indigenous Philanthropy.
As we close the year, the IFIP team will take time off to celebrate, rest, and reflect. The IFIP office will be closed from December 23rd to January 7th.
We wish a restful and joyful holiday season.