By Tamara Lucas Copeland
President, Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers
I recently came across a quote that caused me to pause. It was from Adam Braun, a young entrepreneur focused on excellence in education. He said, “The most abundant resources that we possess amongst the 1.5 million nonprofits in the United States are passion and knowledge, yet our most scarce resource is collaboration.” There is no question that collaboration is tough. Different values, different long term goals, different cultures are sometimes insurmountable hurdles even when both parties really want to make it work.
For the second time now, WRAG has identified a great partnership. For almost two years, WRAG and LGW came together for a comprehensive examination of affordable housing in our region, looking at the challenges and possible solutions. In January 2018, we launch our new collaboration, Putting Racism on the Table: Expanding the Table for Racial Equity.
If you follow WRAG’s work, you know that the philanthropic community has been learning about racism and how to apply a racial equity lens to its grantmaking for about two years now. When we’ve looked at the depth of structural and systemic racism and the breadth of implicit bias, it is very clear that this problem, like most, cannot be solved with the intervention of just one community. LGW offers a portal into government officials, business leaders and civic leaders across the array of issues that impact Greater Washington. It is the proverbial one-stop-shop when thinking about how to reach the broadest group of leaders in our region. So, I am excited to have the support of Doug Duncan and the Board leadership at LGW as, together, we explore the issues of racism and begin the conversation about what can we do to make the region a more racially equitable one.
While the early quote causes one to reflect, I have another that I like much better: “Collaboration is not about gluing together existing egos. It’s about the ideas that never existed until after everyone entered the room.” We know that WRAG and LGW don’t constitute everyone who needs to be in the room, but we are definitely Expanding the Table for Racial Equity.