It’s not about me.
(Or so I thought.)

By David Roswell, Impact Influencer and Thousand Currents supporter

I used to try to keep “me” out of my giving. It’s not about me, right?

I thought I should give to organizations and folks doing work that I believed in, and then step away. Giving wasn’t for my ego, my growth, my needs.

This approach helped my partner, Maggie, and me to give flexibly and generously, yet we gave with trepidation. We didn’t want special attention, didn’t want oversight of how they were using the funds, and didn’t want to take precious time away from “the work.”

These assumptions about myself and my relationships have been called into question as I’ve gotten to know Thousand Currents. At the Thousand Currents Academy earlier this year, I began to ask: what if these meetings were for folks to share their work with us, so that we can be better supporters and fellow comrades?

Maggie and I now seek out conversations with the organizations we give to. We check in with them. We now are proud of our giving, and gush openly about the amazing work we are helping to support.

I had another misconception when it came to my giving: I was afraid I didn’t understand international contexts well enough to fund outside the US. Through deep conversation and teaching led by Thousand Currents partners, I reexamined this. I learned that I never fully know the contexts that I’m funding in – whether in Detroit, Michigan or Harare, Zimbabwe – and that I don’t need to in order to be a good partner to organizers and change-makers.

Injustice anywhere shares root causes. I saw that through relationship with groups working for self-determination and survival in the Global South, I can learn strategies and tactics that can be useful for winning in the U.S. as well.

I see no other grassroots funder making deeper, more genuine relationships with the organizations they fund, the donors with which they work, and the broader communities of philanthropy and social change than Thousand Currents. I trust no organization more to support women, indigenous folks, and other communities across the globe with more conviction, compassion, and trust than Thousand Currents.

Thousand Currents has brought hope, humor, and long hugs to my philanthropic practice. 

It’s not about me. It’s about us.

To learn more about the Thousand Currents Academy or to apply, see: thousandcurrents.org/academy/

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