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Date: June 07, 2021 Jara Dean-Coffey, Director, The Equitable Evaluation Initiative, Founder

Jara Dean-Coffey

“I increasingly find myself going to the origins of words, ideas and actions to better understand what twists and turns may have happened along the way — shaping out present day understandings.

“For philanthropy I go to the Greek origins, where philanthropy means love of humanity and supposedly first showed up in Aeschylus Prometheus Bound around 2,500 years ago. That definition still rings true to me as an aspiration for what philanthropy should be. And yet I know that in that simple word — humanity — there are differing beliefs about who is human, what it means to live in community, the idea that our existence is dependent on a collective responsibility and an understanding of our interdependence with one another and with this land — of which we are caretakers. Perhaps what is needed most of all is the desire for all to thrive.

“Forty-five years from now I hope philanthropy (which will never be a monolith) moves away from being a safe haven for wealth and moral logo for high-net-worth individuals and that instead it intentionally organizes in a way that reflects and invests in the best of us; that hearts, minds and efforts are dedicated to our shared liberation, justice and equity and that it holds love of humanity as its core raison d’etre.

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