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Race & Demographics

Decolonizing Wealth: How To Fix Philanthropy

Photo of the Cover of the book, Decolonizing Wealth, by Edgar Vilanueva
Courtesy of Edgar Vilanueva
Cover of the book, Decolonizing Wealth, by Edgar Vilanueva

Today marks ‘Giving Tuesday,’ a day that encourages Americans to stop the Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping and instead donate money or time to their community. But where exactly does this money go? And does philanthropy mostly serve the wealthy and the white? Author and grant investment director Edgar Villanueva argues that many philanthropic foundations or corporate giving programs may do more harm than good.


Villanueva worked for years as a philanthropist for the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust and the Marguerite Casey Foundation. Those experiences gave him a front-row seat to the old-boy networks, the savior complexes, and the internalized oppression in the industry.

In his book “Decolonizing Wealth: Indigenous Wisdom To Heal Divides and Restore Balance” (Berrett-Koehler Publishers/2018), Villanueva demonstrates how philanthropic efforts reinforce institutional racism. He joins host Frank Stasio to break down what is wrong with giving today and what can be done to fix it. 

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