What if we could use wealth to heal rather than cause further harm? What if money was spent trying out concepts that shatter current structures and systems that have turned much of the world into one vast market?
This is the core argument explored by author and nationally-recognized philanthropy expert Edgar Villanueva in his new book Decolonizing Wealth: Indigenous Wisdom to Heal Divides and Restore Balance (Berrett-Koehler Publishers). Using his own personal experiences as a Native American grantmaker and foundation executive—along with field data and dozens of funder interviews—Villanueva reveals the racial and colonialist dynamics at play in philanthropy and finance, including banks, investment funds, and aid organizations.
We hosted a special conversation with Villanueva about the nature of philanthropy and reflections on how institutions that control access to money can better serve the needs of Indigenous people and communities of color.
About the book
In Decolonizing Wealth: Indigenous Wisdom to Heal Divides and Restore Balance, Villanueva weaves a provocative analysis of the dysfunctional colonial dynamics at play in philanthropy and finance and offers a prescription for restoring balance and healing our divides using the guidance of indigenous wisdom.
About the author
Edgar Villanueva is a nationally-recognized expert on social justice philanthropy. Edgar currently serves as Chair of the Board of Directors of Native Americans in Philanthropy and is a board member of the Andrus Family Fund, a national foundation that works to improve outcomes for vulnerable youth. In addition to working in philanthropy for many years, he has consulted with numerous nonprofit organizations and national and global philanthropies on advancing racial equity inside of their institutions and through their investment strategies.
Edgar currently serves as the vice president of programs and advocacy at the Schott Foundation for Public Education. There he oversees grant investment and capacity-building supports for education-focused justice campaigns across the United States.
He holds two degrees from the Gillings Global School of Public Health at The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. He is an enrolled member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina and resides in Brooklyn, NY. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.
This IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy event was presented by the Central Indiana Community Foundation, Lake Institute on Faith and Giving Distinguished Visitor Series, and the Mays Family Institute on Diverse Philanthropy.