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Philanthropy’s Power Problem with guest Iara Peng

“We believe that philanthropy shouldn’t be about barriers and bottlenecks.” So says the About page of JustFund, the grant platform transforming giving. But removing bottlenecks is just one way that Just Fund is changing the game. Getting resources to organizations truly doing front line work involves challenging entrenched ideologies and engaging leadership often marginalized in philanthropy: people of color. And so it is a group of funders and organizers of color who founded the organization, those who know best how to poke at philanthropy’s power problem. 

And leading the charge is our guest today: Iara Peng, founder and CEO of JustFund. 

JustFund brings a new approach to philanthropic grant-making and challenges existing systems in what she calls, “an intervention into the antiquated systems that grant makers have inherited.”

Instead, JustFund offers a trust-based, values-aligned approach that can fuel the movement for social and racial equity and they’ve done it in a very short time. The platform is already being used by more than three thousand organizations and is coming up on its first major milestone: moving $100 million in grants from funders to organizers.

It’s easy to call out what is not working about philanthropy. It’s another to build a tool from scratch to address the collective opportunity to transform philanthropy. That’s what JustFund is all about, and that’s why we can think of no better guest to talk about this big idea, and how leveling the philanthropic playing field is not only better for people regularly marginalized in the conversation, but for all of us. 

Links & Notes

  • (00:00) – Welcome to Mission Forward

This season, we are taking you on a journey to meet ten people influencing and shaping how we communicate at scale for social change. From advertising executives to coalition directors, news editors, campaign managers, and authors, they're all people who are shaping and challenging the deep power of communication. If you’re working to become a more inclusive and thoughtful communicator, there’s nothing holding you back—except you.

Carrie Fox

Carrie Fox is the founder and CEO of Mission Partners, a woman-owned strategic communications firm and Certified B Corporation that guides high-potential nonprofits, foundations, and socially responsible corporations in realizing their greatest social impact. Since launching her first firm in 2004, she has guided hundreds of organizations around the world to lead with purpose, fueling organizations and their missions forward in new and more impactful ways.