Participatory Grant-Making: Shifting Power in Philanthropy Toward Equitable Giving and Community Empowerment

An SIF Funder Education Program in partnership with Philanthropy Massachusetts
September 21, 2021
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Participatory Grant-Making: Shifting Power in Philanthropy Toward Equitable Giving and Community Empowerment with Ben Wrobel and Meg Massey, authors of

“It’s an open secret: philanthropy today is top-heavy and insular. A glance at the world’s largest foundations and impact investment funds reveals that decision-makers tend to be disproportionately white, male, and from backgrounds of privilege. And decisions tend to be made in a closed, opaque way.” — 

In their book, “Letting Go: How Philanthropists and Impact Investors Can Do More Good by Giving Up Control,” Ben Wrobel and Meg Massey chronicle stories of funders implementing participatory grant-making models by sharing decision-making power to those who have lived experience of the issue being addressed. “Letting Go” has garnered critical acclaim from leaders in the philanthropic community — both funders and nonprofits — for introducing funders to frameworks on how to implement participatory grant-making in their giving practices. 

Join the Social Innovation Forum and Philanthropy Massachusetts for a conversation with Ben and Meg as they talk about key principles in their book, including participatory grantmaking, impact investing, and shifting power in philanthropy toward equitable giving and community empowerment. 

Interested in purchasing their book? Use this unique coupon code for the SIF and Philanthropy MA community for a 20% discount on your purchase: SIFMA on the book website.


Meg Massey Headshot
Meg Massey

Meg Massey is a journalist covering social impact and social justice in the world of finance. Her writing has been featured in Time, Fortune, Impact Alpha, and others. She began her social sector career as a policy analyst in the Obama White House, and later led strategic communications for the Global Steering Group for Impact Investment (GSG) and the Urban Institute’s Research to Action Lab before founding her strategy firm, Sanspeur, in 2019.

Ben Wrobel Headshot
Ben Wrobel

Ben Wrobel is Director of Communications at Village Capital, a pioneer in participatory investing. He started his career as chief speechwriter for the NAACP, and later raised money for voter registration campaigns including Stacey Abrams’ New Georgia Project. He has edited two best-selling books: REACH: 40 Black Men on Living, Leading and Succeeding and The Innovation Blind Spot.