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Value Alignment and Reputational Risk

October 3rd, 2023
10:00AM to 11:00AM
Zoom - information to be emailed
Grantmaker, Philanthropic Advisor
Event type:
Best practices
Base fee:

Throughout its history, philanthropy has been a critical partner in developing sustainable solutions to challenging social problems and addressing the needs of society’s most vulnerable. However, as politics and culture become increasingly polarized in the contemporary moment, philanthropy finds itself at the intersection of competing, even antagonistic, stakeholder interests. Previously innocuous areas such as immigration, civil rights, and even ESG investing—in which philanthropy has long played a leading role—have now become cultural and political lightning rods.

So how do philanthropic institutions navigate this new challenge? For community foundations and other DAF holders, how are donor intent and discretionary grantmaking balanced? For corporate funders how are employee grant matching programs aligned with the company’s own social and cultural commitments? Even private foundations struggle to align the competing interests of their founders and trustees.

Over the last three years, the Horizon Forum, a fiscally sponsored project at the Proteus Fund, has been at the forefront of these questions, helping foundations address the problem of hate, extremist, and xenophobic funding. By providing policy development, due diligence, and communications support, dozens of foundations have begun building an infrastructure to ensure their organizations missions, values, and grantmaking are aligned and hate-free. During this discussion, we will hear from the Horizon Forum on how philanthropic actors across the country are approaching the challenges of the new political and cultural moment. Participants will gain a deeper understanding of potential pitfalls, safeguards that can be implemented, and strategies for resolving values misalignment when it arises.

We will also be joined by the Council on Foundations. With policymakers, journalists, and activists seeking to determine how hate groups are funded, philanthropic organizations have come under a magnifying glass. Although the vast majority of philanthropic funding goes to charities acting to advance the greater good, in some limited cases, funding for groups espousing hate and extremism has come through grantmaking organizations. The Council is committed to guiding their members and demystifying these issues. They release guidance and resources, including a Values-Aligned Philanthropy Board Discussion Guide, for foundations looking to establish values-aligned grantmaking policies. For ​​the philanthropic community to stand as a trusted partner in advancing the greater good, we must be a collective voice against hate.

Our Speakers:

Remy BarnwellStaff CounselCouncil on Foundations

Remy is licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia and holds a J.D. from the George Washington University Law School. Upon entering law school, Remy knew that she wanted to do mission-driven work and completed internships with both non-profit and government agencies. While in law school, she served as President of the Black Law Students Association and enjoyed the opportunity to serve her peers. Before her time at the Council, Remy worked at the Federal Labor Relations Authority as an attorney-advisor.  She received a B.A. in English from Clemson University with a minor in philosophy. A resident of Washington, D.C. since 2017, Remy enjoys weightlifting, reading, and taking her dog Zeus on new adventures

Abbas Barzegar, Director, Horizon Forum

Abbas Barzegar, Ph.D.  serves as the Director of the Horizon Forum where he stewards its collaborative and stakeholder-centered research programming. He is a term-member of the Council on Foreign Relations and maintains research and teaching affiliations with Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, Emory University’s Masters in Development Program, and George Mason’s Ali Vural Ak Center for Global Islamic Studies. He has years of applied research experience covering transnational Muslim civil society at the intersection of global Islamic revival and geopolitical conflict.

Recent projects he has led include the European Union funded “Bridging Transatlantic Voices” initiative at the British Council USA, the digital archive, “After Malcolm” at George Mason, and the Hijacked by Hate study on US philanthropy and anti-Muslim special interest groups. In addition to numerous articles and book chapters, he is the co-author of Islamism: Contested Perspectives on Political Islam (Stanford). His work has been supported by The European Union, The British Council, The US Institute of Peace (USIP), the Mellon Foundation, The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and The American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS). His commentary and analysis can be found in a variety of print and broadcast media outlets, including CNN, Fox News, The Guardian, The Hill, The Huffington Post, and Aljazeera.

Megan Burke, President & CEO, Community Foundation of Western MA

As President and CEO of the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, Megan Burke leads the organization in its philanthropic and community impact services – to help enrich the quality of life of people living in Franklin, Hampshire and Hampden counties. Megan became the Foundation’s fifth President and CEO in January of 2023. Previous experience includes serving as the director of community impact grantmaking at the Hartford Foundation of Public Giving and executive director of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. She has over 20 years of experience in nonprofit management, strategic planning, and philanthropy. Currently, she resides in West Springfield, MA with her family. 


Registration type: 
Normal registration

Zoom Instructions for Virtual or Hybrid Programs:

Zoom information: Zoom information for the program will be sent out to all registrants one week before AND in the afternoon of the business day before the session is scheduled to take place.  Please reach out to info@philanthropyma.org if you believe you are registered for this program and do not receive the link.

Registration & Program Follow-up Materials: Registration for the program will be closed at 2pm EST on the day before the program is scheduled to take place.  If you register after this point, you will be added to the waitlist and will be able to receive the program recording as well as all follow-up materials from the session.  For fee-based Nonprofit Partner programs, you can request these materials for a discounted rate.  Please note that it may take up to a week to prepare and disseminate those materials to all registrants.

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