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The Ethical Rainmaker

Author: Michelle Shireen Muri

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We're excited to announce the launch of The Ethical Rainmaker! A podcast where we host authentic conversations grappling with the questions we don't often ask in the nonprofit world. Sign up for updates and new episodes and follow @theethicalrainmaker on Insta and FB !
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Data can make a significant difference in addressing community needs and tracking progress towards a goal, but it can also be a tool of oppression, misrepresentation and erasure. From who is generating the data and why, to the assumptions and narratives created we must interrogate data practices and processes that can cause harm to our communities. Anna Rebecca dropped a lot of concepts and knowledge, and Vu shared great examples, so here are some highlights that were mentioned in the show (sign up for our mailing list to get ahold of episodes early and learn more about these topics):Michelle talks with Anna Rebecca Lopez, a data nerd, activist, consultant and disruptor who believes in data for the people. This rad infographic shows part of a body of work Anna Rebecca created for the Community Centric Fundraising content hub.We also talk with Vu Le, nonprofit critic, speaker and author, and writer of NonprofitAF.com“Weaponized Data” was coined by Dr. Jondou Chen who is cited in this article by Erin Okuno and this blog post that Vu refers toMilwaukee Evaluation was also referred to and they are RADAnna Rebecca, Vu and Michelle are all co-founders of Community Centric FundraisingHere are some concepts:“Data is problematic in so many ways. It can be anywhere from how the data is gathered, who's using the data and even the types of questions we're asking before we even start in the data collection mode... Data in itself is used for so many reasons. It's used to make decisions for a community. Data is used to validate certain experiences or perspectives. Data is used to tell stories and oftentimes when those stories are inaccurate because of the data, it can cause serious harm to the communities.”Power Plays: “...oftentimes it's people who have power who are using data. It's people who have resources who are using data as people who have education, it's people who know how to use data and be able to read data and talk about data. And unfortunately there's a big gap between those who have access to data and know how to talk about it, how to use it, and the people who are in and of themselves contributing to a data set, or contributing information that then gets filtered into data. And so automatically right there, there's a big separation. There's a separation of the people who are providing this information and the people who are using this information...these are people in communities. And when we remove data from that understanding of humanity, it's easier to use data against people. ”Current trends in evaluation and research: “Evaluation as a tool that upholds white dominant culture, as a tool that even upholds white supremacy has been discussed since like the 1970s, especially when talking about culturally responsive evaluation, which is centering evaluation within the communities who are most impacted by the process. Now, just because that research has been around for 40-50 years now, doesn't mean that it's always being referenced or implemented...most of this work of culturally responsive evaluation...is led by people of color. And as we've seen people of color often not credited with the work that they've been doing.” An example of a data resource paradox: Vu tells a story about how a concept like the logic model, can be weaponized: And they rejected this grant because they're like, "Sorry, your logic model is not good enough". We weaponize these concepts, which often like A.R said, it's from people in power and who are people in power? It's going to be white folks. Who are the people at research institutions who were getting paid to throw the sort of terminologies and concepts and tools into the sector? It's mostly white elite educated individuals. And so this is a huge problem when funders are using this to gate keep funding, go into the community when they're like, "Sorry, you don't have a good enough data for us to fund you. You're out of luck". Well, how are organizations going to get good data if they don't get funding? So they're stuck in this data resource paradox. You can't get good funding unless you have good data, but you can't get good data unless you have good funding. ...So we are biased towards short term, white lead, tangible, easily measurable data and metrics and outcomes. And I think that causes a lot of harm.”Gratitude to The Black Tones for letting us use their song “They Want Us Dead” throughout this episode!Join the CCF Slack Channel and #theethicalrainmaker to have a conversation!Thank you so much for listening! Support The Ethical Rainmaker podcast by donating to our Patreon if you have the flow, subscribing to it on your fav pod player, rating us (esp on iTunes...yeah, I know) and honestly...share it out to friends and colleagues. Write us any time at hello@theethicalrainmaker.com or visit us at theethicalrainmaker.com.
If our goal is to be in community and work with or help others, we must first work within ourselves - taking on the healing process to not recreate the patterns that have oppressed us. Healer, facilitator, and npo executive Victoria Santos describes her journey through personal trauma and burnout through community organizing and her holistic healing journey. We dropped a lot of references, so here are links for some of the content we mentioned in the show (and sign up for our mailing list to get ahold of episodes early and learn more about these topics):Michelle talks with Victoria Santos a deep healer, community organizer, facilitator, coach and npo leaderVictoria is the Co-Director of Young Women Empowered, cultivating the power of diverse young women and is a Co-Founder of BIPOC Executive Directors of Washington StateWhile she has practiced many modalities of healing, she studied grief rituals with Sibonfu Somé for 10 years, a Burkinabe author and teacher (her wiki, her site)We talked about the Science of NonDuality Conference, where Victoria interviewed Llama Rod Owens, Zhenevere Sophia Dao, Brenda Salgado, Kaira Jewel Lingo, Angela Hennessy - spiritual teachers focused on healing in very deep, committed ways.We mentioned Commonweal and its gathering that takes place annually in Bolinas, California“The quality of the intervention is directly related to the capacity of the intervener.” Otto SchumerOrland Bishop is a spiritual teacher and Los Angeles social activist Victoria collaborates with. She described his much used phrase “Sawubona” as translating into the larger question of “who do I need to be so that you could be yourself?” Victoria and Orland are working towards building a spiritual center near Los Angeles (There are many places to find Orland online, including here.)Gratitude to Tres Leches (and here) for letting us use their song “No Llores" throughout this episode!Join the CCF Slack Channel and #theethicalrainmaker to have a conversation!Thank you so much for listening! Support The Ethical Rainmaker podcast by donating to our Patreon if you have the flow, subscribing to it on your fav pod player, rating us (esp on iTunes...yeah, I know) and honestly...share it out to friends and colleagues. Write us any time at hello@theethicalrainmaker.com or visit us at theethicalrainmaker.com.
Episode Summary“Faulty.” “Problematic.” “Racist.” In this episode, we talk about why these terms are now regularly used to describe the foundations that the nonprofit and philanthropic systems were built upon. Guest Christina Shimizu, a co-founder of Community-Centric Fundraising, briefly explores the relatively recent history of how these systems came to be, why they are built on deep injustices and how philanthropy and nonprofits are actually a political and economic system. Unpack all of this with us! If we don’t examine how these things came to be, we can never hope to reimagine them, improve them or do better, to benefit the communities we are trying to serve. Episode NotesSo many concepts were mentioned! Here are some links...(and sign up for our mailing list for future updates):Michelle talks with Christina Shimizu one of the co-founders of community centric fundraising and co-founder of Activist Class, a hyper-local political podcast. Christina organizes with Decriminalize Seattle and the Chinatown-International District Coalition (CID Coalition) and Decriminalize CID.Christina is Director of Individual Giving at The Wing Luke Museum a gorgeous cultural gem (and museum,) documenting the Asian-American experience.In this pod, the example of how 130 Chinese railroad workers built their own home comes from this history of building the museum is now housed.You can get in touch with Christina via Twitter @chrissyshimizooReferences: Stifled Generosity is a great timeline by Justice Funders - its full title is “Stifled Generosity: How Philanthropy Has Fueled The Accumulation And Privatization of Wealth” - Christina refers to it outside of this episode!Participatory Budgeting is a concept we didn’t cover but is so critical to the conversation - check out these national leaders: https://www.participatorybudgeting.org/Definition of Political Economy of Philanthropy: “A practice of philanthropy that is formalized and works hand in hand with the nonprofit industrial complex “Definition of Nonprofit Industrial Complex: “The structure of how our nonprofits operate institutionally with philanthropy and with different private/public forms of funding to create the structure of what we call the nonprofit industrial complex”Inquiry: What forms of colonial power turned into different economic policies, that then turned into different tax codes, that then turned into a whole system and structure that we experienced today? Understanding the root of it and how it evolved gives us a clearer understanding of what it is that is working, that isn’t working and how we can have some agency and power in moving forward so that it can work better for our communities.Consider: Philanthropy and nonprofits as: a political system, an economic system, a culturally informed system.Political analysis: Consider that a risk-reduction model that so many of our nonprofits proffer, is not furthering economic justice.Consider: Systemic poverty cannot be solved by nonprofits that deal with harm reduction or trying to care for immediate and survival needs of people. If we are not focused on what our communities need in order to thrive…Extractive Practices Created Wealth Accumulation: Many philanthropists accumulated money through utilization of extractive economies: extracting and exploiting labor, exploiting land, stealing land from indigenous peoples, genocide, kidnapping people from Africa, tearing famlilies apart, breaking up culture and exploiting them as enslaved people, exploitation of immigrant labor. <= These were listed by Christina in the mini-pod and you can also learn about this in Edgar Villanueva’s book Decolonizing WealthRedlining and exclusionary practices were used to withhold access to resources from communities of colorModern Liberalism: Strong political support for economic regulation of the economy, opposition of tax cuts, expansion of public programs (therefore government takes greater role in healthcare, education, housing etc), extension of civil libertiesNeoliberalism: Political and economic philosophy that supports deregulation, privatization and tax cutting. No regulation on the capitalist economy, aka the “free market.” Privatization of things that are offered in the public sphere, like education, health care, telecommunications, and banks — and, that all of these should be operating in the competitive free market, not operated by government (government shrinks). Also support cutting taxes to hypothetically create incentives for businesses to invest in themselves and job creation. Neoliberalism is currently the dominant political and economic ideology of both Democrats and Republicans for over the last 40 years.We did mention Willamette Valley Development Officers as a rad org we gave workshops at last week, and we also presented at Philanthropy Northwest!Gratitude to Stephanie Ann Johnson and the Hidogs for letting us use their song “American Blues" throughout this episode!This is a brand new podcast and we could use all the help we can get! The best way to support us is by subscribing on your fav pod player, rating us (esp on iTunes...yeah, I know) and honestly...share it out to friends and colleagues. The purpose is  Write us any time at hello@theethicalrainmaker.com or visit us at theethicalrainmaker.com.
A long time advocate for justice and the arts, Heather identifies as a “foot soldier for Black liberation,” and has had incredible success organizing a disruption of her local community foundation. She’s amazing and we can all learn from the incredible work she outlines for us in this episode. Here are links for content mentioned in the show (and sign up for our mailing list?):Michelle talks with Heather Infantry, seriously, such a badassHeather is the Executive Director of Generator City, an Atlanta-based nonprofit committed to creating a space for social change where all people have a voice in working towards a shared vision for a better tomorrow. She is talking about disrupting the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta...but this could be your community too, couldn’t it?This is the press release she wrote to tell the community story! (Link coming soon!)References: Join the CCF Slack Channel and check out the #disruptingcommunityfoundations threadSeattle Foundation Twitter threads revealing investment in Seattle Police one and two by @divestspdWe could really use a written step-by-step guide or infographic situation to further show how Heather led these efforts...stay tuned and we’ll see if it can happen!DAF = Donor Advised Fund, which is a giving vehicle established at “a public charity.” Future episode on the problematic nature of DAF’s coming in 2021!Black political leadership is big in Atlanta - Maynard Jackson, was the first black mayor of Atlanta and the longest serving. This great city is the birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr.Heather talks about gaining inspiration from John Lewis’ history and mentioned this movieGratitude to Shaina Shepherd for letting us use her new song “The Virus" throughout this episode!Thank you so much for listening! Support The Ethical Rainmaker podcast by donating to our Patreon if you have the flow, subscribing to it on your fav pod player, rating us (esp on iTunes...yeah, I know) and honestly...share it out to friends and colleagues. Write us any time at hello@theethicalrainmaker.com or visit us at theethicalrainmaker.com.
Practicing consent is a powerful tool. Here are links for content mentioned in the show (and sign up for our mailing list?):Michelle talks with L.T., a pleasure-based sex educator, kink-trainer, pro-Dom, healer, and activist in the movement to transform/end mass incarceration L.T.’s next public appearance will be on 9/24/20, at Politrix, a panel of sex worker, sex educators, activists, and lawyers to unpack and analyze the impact of new legislationGratitude to Mista DC for letting us use their song “HAPPYer NOW" throughout this episode - it's so good right?Definitions:Consent: Agreement to do something or not do something. A living idea that we are constantly building on. A way to reduce harm.Informed and Unanimous Consent: We are not going to make changes without the other party being informed and enthusiastic. Not centering our own pleasures and desires in those agreements. Not coercing the other party to do something that is only beneficial to us.BDSM: Bondage and Discipline (BD,) Dominance and Submission (DS,) Sadism and Masochism (SM)Kink: There is so much XXX-rated content out there and I don’t have your consent. References: This episode doesn’t have references to link to inasmuch as it has some great examples and conversations to really listen in to. Themes like...Kink as a healing modality: Asking for your needs to be met by others.Setting proper expectations between two parties in any type of relationship and honoring vs breaking the agreement due to power hierarchy.Renegotiating changes to expectations.Understanding that yes doesn't mean forever, no doesn’t mean forever and maybe means no. “No.” as a complete sentence.Open communication, precise language and dedication to communication in service to healthy relationships.Self-awareness around what we desire and what struggles we are having as part of our responsibility.Power dynamics in funder-grantee relationships. Npo and relationship to the communities we say we are serving etc.Drawing boundaries around what we are and are not comfortable with, from conversation topics to invitations.Relationships and narratives that need adjustment or readjustment.Buying a service or making a large gift, doesn’t mean that people are being bought.Being Black in a society of white supremacy, the criminalization of black and brown bodies and socialization.Non-conventional, non-colonized ideas around sexual expression, identity and orientation and reclaiming identity and power in white supremacy.The connection for asking for what we need and power in collective unity as applied to mutual aid, environment etc.I briefly mentioned community as unpaid consultants as summarized in S1:E4 with Chuck Warpehoski!This is a brand new podcast and we could use all the help we can get! The best way to support us is by subscribing on your fav pod player, sharing out to friends and colleagues or donating on our new Patreon! Write us any time at hello@theethicalrainmaker.com or visit us at theethicalrainmaker.com.
Whether as a well-meaning convener of community efforts to help or as part of a community which is asked to help and then treated poorly, many of us can see ourselves in this episode. This show featured useful definitions and examples - here are links for content mentioned in the show (and check out our new Patreon page now!):Michelle talks with Chuck Warpehoski DEI Consultant at ChangeWorks LLC, and former City Councilman in Ann Arbor, MichiganChuck was also the ED of the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice for 16 yearsReferences: “Fleur” is Fleur Larsen, recent guest on S1:E3 of The Ethical RainmakerCommunity-Centric Fundraising is a movement around building new fundraising models grounded in equity and social justice. Tokenism: When a candidate for a position is symbolically chosen based on their demographic representation (bringing “diversity”, but the candidate is expected to act the same way, make the same decisions or ultimately oppress parts or all of themselves. Community as Unpaid Consultants: When community members who have a stake in the solution, are asked to share time, expertise and connections (consulting) without pay. Also mentioned: In these scenarios folx are often left out of the final decision-making process and they often don’t get to hear about the impact their unpaid labor had.The Akimbo Workshops by Seth Godin were the catalyst for both the creation of this podcast and for Chuck and Michelle connectingChuck partners with Nuola Akinde of Kekere Freedom School...and mentioned the work of and mentorship from anti-racist educator and storyteller La’Ron WilliamsYes, he mentioned racism in Dr. Suess books which you should check outGratitude to Young-Chhaylee for letting us use their song “You Are Not Alone" throughout this episode - so sweet...find them on Insta or FB or Bandcamp!This is a brand new podcast and we could use all the help we can get! The best way to support us is by subscribing on your fav pod player, rating us, sharing it out to friends and colleagues or supporting this self-funded podcast through Patreon! Write us any time at hello@theethicalrainmaker.com or visit us at theethicalrainmaker.com.
 *Updated 11.13.20While many awful DEI practices exist, Fleur has built a reputation of accountability and showing up! So many great assets are mentioned in this episode:Michelle talks with Fleur Larsen, a facilitator and DEI consultant with a great repFleur’s next workshop is Power With Not Power Over for white women, starting Sept 10She is one of the founders of Skate Like a Girl (est. 2000) and comes from the therapy, education and nonprofit spacesReferences: Definition of Gatekeepers: Those who speak for, describe, translate, interpret, count and determine institutional access for people of color - in the process of systemic oppression. Gatekeepers are typically accountable to their bosses in institutions rather than the communities that they serve, and usually help maintain rather than change the system. They contribute to depriving oppressed people access to the institutions that control their lives. Source: People’s Institute for Survival and BeyondDefinition of Liberated Gatekeeping: Using power and privilege, access, opportunity to break down gates; Awareness of systems, policies, people that may be gates; Realization we are ALL gatekeepers (we can be liberating or oppressive); Using gatekeeping to check other’s privilege. Source: Monica Dennis and Rachael Ibrahim and Move to End Violence Initiative.adrienne marie brown and Emergent Strategy - learn more about emergent strategy!WOAH she does 60% of the work for 40% of the pay when she works with BIPOC folx. Did you hear that? Just wanted to point it out.We mentioned Lola’s Ink, a new podcast by Jenna Hanchard which also features a great story from Jenna and guest Jodi-Ann Burey => In A World Full of Karens Be An Elizabeth...check it out!Fleur talked about The Crown Act, created in 2019 to ensure protection against discrimination based on race-based hairstyles by extending statutory protection to hair texture and styles like braids, locs, twists, and knots in the workplace and public schools. Yes, this is still happening.Fleur mentions Resmaa Menakem, therapist and author of books like My Grandmother’s HandsThe Power of a Fundraiser: is an article I wrote, that was referenced...Fleur gives props to Aparna Rae, Ligaya Domingo, Jodi-Ann Burey, Regent Brown, Tami Farber and Michelle GislasonGratitude to Falon Sierra  for letting us use her new song “Sprained Ankles" throughout this episode - its so good right?This is a brand new podcast and we could use all the help we can get! The best way to support us is by subscribing on your fav pod player, rating us (esp on iTunes...yeah, I know) and honestly...share it out to friends and colleagues. The purpose is  Write us any time at hello@theethicalrainmaker.com or visit us at theethicalrainmaker.com.
A beautiful decision made in a time of double pandemic and recession - here are links for content mentioned in the show (and sign up for our mailing list?):Michelle talks with Ananda Valenzuela, Interim Executive Director of RVC, founded by Vu Le of  nonprofitAF.com, about the process around giving raises and retaining staff during a recession.This great blog post Ananda wrote, has links to research (1, 2, 3, 4) and a solid story about investing in staff during a recession, that may help you make the case at your own organization. Ananda refers to: The Advice Process (attributed to Dennis Bakke) is explored by Frédéric LaLoux in a book called Reinventing Organizations which Ananda recommends. Ananda wrote about their passion around self-managing organizations in this great article we didn’t discuss: Sick of both Consensus and Hierarchical Decision Making? There is a Third WayTSNE Mission Works is another capacity building organization Ananda worked at. They sit on the board of Change Elemental (formerly Management Assistance Group) which is guided by these five core principles. So...The last time we saw each other we were both reading N.K. Jemisin - a favorite author for us each.A special thank you to Seattle-band Zoser for letting us use his new song “Quarantine" - just released on August 5th on his new EP “Evolve” - you are gonna love his music! This is a brand new podcast and we could use all the help we can get! The best way to support us is by subscribing on your fav pod player, rating us (esp on iTunes...yeah, I know) and honestly...share it out to friends and colleagues. The purpose is  Write us any time at hello@theethicalrainmaker.com or visit us at theethicalrainmaker.com.
Wanna go down an internet hole? Here are some links for content mentioned in the show (wait, did you already sign up for our mailing list?):In this inaugural episode of The Ethical Rainmaker, Michelle talks with friend and fellow Co-Chair of Community-Centric FundraisingVu Le - is one of the most amplified voices in the nonprofit/philanthropy sector worldwide, by way of his blog, nonprofitAF.com.Vu talks about how two of his blog posts...How Donor-Centrism is Perpetuating Inequality and Why We Must Move Toward Community-Centric FundraisingThe 9 Principles of Community-Centric Fundraising ...sent shock waves throughout the sector, inciting emotion and action. ((BTW there are 10 Principles now and they are ever evolving))Vu mentioned an org that sent their donors So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo as a donor-education tool + book club.His npo experiences include: Beginning his career at Kandelia (formerly Vietnamese Friendship Association)He founded  RVC!He volunteers with National Day Laborer Association (NDLON) and of course, as the Co-Chair of Community-Centric Fundraisingand sits on the boards of at Progress Alliance and Creating The Future And finally:Our most recent vegan ice cream fix came from Frankie & Jo's.A special thank you to Seattle-band Trick Candles for letting us use their self-released single, "I'm Gold." This is a brand new podcast and we could use all the help we can get! The best way to support us is by subscribing on your fav pod player, rating us (esp on iTunes...yeah, I know) and honestly...share it out to friends and colleagues. Write us any time at hello@theethicalrainmaker.com or visit us at theethicalrainmaker.com.
Join us as we explore some of the practices that undermine our missions and navigate the way forward with today's resisters, reimaginers and re-creators of the Third Sector. It's time to think differently!Follow @theethicalrainmaker on Insta or FB and sign up for our list to get updates!
Comments (1)

Rebecca Hinson Beck

What a terrific inaugural episode! I had the pleasure of meeting Vu Le after a conference in North Carolina last year. He is so passionate about the non-profit community and systemic issues that we aspire to correct. His ideas are so fresh and necessary for our sector to make real, lasting change! Great job selecting him as your first interview for this podcast. Keep the real talk coming! ☺️👍

Aug 11th
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