Letting Go

How Philanthropists and Impact Investors Can Do More Good by Giving Up Control

Foreword by Edgar Villanueva

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 Letting Go, Ben Wrobel and Meg Massey tell the story of the funders who have chosen to cede decision-making power to people with lived experience of the problem at hand. The stories range from a global foundation run by and for young feminist activists, to a neighborhood loan fund in Boston controlled by working-class residents of color.

 

As this book reveals, it’s not only possible to shift power in philanthropy and impact investing – it’s imperative in a world where inequality is reaching a breaking point.

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What People Are Saying ...

"Whose voices get heard? Who gets ignored? Ben Wrobel and Meg Massey make a sharp and compelling case for shifting decision-making power – a must-read for the social sector."

- Ben Jealous, former President and CEO, NAACP

"This book is constructive, informed, comprehensive and above all, engrossing. An eye-opening and provocative read for those deploying capital to solve the world's big challenges."


- Tara Sabre Collier, Visiting Fellow, University of Oxford's Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship

"Massey and Wrobel offer an important road map for turning statements of solidarity into meaningful action. Through their thoughtful and accessible framing, the authors outline a pathway forward for asset owners, foundation executives and community members. A critical read for critical times!"


- Jed Emerson, Founder, Blended Value Group

“How can we reimagine a more just world if we don’t consider the redistribution of power as a key element to transformative change? In Letting Go, Ben Wrobel and Meg Massey address this question deeply in their sharp read with real world examples and solutions on how philanthropy and funders can step up by stepping down, and become better allies for the communities they seek to serve.”


- Rodney Foxworth, CEO, Common Future

“Sharing power isn’t just a concept, it’s an action. We have to actually work differently as investors if we want to build community wealth and power, and truly realize the transformative potential of impact investing. This book provides an important roadmap from philosophy to action, and I hope the field will take its lessons to heart!”


- Morgan Simon, Founder, Candide Group

“If our ambition is justice, not charity, then the question of ‘Who decides?’ is key. By interrogating the usual ways we operate, and shar- ing stories of inspiring alternatives, Letting Go is the best introduction to the best ideas for social change.”


- Rose Longhurst, Programme Officer, Open Society Initiative for Europe

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About the Authors

MegMassey_Headshot3
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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 at the Obama White House, and later led strategic communications for the Global Steering Group for Impact Investment and the Urban Institute’s Research to Action Lab. She is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College and Georgetown University.
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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.

Preorder Letting Go

Letting Go will be released on April 15th. Preorder your hardcover copy now and it will ship to you in early April.
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Resources

Blog: Flipping the Power Dynamics in Impact Investing

Deciding Together: A Guide on Participatory Grantmaking

Blog: How Grantmakers Can Get Involved With Participatory Grantmaking — Today

Contact the Authors

Reach out if you’d like to conduct an interview, host a book talk, or just chat.