Published in Stanford Social Innovation Review | December 6, 2019
Grantmaking in the #MeToo Era
By Bess Rothenberg
When the #MeToo movement went viral in 2017, an avalanche of revelations rocked the fields that philanthropy invests in, from arts to media to politics. But within a few months, #MeToo complaints began surfacing within philanthropy itself, reminding us that no organization is immune. The allegations were disturbing: of discrimination being repeatedly ignored and of far too many examples of accusers leaving the organization while the accused kept their positions. Boards and funders received reports about serious misconduct yet had not responded. A few cases even involved forcible sexual abuse.
The scale and momentum of the #MeToo movement compelled the Ford Foundation to take a long, hard look in the mirror. What should be our role in responding to abuses of power within the organizations we support? In preventing them? Had we been doing enough?
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