By Ana Maria Enriquez, Executive Director, HRFN

Societies around the world are facing complex health, economic, social, climate, and democratic crises. And these crises are intersectoral. Within philanthropy, we have a rare opportunity to come together across issues and sectors to strengthen the most insightful and committed responses to these crises. It is time for us to look to one another and ask how we can responsibly leverage resources to increase the wellbeing of humanity. 

This is a task that no one entity can tackle alone, and it requires combining tactics effectively and efficiently to make sure all fronts are covered. To do this, Human Rights Funders Network (HRFN) is embarking on an audience research project called “Connecting Philanthropy” to understand the thoughts, beliefs, and wants of individuals in the field of philanthropy in order to be able to reach across the aisle, collaborate, and engage in the best ways possible. Now more than ever, we must take an honest look at ourselves and the range of values we bring to this work. We invite you to join us in the quest.

Connecting Philanthropy is an earnest attempt to understand the full spectrum of perspectives in philanthropy globally. At HRFN, we believe the field can – and must – redefine the role of philanthropy during these uncertain times to meet the courage of those whom the field funds, but it must do so with a comparable degree of courage and innovation.

We’ve been working closely with a research team at Bridges/Puentes and Sensata to launch a global study of philanthropic funders and grantees. We are making an effort to innovate. This research is not only about engaging some of philanthropy. It is about providing an open resource about and for all of philanthropy. 

The survey is fun, quick, bilingual, anonymous, and easily shareable. Respondents can give thumbs up or down to capitalism, say how much God matters, or tell us what they really think about key issues of the day. All in five minutes. Using game-like design, the survey is based on robust methods with an eye for surfacing what matters most to individuals at all levels of giving and receiving funding. All responses are completely anonymous, even to the research team. When people finish, they can see select aggregated responses in real-time – that is, they can see what others are saying, too. Today.

Beyond the survey itself, this project is based on principles of open data. The aggregated and anonymous survey findings will be shared publicly as a resource for the field. This analysis will include a summary of values and perspectives that shape philanthropic funding around the world. Finally, collected data will also be available upon request. Again, we understand how much candid responses matter: all findings and data will be completely anonymous and only ever aggregated at levels that retain this standard.

We hope you will join us in advancing this collective understanding of the field of philanthropy. We want to hear YOUR voice. Take the survey by February 15th and make your voice heard.

The more people we reach, the more deeply we will be able to find areas of action together. We hope that you will also consider sharing it with people in your network, with individuals at all levels of giving, and with those in civil society whose vital work relies on grants and other forms of funding (the survey is also available in Spanish. And join us for debates, discussions, and action-oriented collaboration as a field dedicated to building bridges.

Ana María Enríquez, Executive Director, Human Rights Funders Network (HRFN), leads the network’s efforts to connect intellectuals, artists, and social movement leaders with philanthropy, promoting dialogues and strategies across sectors. She has over 20 years of experience working in the USA, Europe and Latin America. An intersectional feminist with expertise in gender justice issues, Ana María has worked with global private foundations, multilaterals, and NGOs advancing human rights around the world.

Ana Maria Enriquez, Executive Director, HRFN

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