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IHRFG's San Francisco Pre-Conference Institute

Pre-Conference Institute

Examining Our Effectiveness in Working Across Cultures

Monday, January 23, 2012
San Francisco, California

Organized by the International Development Exchange (IDEX)

Institute Agenda

Have you ever wondered whether our human rights grantmaking - which attempts to address the root causes of poverty, injustice, and inequity - actually reinforces or addresses powerlessness and exclusion among our grantees? This Institute examined how power and privilege are redistributed through the act of grantmaking.

  • What is cultural competency? What is its role in human rights grantmaking? What does it have to do with power, partnership, and grantmaking effectiveness?
  • How can donors address power dynamics and create effective alliances that enhance grantmaking partnerships?
  • Are existing cultural "incompetencies" standing in the way of the goals we seek to fulfill with our grantmaking? If so, what would it take to address them?

"Cultural competency" is defined as possessing a set of values and principles as well as behaviors and attitudes that enable individuals to work effectively across cultures. It goes beyond "cultural sensitivity" and demonstrates a capacity to value diversity, conduct self-assessment, manage the dynamics of difference, and adapt to the cultural contexts of the communities we serve. 

In this Institute, participants explored cultural competency successes and challenges in their own practice. Examples will be drawn from grantmaking in South Asia, Southern Africa, and Eastern Africa, where issues of politics, gender, caste, and class all play an important role in resource allocation for local communities. 

Review the agenda.

Participants learned about:

  • Developing  partnership criteria and programmatic priorities in consultation with grantee partners 
  • Developing site visit protocols with particular attention to how power and culture interact when hosting visitors/delegations
  • Making the most of a grantmaker's convening power to stimulate discussions on the often ignored issue of power and privilege

The objectives of the Institute were to:

  • understand how analyses of power - with respect to race, caste, class, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and nationality - are critical to advancing human rights-based grantmaking in a globalized world
  • reflect on their own grantmaking practice and explore areas of enhancing current practice with respect to cultural sensitivity
  • establish clear next steps in institutionalizing cultural competency in concrete ways within their own grantmaking organization

Background Resources
Read the In Focus article, "The Practice of Human Rights Grantmaking" by IDEX's Executive Driector, Rajasvini Bhansali.

Attendance Eligibility
IHRFG events are open to grantmakers and invited speakers only. Current IHRFG members and individuals who are eligible for membership may attend the institute.

IHRFG membership is open to staff, consultants and trustees of private foundations, corporate foundations, community giving programs, governmental giving programs, faith-based giving programs, philanthropic advocacy and support organizations, individual philanthropists with significant giving programs, and public charities (public foundations and community foundations) whose primary activity is grantmaking and who do not relate to other IHRFG members primarily as grant-seekers.

Please note: Staff of grantmaking institutions (that are also grant-seeking organizations) whose functions are solely or primarily fundraising are not eligible for participation.

Participation Fee and Capacity
The cost to attend the Institute wasUS$150. The maximum number of participants was30.

Registration is now closed.

Conference Venue
Marriott San Francisco Union Square Hotel
480 Sutter Street (and Powell Street)
San Francisco, California 49108 USA

This venue is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Please contact Azeen Salimi, IHRFG Program Manager
Phone: +1.646.381.7583
Email: asalimi [at] ihrfg [dot] org