Embrace Unlikely Allies, Charles Koch Foundation President Brian Hooks Tells Philanthropy Leaders

On Tuesday, Charles Koch Foundation President Brian Hooks participated in a panel discussion for the Council on Foundations’ Leading Together conference in Miami. The panel, entitled Successful Philanthropy for the Future: Challenging Our Assumptions about Giving to Lead Together, brought together foundation leaders and advocates who are working to challenge fellow philanthropic foundations to focus on greater collaboration between philanthropy and social entrepreneurs

Hooks spoke of the importance of working with a diverse coalition of partners who represent a broad range of perspectives who can challenge us to bring about the change we all want to see in society. “We need to embrace partnerships with a spirit of love and respect and acknowledge what others bring to the table,” Hooks said.

Over the last several years, the Charles Koch Foundation has become a leader in criminal justice reform and has worked with organizations as diverse as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF), and Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM). The Charles Koch Foundation also works closely with Stand Together, a group that currently partners with over 114 social entrepreneurs from across the country who are transforming their local communities by breaking the cycle of poverty, combating addiction, and lowering recidivism rates for those reentering society.

Hooks said that to be truly transformational in the future, philanthropic foundations need to be willing to take risks and work with unlikely allies, even if our differences cause us to feel “really uncomfortable.” And if we do not take this important step in the pursuit of what is right, “we aren’t doing our job,” he says.

The more foundations are willing to “stretch the canvas” of what is possible by working alongside those with diverse opinions, the stronger our efforts to make lasting change will be so we can make the impossible, the inevitable

Watch the video of the panel discussion here.

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