One “new normal” that I am fully embracing in the wake of the global pandemic is a more widespread awareness that structural inequalities are real, and can be changed with enlightened giving.
What is more local than your own body? Literally nothing.
The way your body is treated, both as a patient and socially, as you move through the world may depend on what body you are in.
When it comes to breast cancer research, the work of the Dr. Susan Love Breast Cancer Research Foundation has consistently started with the bodies of women, while also setting sights on a very distant horizon. Big goals. Research. Remapping priorities. In other words, what matters most is your body and the research and treatment that determines outcomes. But who gets healthy? Who has more obstacles to navigate in their community? These questions have complex answers tied to our history, our institutions, and our attitudes.
Invariably, these big and sometimes abstract questions get answered in communities. Close to home. That’s where giving matters immensely. Building capacity at the local level is the critical work of our new normal. Connecting in communities is how everyone gets well and stays well. Giving to ensure more and better for communities of color and any “othered” group is the way to make the change you want to see in the world. Acknowledging structural inequities is a good start, but it’s an idea. Funding community-based health, social service, arts, and cultural institutions operating on the ground, and delivering services is the re-focus philanthropy needs next.
Thinking big leads to breakthroughs.
But thinking about, and supporting, communities gives each of us, whatever body we are in, ways to navigate between home and the hope on the horizon.