by Edgar Villanueva
Decolonizing Wealth is a provocative analysis of the dysfunctional colonial dynamics at play in philanthropy and finance. Award-winning philanthropy executive Edgar Villanueva draws from the traditions from the Native way to prescribe the medicine for restoring balance and healing our divides.
Though it seems counterintuitive, the philanthropic industry has evolved to mirror colonial structures and reproduces hierarchy, ultimately doing more harm than good. After 14 years in philanthropy, Edgar Villanueva has seen past the field's glamorous, altruistic façade, and into its shadows: the old boy networks, the savior complexes, and the internalized oppression among the house slaves, and those select few people of color who gain access. All these funders reflect and perpetuate the same underlying dynamics that divide Us from Them and the haves from have-nots. In equal measure, he denounces the reproduction of systems of oppression while also advocating for an orientation towards justice to open the floodgates for a rising tide that lifts all boats. In the third and final section, Villanueva offers radical provocations to funders and outlines his Seven Steps for Healing.
With great compassion--because the Native way is to bring the oppressor into the circle of healing--Villanueva is able to both diagnose the fatal flaws in philanthropy and provide thoughtful solutions to these systemic imbalances. Decolonizing Wealth is a timely and critical book that preaches for mutually assured liberation in which we are all inter-connected.
"Edgar has gone out on a limb to help lead us to a place of healing. He bravely calls out the power dynamics within the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors, particularly the white supremacy institutionally embedded into the system of nonprofit supplicant and philanthropic largesse." --Kathy Ko Chin, President and CEO, Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum
"Due to years of detrimental federal Indian policy and discriminatory economic systems, Native American communities have been marginalized and left out of the economic opportunity experienced by other Americans. Edgar offers a new vision and an Indigenous perspective that can put us on a better path. Everyone should read Decolonizing Wealth, especially those who control the flow of resources in government, philanthropy, and finance." --LaDonna Harris (Comanche), politician, activist, and founder of Americans for Indian Opportunity
About the Author:
Edgar Villanueva is a nationally recognized expert on social justice philanthropy. He has consulted with numerous philanthropies on advancing racial equity. He is an enrolled member of the Lumbee Tribe and resides in New York City.