Technological Progress: If technology is getting exponentially cheaper and faster, how will that change the way that citizens are connected and how they interact with their communities? Social media gives the broad community almost the same reach as trusted news organizations, we have seen this with Arab Spring and now Black Lives Matter. Will new voices be heard & is philanthropy prepared to hear those voices?
Environmental decline: As natural and man-made disasters become more common how can philanthropy be prepared before disaster strikes? Can philanthropy develop relationships proactively before a disaster happens to make sure that trusted nonprofit organizations can act as immediate responders to community needs?
Rise of conscious capitalism: As consumers become more aware of where they spend their money, business owners have an increased incentive to care about the double bottom line. We will also see a huge increase in social entrepreneurs and B Corporation working on issues that have traditionally been under the domain of government or philanthropy. What new solutions will they bring? Will we be at the same tables to talk about those solutions?
Leadership Pipelines in our organizations: The amount of time that individual employees spend in an organization is rapidly decreasing. By some estimates Millennials will work in 15-20 organizations over the course of their careers. How can our organizations strengthen our knowledge management systems to ensure that new perspectives in our organization add value, while not losing the lessons of the past?
Racial Equity Tipping Point: More and more foundations, business, and government institutions are paying attention to racial equity issues within their organizations and in the community. We are seeing more policies being developed about use of minority vendors and increased scrutiny of grantmaking and hiring practices. As our community becomes more diverse, these strategies will become even more important.
About: Trista Harris is a philanthropic futurist and the President of the Minnesota Council on Foundations. MCF works actively to expand and strengthen a vibrant community of diverse grantmakers who individually and collectively advance the common good. MCF members represent three-quarters of all grantmaking in the state, awarding more than $1 billion annually.