We have the power to make systems change: A candid conversation with Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal & Sudha Nandagopal

SVPI 12/06/2021
A note from SVP International Director of Network Learning, Rachel Sample:

Taking a bird’s eye view keeps me inspired and resilient in our work toward bold systemic change. I’m always looking toward experts to expand my thinking, and this week I offer up this fireside chat between SVP International CEO, Sudha Nandagopal, and U.S. Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal.

In this candid and intimate exchange, I was struck by the insight and passion both these leaders have for a more just future. It was clear to me that even in the face of the complex context around us we can still meet this moment when we focus on structural changes based on equitable and people-first values.

SVP International CEO Sudha Nandagopal, left, and U.S. Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal discuss building power.

So much of what Congresswoman Jayapal spoke to was aligned with our network ethos: Engaged Venture Philanthropy, Entrepreneurial Spirit, Philanthropic Education, Community and Collaborative action, Mutual Respect, Accountability & Results.

Here are my take-aways — and I highly recommend you watch the whole conversation (scroll down to watch the full video below):

  • Massive inequities are the threat to democracy — to build a more just and democratic future we must keep closing the wealth and opportunity gaps in our communities.
  • Funding is only one part of the puzzle — folks with access and economic power can and should leverage their voices to advocate for those most affected by injustice. To quote Congresswoman Jayapal, “You have a voice, it’s a powerful voice, don’t be afraid to use it.”
  • Leaning into discomfort and being at your learning edge creates a moment for change.
  • The challenges we are facing are global challenges — what happens in one locality impacts another. As a network of local Affiliates, we are necessarily drawn to local impact, however it’s critical for systems change that we think and act globally as well. It’s in threading the needle of this tension that we will be able to flex our collective power to create more just systems.
  • Upstream solutions are an investment in the potential of people. Those investments are what’s needed to respect human rights, dignity and each of our possible futures and to become our best selves.
  • Deep structural change in systems will take a creative reimagining — and it’s this bold dreaming and innovation that’s needed rather than incremental adjustments to the status quo.

As we reimagine giving together I encourage you to think about your positionality and where you have leverage to lean in and make change.

Watch the whole interview here:

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