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2018 Must-Reads

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What is something you read, listened to, or watched this year (regardless of when it came out) that impacted the way you think about your work? And why? We asked folks across the social sector for recommendations and were thrilled to see the incredible list they put together. Here’s what they said. What would you add? Comment below or tweet us.

Recommended by Kerrien Suarez (Equity in the Center)Lupe Poblano (CompassPoint)Dr. John Jackson (Schott Foundation), and Elissa Sloan Perry (Management Assistance Group)

“’Decolonizing Wealth’ is brilliant and groundbreaking!” — Kerrien Suarez, Equity in the Center

Power Moves

Recommended by Jalisa Whitley (Unbound Impact) and Connor Daley (Talent Citizen)

“’Power Moves’ from NCRP reframed my thinking around leveraging and sharing power, and their webinar series was amazing.” — Jalisa Whitley, Unbound Impact

“’Power Moves’ from NCRP has been the most important resource for me this year! It has helped us understand our own power as a firm (a badly under-examined field) and provided our clients and partners with inclusive, equitable tools to gather feedback.” — Connor Daley, Talent Citizen

We Too Sing America: South Asian, Arab, Muslim, and Sikh Immigrants Shape Our Multiracial Future

Recommended by Neesha Modi (Kresge Foundation)

“As an Indian American in this work, ‘We Too Sing America’ by Deepa Iyer has been personally profound.” — Neesha Modi, Kresge Foundation

The Mighty Miss Malone

Recommended by James Siegal (KaBOOM!)

“I read (with my 12-year-old daughter) ‘The Mighty Miss Malone’ by Christopher Paul Curtis. It’s a vivid, Depression-era portrait of 12-year-old Deza Malone, a girl with endless potential who is faced with challenges no kid should face – at the intersection of race, gender, class, and place.” — James Siegal, KaBOOM!

Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds

Recommended by Lupe Poblano (CompassPoint)Elissa Sloan Perry (Management Assistance Group), and Shawn Dove (Campaign for Black Male Achievement)

“Although I read adrienne maree brown’s ‘Emergent Strategy’ a couple years ago, it’s still active in my life and often in my suitcase!” — Elissa Sloan Perry, Management Assistance Group

“Introduced just this year to adrienne maree brown’s ‘Emergent Strategy.’ Been moving and marinating at a reflective pace! She says we should ‘see our own lives and work and relationships as a front line, a first place we can practice justice, liberation, and alignment with each other and the planet.’” — Shawn Dove, Campaign for Black Male Achievement

Early Learnings from the Reframing Washington Empowerment Fund: Part 1 and Part 2

Recommended by Jalisa Whitley (Unbound Impact)

“I love the Weissberg Foundation’s blog, in particular their learnings from their Reframing Washington Empowerment Fund. It’s a great model of funder transparency.” — Jalisa Whitley, Unbound Impact

Entangled Roots: The Role of Race in Policies that Separate Families

Recommended by Alicia S. Guevara Warren (Michigan League for Public Policy)

“For me over the last year, I’ve done a lot of reading on the trauma caused by parental separation. I have been particularly moved by those who have been so courageous to share their stories—written and through video—to spur action and help people understand the impact the policy to separate families at the border was having. One report that I think is particularly helpful was from the Center for the Study of Social Policy called ‘Entangled Roots: The Role of Race in Policies that Separate Families.’ It helps to show all of the systems where we have policies that separate children and the roots of racism in those policies. It includes actions and recommendations, which is always important in policy work!” — Alicia S. Guevara Warren, Michigan League for Public Policy

Scene on Radio: Seeing White Series

Recommended by Nicky Goren (Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation)

“The podcast series from ‘Scene on Radio’ called ‘Seeing White’ should be required listening for white people, particularly those embarking on racial equity work in philanthropy.” — Nicky Goren, Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation

“We need to correct and reframe our history.” — Nicky Goren, Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation; Relevant recommendations from Nicky: Doctrine of Discovery (video) and Uncivil (podcast)

Does Collective Impact Really Make an Impact?

Recommended by Sara Gibson (20 Degrees)

“This piece really got at the [heart] of collective impact—how hard it is and how it really works, if you give it enough time and really involve the right people.” — Sara Gibson, 20 Degrees

Toward One Oregon: Rural-Urban Interdependence and the Evolution of a State

Recommended by Colin Clemente Jones (Collins Foundation)

“My reading this year has really honed my thinking on power and place. For me, ‘Toward One Oregon’ from Oregon State University Press is at the top of the list. Definitely paradigm-shifting.” — Colin Clemente Jones, Collins Foundation

Additional recommendations by Colin: A Lot to Ask of a NameCity of Segregation: One Hundred Years of Struggle for Housing in Los Angeles, and There Goes the Gayborhood?

“People follow you because of what you believe is possible, yes, for them as a team, and more importantly for each of them individually.” — MarkSteven Reardon, consultant; quote shared by Janice Johnson Dias, PhD (GrassROOTS Community Foundation) 

M Archive: After the End of the World

Recommended by Elissa Sloan Perry (Management Assistance Group)

Raising Kings: A year of love and struggle at Ron Brown College Prep

Recommended by Dale Erquiaga (Communities In Schools) — See also this follow-up episode

The Need to Double Down

Recommended by Darell Hammond (formerly of KaBOOM!)

What Every BODY is Saying

Recommended by Andres Gonzalez (Holistic Life Foundation)

“It greatly enhanced my ability to read people and to better communicate with them based on some of their non-verbal cues.” — Andres Gonzalez, Holistic Life Foundation


Get insights, advice, and resources every few months.

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