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Decolonizing Wealth

Indigenous Wisdom to Heal Divides and Restore Balance
Narrated by: Larry Herron
Length: 6 hrs and 5 mins
5 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2018 Edgar Villanueva (P)2018 Edgar Villanueva

Critic Reviews

Decolonizing Wealth offers a refreshing and inspired look at how wealth can better serve the needs of communities of color and atone for the ways in which it has traditionally been used to inflict harm and division. Using a solutions-oriented framing, Edgar makes a solid case for how Indigenous wisdom can be used as a guiding light to achieve greater equity in the funding and philanthropic world.” (Kevin Jennings, President, Tenement Museum)

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Profile Image for Alida Cardos Whaley
  • Alida Cardos Whaley
  • 03-07-2019

must-read for philanthropists

I enjoyed this book. As a cultural community organizer I found it useful. while it may be most geared towards philanthropists, it is definitely great for all people in non-profit work and involved with community.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Judith
  • 11-05-2019

Healing the divides

This book opens one's mind open to transforming possibilities of connecting with others by laying out the past in a very precise and compelling way. The book was filled with as the author calls it "medicine" for healing what divides us. If you are up to even one-non-fiction book this is the one to read. Offers possibility hope and a better world in one book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Charles
  • 24-09-2019

A different Perspective on Wealth

I appreciated a new look at an old problem. It was very honest without blame and gave insight into the World view that is a huge component in the definition of the problem. I highly recommend it if you are interested in Social Justice.

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  • Mz. Decaf
  • 28-08-2019

An Awakening Phenomena

I stumbled across this book searching the web researching philanthropy. I wanted to know the who, what, when and hows of the business. The information was riveting to my soul, To listen to this book knowing what I already knew about the struggles of failing small non-profit organizations gave me several "oh my" moments. The dynamics and the delivery of this book is phenomenal! Edgar did a great job explaining and teaching the dark side of Philanthropy and what we all need to do to begin fixing it. Buy it now!

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  • Will Szal
  • 19-04-2019

Why do we let people with money have power?

Edgar Villanueva is a Native American philanthropist (despite his working class upbringing). This book is written primarily for other philanthropists.

Villanueva asks a lot of great questions about wealth, power, and racism. Why do we give people with money power in philanthropy (as opposed to ceding this power to those most intimate with the problems)? White supremacy is a big part of the way that philanthropy works.

Villanuava calls out the foundations that ignore the externalities caused by their return-chasing endowments. He also speaks to the importance of grieving—something we generally don't hear a lot about in the workplace.

This book feels to me like a bit of a companion text to Anand Giridharadas' "Winners Take All."

The title oversells the book for me. Although Villanueva covers a lot of ground in the book, I don't think he accomplishes the task of describing what it might look like to decolonize wealth.

I also take serious issue with his claim that money is neutral. Evolution in this arena requires a nuanced language and understanding surrounding the numerous role money play, and the many flavors in which it comes. For example, using gold as money has significant social implications, as opposed to the US dollar or time banking.

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  • T.N.
  • 04-02-2019

Eye opening

I was unaware of the world of philanthropy before reading this book. It makes decolonization appear easier than I thought previously. Too good to be true? But the stories about alternative concepts of wealth and value are worth it.

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  • Wendi
  • 13-01-2019

Very Enlightening

I enoyed listening and gained insight and understanding. Excellent narration. It is worth hearing again.

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  • Abriel Johnny-Rodriguez
  • 21-12-2018

Great book

Edgar Villanueva touches on so much more than just money. He dives into all connecting factors and influences of why money is managed or addressed in such a colonized mindset. I really enjoyed the book.

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  • 匿名
  • 06-12-2018

Gratitude!

Sherri Urann

Thank you for sharing awareness on both the origins of our financial system, and the possibilities for money to become medicine. Beautifully read by Mr. Herron, as well!