Language as a Barrier or a Boon to Funding Progress

person speaking in a meeting, referencing an open laptop and papers on the desk in front of him.

A 2013 study by Grantmakers for Southern Progress (GSP) titled As the South Goes: Philanthropy and Social Justice in the US South states “The choice to use social justice language or not is both ideological and political. The question for Southern and national funders interested in fostering new partnerships with each other is how rigidly they hold to their ideologies and politics.” This study conducted one-on-one interviews with both national and Southern funders to determine the language patterns that they typically use to describe their goals, as well as the effectiveness of different vocabulary used in dialogue. They found that Southern funders and national funders often share common goals, but can differ in the ways that they describe those goals, based on the common values of each of their physical localities. GSP published its results in a companion piece titled Words Matter: Language and Social Justice Funding in the US South