The Ethos of Being Trust-Based Session 1 | Permission to Pause: You Have To Go Slowly To Go Far

About the Series

The Ethos of Being Trust-Based, developed by Trust-Based Philanthropy Project, Philanthropy CA, and Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, is a webinar series dedicated to exploring the fundamental values and dispositions central to a trust-based approach. At the heart of this work is a deep focus on building trust and relationships at every level, both internally and externally. This requires constant self-examination, a cultivation of interpersonal skills, a willingness to reimagine and adjust organizational practices, and an understanding of the greater systemic factors that have given way to the institution of philanthropy as a whole. It requires that we see and name how racial inequities have been perpetuated in our institutions, behaviors, and practices, even as we strive to alleviate them. Trust-based philanthropy invites us to understand and take action on these ideas at the personal, interpersonal, organizational, and systemic levels in order to interrupt the perpetuation of power imbalances in our sector.

Between the global pandemic and this country’s racial reckoning, our interconnectedness, and inequalities, have never been clearer. From this reality, how can we cultivate trust-based dispositions that support mutuality throughout crisis response, and beyond? 

  • How can we seize the potential for redistribution of power, especially to benefit communities that have been systematically oppressed? 
  • How might we fully embody partnership in a spirit of service? 
  • What context is essential for us to understand? 
  • What behaviors do we need to un-learn? 
  • And can we embrace and sustain self-reflection and generative listening as must-have tools for transformation? 

Join the Trust-Based Philanthropy Project, Philanthropy California, and GEO as we explore these questions and examine the aspects of trust-building essential for a strong and healthy ecosystem at all levels: individually, interpersonally, inter-organizationally, and systemically. Each webinar will: 1) feature seasoned perspectives on some of the overarching concepts related to trust-based values and dispositions; 2) include stories and lessons from funders who try to live and breathe relational values; and, 3) offer space for small group reflection on how to cultivate what’s required to embed a trust-based ethos in our philanthropic practice.

About Session 1: Permission to Pause — You Have To Go Slowly To Go Far

The work we do in philanthropy—and the work of our nonprofit partners—is not immune to the complexities and chaos of a changing world. Amidst a global pandemic, threats to our democracy, and environmental devastation,  we are pushed to be hyperproductive problem-solvers. While these tendencies are brought to bear “in the heat of the moment,” they’re limiting over the long-term, especially when strategic thinking and attuned sensitivities are needed. We cultivate the latter by slowing down, stilling our minds, getting in touch with signals from our body, and allowing the resulting data to inform our action. Beneath our professional titles and roles, trust-based philanthropy acknowledges that we are one piece of a longer arc of time and a larger ecosystem, and that sometimes, we have to go slowly if we want to go far. In this session, we’ll:

  • Explore diverse reflective practices that support us to slow down;
  • Learn how to clearly see and check in with our intention and motivation before acting; 
  • Understand how habitual ways of responding, sometimes rooted in our own trauma, can sometimes sabotage authentic relationship and trust-building;
  • Learn strategies for moving from habitual response into choice; and,
  • Explore ways funders can support grantee partners and colleagues in cultivating these skills.


  • Pia Infante, Co-Executive Director, The Whitman Institute 
  • Supriya Lopez Pillai, Executive Director, Hidden Leaf Foundation 
  • Eva Liu, Chief Strategy & Operations Officer, Chicago Beyond 
  • Carlos Medina, San Diego Grantmakers (Moderator)



Event type: 

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