“CFN: What mindsets do you think philanthropists and investors need to maximize their impact?
Palmer: First, we have to approach things from a systems perspective. It makes no sense to think about things in isolation.
Second, we need to bring all kinds of capital and approaches to bear. We can’t approach the big challenges we’re facing with just philanthropy or investment. It isn’t one or the other; we need both.
Third, we need to collaborate far more. People talk about collaborating, but we’re not doing it at the level we need to across all sectors – government, philanthropy, investing. The innovation is happening at the intersection of sectors where people are starting to come together.
It’s important to remember that this collaborative approach is countercultural. It defies the dominant narratives of capitalism and individualism. We’re not very good at collaboration and we don’t reward it, but, at the end of the day, collaborative efforts have much greater potential for impact.
Fourth, we have to be bold, dream big, and reach for what we actually want. We have to reinvent our expectations for communities, landscapes and economies. We don’t have the language to describe the relationships we want to have with each other and the natural world. We need to create that.
Finally, one of most important things is to approach this work with humility. We have a tremendous amount to learn from each other, and we can’t do it alone. It’s pioneering work – and we need to blaze the trail together with our community partners and capital partners.”