Skip to content

At the Social Sector Crossroads: A Different, More Enlightened Path

What must we do when the walls of our communal house crumble, revealing the weakness of its foundations and infrastructure? The need for repair and renovation becomes urgent. We at TCC Group show up with our values and our skills, ready to re-examine the status quo, orchestrate consensus, and catalyze change. As habitual processes camouflage structural flaws, we emphasize the limits of one entity acting alone – we are all part of a larger interconnected network. The post-pandemic journey, which promises to be rewarding, begins while standing in a world of stale assumptions and glaring social inequities.

A closer look reveals a hopefulness in our present reality; the response to our struggling social sector has been an unprecedented influx of both financial resources and moral resolve. We are at a nexus of crisis and a fresh readiness to confront problems at their root causes.  The road to expanded healthcare, distribution of leadership and resources, social and racial justice begins at this crossroad.

TCC Group has been rigorous in our self-examination: Is there anything we have persistently missed when confronted with complex problems? Have we truly acknowledged imbalance – both within our own walls and in our relationships with others – and are we vigilant and careful to recalibrate and reassess? How do we remain decisive and bold, yet agile enough to meet the consistent disequilibrium?

TCC has several stakes in the shifting ground. We observe and engage three core principles — Equity, Opportunity, and Accountability. Our values, principles, and desired outcomes serve us as we acknowledge the cross-pollination and inextricable linkage of all three. We lean on them as we integrate our teams’ initiatives and coordinate social sector stakeholders — funders, nonprofits, communities, and others critical to collaboratively forging new paths.


Equity is the lens through which we filter our thinking – our work’s through-line – and the most pervasive priority surfacing across the sector. We are committed to a culture of integrated engagement. This can mean asking reorienting questions about funder/grantee power dynamics as well as incorporating knowledge and experience of those with lived experience. It requires a clear-eyed examination of our own biases along with keenly attuned listening to those on the front lines. This governs the way we approach our work – from philanthropic strategy to stakeholder engagement.

Equity considerations inform every aspect of the evaluation and learning process from the start — questions asked, who gets to answer them, and how to prioritize data. When it comes to organizational strengthening, we need to question whose notion of “what good looks like” will serve as the arbiter of best practice.

As organizations have grown programmatically from our recent crises, they must now newly examine the who, what and how of the present moment. Some have edged toward correcting racial and gender equity imbalances and now need to shape and strengthen their new positions into sustainable norms. This is not just a matter of who is more equitably served, but of re-examining the what: that is, building out an inclusive sector within which other social sector actors can intersect. Taken together, the who and the what spotlight the how – the development of new mechanisms and learning modules to truly embrace equity.

Many organizations are not quite ready to explore equitable strategic engagement, no matter how great their desire.  Based on reciprocal trust, TCC builds relationships that decode resistance to help clients grow at their own pace, their distinct potential amplified. In this way, TCC supports the kind of deep analysis and restructuring that removes barriers to equity, even formerly invisible ones tipped into the light


The current moment is vivid in its paradox. The influx of philanthropic resources confronts not only a health disaster and a racial reckoning, but the widespread burn-out and post-pandemic fatigue left in its wake. This malaise can actually spell opportunity: It is time to create more mental space for engagement.  The “capacity” of capacity building must be re-assessed.  In our desire to broaden our relevance and access to a wider range of nonprofits, including smaller, rural and grassroots initiatives, TCC has deepened its receptivity, tailoring our approach and reassessing our appreciation of “localized need.” We have supported funders and critical social sector intermediaries to open opportunities for those historically ignored essential grassroots nonprofits from which we have so much to learn.

Opportunity is created with the introduction of new tools: All teams practice quicker turnarounds, hackathons and rapid-cycle learning to re-energize engagement in an exhausted sector. Open-ended questions allow stakeholders to tell their own stories, leading to greater alignment of values and effective communication.

In this way, TCC invites organizations of all types to build out a more expansive understanding of their “relational capacity” and the advantages of being open to the influence and impact of others.  We strengthen those often overlooked and essential partnership muscles required to further health resources, along with gender, racial and economic justice.


Re-imagined social ecosystem accountability throughout the social sector presents an exciting opportunity. Historically, accountability has implied a one-directional report from grantee to funder. Current trends support a shared and reciprocal accountability and a growing appreciation on the part of funders that their success resides in their increased commitment to humility and learning. How, funders ask, can they hold themselves accountable for their equity commitments to those they support?

TCC encourages bi-lateral, reciprocal trust-building, access granting, and power distribution. TCC seeks to re-center accountability – asking sharp, probing, and provocative questions about underlying power structures and buried assumptions, in balance with nuanced navigation of deeper conflicts and resistance to change. With patience and persistence, TCC offers an individualized approach to change, growth, and the accountability it brings with it.  We lay the groundwork and then, with deft, deliberate, and nuanced navigation, we introduce new pathways to shared accountability, centered in trust and propelled by shared purpose.

When systems are stressed and scutinized, formerly invisible fault-lines can become glaring. With urgency, shared vision and renewed strength, we lean into the pillars of equity, opportunity, and accountability to rebuild shattered structures and invigorate a more equitable, more vibrant, more agile and imaginative social sector. Standing at this crossroads, we invite you to collaborate with us as we advance an enlightened approach to solving complex problems together. Contact us here to learn more.

Stay Updated

Join our email list to stay updated with TCC Group’s practices, tools, and resources.