Edgar Villanueva Profile

  • Best-Selling Author of Decolonizing Wealth.

  • Expert on the Intersection of Race, Power, and Wealth.

  • Edgar Villanueva is an award-winning author, activist, and expert on issues of race, wealth, and philanthropy, and the Principal of Decolonizing Wealth Project and Liberated Capital. His bestselling book, Decolonizing Wealth (2018, 2021), has been called a ‘wake-up call’ to philanthropy. Edgar advises a range of organizations including national and global philanthropies, Fortune 500 companies, and entertainment on social impact strategies to advance racial equity from within and through their investment strategies.

    In 2018, Edgar released his first book, Decolonizing Wealth, which offers hopeful and compelling alternatives to the dynamics of colonization in the philanthropic and social finance sectors. Due to the success of Decolonizing Wealth and the request for programs and education about decolonization,  Edgar launched the Decolonizing Wealth Project (DWP) in late 2018.

    In 2019, he founded Liberated Capital, a participatory grantmaking fund directed by DWP that invites individuals and organizations to give through a reparations model that trusts and supports the leadership of those most impacted by historical and systemic racism. The fund welcomes support from all who are committed to collectively healing the wounds of colonialism and white supremacy by using money as medicine to shape an equitable future.

    He holds two degrees from the Gillings Global School of Public Health at The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. Edgar is an enrolled member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina and resides in Brooklyn, NY.

    Edgar Villanueva Speaking Videos

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    Edgar Villanueva's Speech Descriptions

    The intersection of race, power, and wealth

    Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging

    Community and human-centered corporate social responsibility (CSR) and social impact (SI).

    Edgar’s Seven Steps to Healing from Decolonizing Wealth (applied to both organizations and individuals)

    Climate change & sustainability

    Food and land sovereignty

    Employee Resource Group (ERG) engagement

    Indigenous and other communities of color power building

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    – Montana Nonprofit Association

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    Books by Edgar Villanueva:

    Decolonizing Wealth: Indigenous Wisdom to Heal Divides and Restore Balance

    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.

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