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Episode 4: Edgar Villanueva

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The Leading From the Inside Out Podcast
Duration: 29:54
In this month’s Leading From The Inside Out podcast, Darlene talks philanthropy, decolonization, family, healing, and music with Edgar Villanueva, Vice President of Programs and Advocacy for the Schott Foundation and author of Decolonizing Wealth.
The song in this episode is "Addis Ababa" by The Min
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In this month’s Leading From The Inside Out podcast, Darlene talks philanthropy, decolonization, family, healing, and music with Edgar Villanueva, Vice President of Programs and Advocacy for the Schott Foundation and author of Decolonizing Wealth.
The song in this episode is "Addis Ababa" by The Mini Vandals.
Episode Transcript:
Darlene: 00:06 Hello, I'm Darlene Nipper, CEO of Rockwood Leadership Institute, and your host for this episode of Leading from the Inside Out. My guest today is Edgar Villanueva, Vice President of Programs and Advocacy at the Schott Foundation for Public Education and the author of Decolonizing Wealth, Indigenous Wisdom to Heal Divides and Restore Balance. Edgar, welcome to the podcast.
Edgar: 00:31 Thank you. It's a pleasure to be on with you.
Darlene: 00:33 Thank you for saying yes. We really appreciate it. I would actually offer you a second to just add anything by way of introduction of yourself that you think I should mention.
Edgar: 00:43 Sure. Well, thanks again for having me on and hello to all of the Rockwood family and the friends of Rockwood, folks listening in. Of course I was so happy to do a conversation with you, Darlene. Because of our personal relationship and our professional relationship and all that Rockwood has meant to me. It really was a very pivotal moment in my life when I went through my experience with Rockwood and everything that I'm doing now kind of sprang from that week that I spent in California. So it all comes back full circle. So yeah, happy to be on here and to talk about the work that I've been doing over the past year with this book. And it's an exciting time to be indigenous, it's a exciting, terrifying time to be in this movement work. I think leadership is demanding all types of new things from us that we have to step into. So thanks for the work that you do and for having me.
Darlene: 01:48 Absolutely. And I'm glad that you mentioned this moment. I want to, we'll come back to that, but I want to take you back maybe by way of your website where you mentioned your mother was the first philanthropist that you knew. And I would love for you to share a little bit just going back about more about your family and community and you talked about your indigenous identity, but go back a little bit and how that relates to philanthropy for you.
Edgar: 02:27 Sure. You're asking me who's my people, right? Yeah. So I am from, originally from North Carolina, from the Lumbee tribe. We are a tribe that is in South East, North Carolina, a very rural, impoverished area. And my mom was a teen mother and at age five she scooped me up and we moved to the big city of Raleigh, North Carolina. That's about probably about an hour and a half West of our tribal community. And so I think when I say that my mom was the first philanthropist that I knew, a couple of reasons that I say that. One, for me and my background coming from poverty and a community that is very marginalized and does not have a lot of resources or power. I was not growing up rubbing elbows with the Rockefellers of the world, yet traditions of giving and reciprocity, philanthropy were all around me.
Edgar: 03:30 And I began to learn to give back and what my role or responsibility was in terms of giving and taking care and being in community from my mom because although she was a single parent and worked two or three jobs at a time, there was always space in that schedule the work of ministry. And for my mom that was happening predominantly through the church that I grew up in. And I tell this story about my mom in the book where she started what was called a bus ministry. And it simply was going around and inviting the children of the neighborhood to this opportunity to jump on a bus on Sunday and come to Sunday school and be in a place where they will be loved on and taught. And my mom was just passionate about extending that opportunity out to kids. And at one point on a given Sunday, she was busing in over 300 children to this church.
Darlene: 04:29 Wow.
Edgar: 04:30 So I just grew up every Saturday we did outreach in the neighborhoods. We went out and visited the kids. I would dress up like a clown or whatever to entertain and be silly and just love up on the kids. So that was from as early as I can remember, we were a family that was just called to service. And although we were poor, in a sense I didn't quite know it or I had an awareness that there were folks who were even in worse conditions that I needed to help. So that's how I grew up being oriented to that.
Edgar: 05:08 And I think that that type of culture that many of us come from, those traditions of giving and philanthropy are things that we need to reclaim and be very proud of and understand that the giving of our time and of our treasure
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