Building Cultures of Belonging

Belonging is a powerful need to be part of something bigger than ourselves.

This need can be channeled in beautiful or destructive ways. In light of rapid changes across demography, technology, economy, and beyond, the contrast is clear: Will we work together to reimagine broken systems or will we turn against one another and deepen divides?

The vast majority of Americans yearn for equality, connection, and respect. We have real differences and deep wounds. Yet our values point to a future where we have chosen to expand who belongs and who has a say.

That’s why Omidyar Network is supporting the people and places moving us towards cultures of belonging. They are innovators in the truest sense. Where others see obstacles, they see a way forward. We are proud to partner with the organizers, artists, and practitioners who are painting a vivid picture of a world where everyone belongs.

"Belonging is realized fully when groups have more than a voice — they are actually able to reshape the institution together with existing stakeholders….This kind of agency — co-creation — is the most radical and potentially transformative aspect of true belonging."

-— john a. powell, Othering & Belonging Institute

What We're Working On

Omidyar Network envisions cultures of belonging in which increasingly diverse communities grow in connection, respect, and equality. Our work in this area strengthens the networks, emerging narratives, and everyday norms that help us live up to that potential. 

We are supporting networks that creatively disrupt patterns of fear and division to help communities solve problems together. Their experiences inspire new stories of what it looks and feels like when our cultural, economic, and technological practices work in tandem to build belonging.  

"Throughout America’s history, the most transformative political advances—from slavery abolition to Reconstruction, ‘I Have a Dream’ to the election of Barack Obama, the DREAMers, Love Is Love, and the Movement for Black Lives—have been achieved by organizers, artists, and movements working together to awaken and harness people’s deep yearning to belong in a pluralist America.
In each case, the cultural tug of war between belonging and exclusion sparked a portal moment—a cracking open of the public imagination—through which we can see a glimmer of the pluralist nation we could become."

— Bridgit Antoinette Evans, Pop Culture Collaborative

Ideas We're Exploring

Learning from our past is critical when building a future where everyone belongs. That’s why Omidyar Network is exploring ways that communities can repair relations damaged by centuries of systemic racism, address history together, and heal. We are supporting organizations that advance both cultural and economic approaches for repair.