GG+A statement on the deeply disturbing recent events in America and a call to action

Editor’s note: This statement was issued on behalf of GG+A to its valued clients and colleagues on June 4, 2020.

The events of the past weeks and months have brought into sharp focus the myriad, compounding inequities around us: a pandemic and its economic impact that strike disproportionately people of color; growing gaps in social mobility, health outcomes, and lifespans that defy our nation’s ideals of equal opportunity; and the deadly violence that we all have now borne witness to—the loss of life that is heartbreaking, all too familiar, and deeply antithetical to all that we stand for. Black lives do matter. We can no longer accept the systemic racism and the silent injustices that persist in most every corner of American life.

Philanthropy is the tangible expression of our values and beliefs.

As we all struggle to make sense of these deeply disturbing events, we must each look for ways to build and support positive change, to rise above our collective indifference to racism and social inequities. In the work of our clients and nonprofits across the country, we do see cause for hope. Organizations devoted to the public good work to elevate our communities and expand opportunity. We see civic initiatives designed to better understand the flaws in our justice system and bring much needed change to our policing and public safety structures. These initiatives must be built upon the full inclusion of diverse peoples and perspectives. Philanthropy is the tangible expression of our values and beliefs. It is optimism made manifest through discoveries in science and medicine, art and human expression that fosters empathy and understanding, and education that lifts lives, ensures social justice, and sparks innovation and growth.

In Chicago, where our firm is headquartered, we see both peaceful protests reflective of our First Amendment rights, and neighborhoods torn apart by understandable rage, senseless destruction, and violence. We cannot help but feel the ongoing pain, frustration, and anger of the black community. Mayor Lori Lightfoot issued a statement that resonates powerfully with us. She said, in part,

“We can and we will rise above this moment … showing hope and compassion and empathy for our neighbors. … Even in the face of this hardship that we have seen, that’s devastated so many neighborhoods, we have to lean into our faith. We have to lean into our values and our sense of community, to bring back what we have lost and be able to move forward.”

While the answers are not easy, one thing is clear: inaction, not speaking out, not taking explicit steps to engage, is unworthy of all of us.

Moments that galvanize human progress often come from tragic events like these. Our friends, families, colleagues, and clients are asking a common question: What should we be doing to help? To be sure, our own profession and our own firm have work to do to realize the highest ideals of equity and inclusion. While the answers are not easy, one thing is clear: inaction, not speaking out, not taking explicit steps to engage, is unworthy of all of us.

In the coming months, our community here at GG+A will be looking for ways in which its skills and strategic resources might lend support to the many institutions we know exist across our civil society to address these problems. We welcome suggestions and opportunities where we might collaborate to move us forward to a better place. To be clear, we are prepared to volunteer our time and energy toward pro-bono initiatives that will make a discernible difference and contribute to the change we all keenly feel must take place. Reach out to us; we will respond.

John Glier, CEO
Suzanne Hilser-Wiles, President
And all our colleagues at Grenzebach, Glier and Associates

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About the authors

John Glier

Chief Executive Officer

John Glier is the Chief Executive Officer of GG+A, a global consulting firm in philanthropic management headquartered in Chicago and London. Mr. Glier joined GG+A in 1981, and has served as its Chief Executive for more than 30 years. Mr. Glier is recognized internationally for providing strategic direction and philanthropic…

Suzanne Hilser-Wiles


Suzanne Hilser-Wiles, President, partners with GG+A clients around the globe to help them elevate their fundraising by offering more than 25 years of experience in advancement, program building, and campaign planning and implementation. Throughout her career, she has helped design, rebuild, and reimagine programs by applying her experience with a…