June 20, 2020

Addressing the critiques of well-being

Social change leaders can better advocate and find funding for well-being initiatives by creating a more authentic and deeper understanding of what it looks like and the difference it can make.

2 min read

Previous stories in this article seriesCentered Self, have explored the connection between inner well-being and social change, the different ways people working in social change can engage in a process of self-inquiry, and how funders can support grantees’ well-being. But despite growing recognition that well-being has positive impacts on individuals, organizations, and society, not everyone is on board. Many people continue to view well-being support as a luxury, or at least not a necessity, or as immaterial to creating social change.

I know this because, over the last few years, I’ve tried to put well-being on the agenda of the German social sector and create initiatives that address the well-being needs of our community. Despite having a broad network and deep experience in the field—as the founder of both Germany’s largest crowdfunding platform for social projects and a think tank that researches digital technologies for the common good—it’s been difficult. In my many conversations with funders and executives, I’ve met with evasiveness and resistance, and encountered a whole range of critiques related to the legitimacy and effectiveness of a well-being orientation.

This is an excerpt from the article Addressing the Critiques of Well-Being by Joana Breidenbach.

This article is a part of a special series on the connection between inner well-being and social change, in partnership with The Wellbeing ProjectStanford Social Innovation ReviewSchwab Foundation at the World Economic Forum, and Skoll Foundation.

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Stanford Social Innovation Review

Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR) is published by the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society at Stanford University. It seeks to advance, educate, and inspire the field of social innovation by seeking out, cultivating, and disseminating the best in research- and practice-based knowledge. SSIR informs and inspires millions of social change leaders from around the world and from all sectors of society—nonprofits, business, and government.