Person

Edgar Villanueva

Edgar Villanueva is a far-left activist, writer, and philanthropist. He is the founder of the left-of-center Decolonizing Wealth Project. [1] Villanueva also works as senior vice president of programs and advocacy at the left-of-center Schott Foundation for Public Education. [2]

Villanueva is the author of Decolonizing Wealth: Indigenous Wisdom to Heal Divides and Restore Balance. [3] He has also contributed to far-left publications, including Common Dreams and Advocate. [4][5] Villanueva identifies as “queer and Indigenous.” He is originally from North Carolina and is a member of the Lumbee Tribe. [6][7]

In January 2021, Villanueva demanded the creation of a “truth and reconciliation commission” modeled after those created to investigate the abuses of the former apartheid regime in South Africa to address what he called “the virus of colonization and white supremacy” in the United States. He also said that Americans needs to “get serious” about providing race-based reparations. [8]

Philanthropy

At the Schott Foundation, Villanueva oversees grantmaking, communications, network building, and policy advocacy. He previously worked as a senior program officer at the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust and as a program officer at the Marguerite Casey Foundation. Villanueva also previously worked as the executive director of Quality Enhancement for Nonprofit Organizations, a project of the University of North Carolina Wilmington to support regional left-of-center advocacy groups. [9]

Villanueva serves as board chair of Native Americans in Philanthropy, and is a board member of NDN Collective, a philanthropic organization promoting Native American interests. [10]

Anti-Colonial Activism

As the founder of the Decolonizing Wealth Project, Villanueva claims that the “trauma” of colonialism was “not just for the community that was colonized but for the colonizers,” who “broke ties with their lands of origin, to their cultures to subscribe to the narrative of the American Dream.” Villanueva also claims that “colonization is all about dividing and controlling people” and that “money has been a tool to separate and cause hurt in our communities.” Because of this, Villanueva claims that philanthropic organizations should “use money to facilitate power” and “liberate people” who have been “exploited by the system.” Villanueva has decried the United States and the notion of the American dream, claiming that “all our systems and institutions” are “infected with this colonizer virus” and describing “institutions that control wealth” as “inherently broken.” [11]

In his book on “decolonizing wealth,” Villanueva alleges that “the philanthropic industry has evolved to mirror colonial structures” and demands that grantmaking organizations divert more resources to groups outside the philanthropic establishment, especially those that employ or emphasize members of racial minority groups. [12]

The Decolonizing Wealth Project maintains a partially-completed website that claims to “offer truth, reconciliation, and healing from the ails of colonization” by promoting left-of-center narratives and selective grantmaking to organizations that share the project’s goal of “decolonizing wealth.” [13] In 2019, Villanueva announced the creation of Liberated Capital, a fund to support left-of-center indigenous and ethnic minority activists based on a “reparations model” that acknowledges “the pain caused by the accumulation of wealth.” [14] Villanueva claimed to have provided more than $2.1 million in capital to left-of-center activist organizations in 2020, though the Liberated Capital page on the Decolonizing Wealth Project website has since become inactive. [15] [16]

In October 2020, Villanueva wrote an article for the far-left blog Common Dreams that called for replacing Columbus Day with a new holiday that would be called “Indigenous People’s Day.” Villanueva wrote that “the holiday is a monument to white supremacy” that celebrates “America’s violent, centuries-long history of colonialism and racism.” [17]

Other Work

In November 2020, Villanueva wrote an article for the LGBT activist publication Advocate attacking traditional ideas of gender, which he labeled as “toxic masculinity.” Villanueva criticized then-President Donald Trump and U.S. Representative-elect Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) for allegedly racist and sexist statements. The article also criticized “white men who almost put Trump back in office.” [18]

Villanueva sits on the board of the left-of-center publication Mother Jones. [19]

Education

Villanueva received a bachelor’s degree in science in public health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a master’s degree in health administration from the University of North Carolina’s Gillings Global School of Public Health. [20]

References

  1.        Edgar Villanueva, “It’s Past Time to Abolish Columbus Day and Establish Indigenous Peoples’ Day in the United States,” Common Dreams, October 12, 2020. Accessed January 13, 2021.https://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/10/12/its-past-time-abolish-columbus-day-and-establish-indigenous-peoples-day-united ^
  2. “Edgar Villanueva,” Schott Foundation for Public Education. Accessed January 13, 2021.  http://schottfoundation.org/about/who-we-are/staff/edgar-villanueva ^
  3.        Edgar Villanueva, “Decolonizing Wealth: Indigenous Wisdom to Heal Divides and Restore Balance,” Penguin Random House, 2018. Accessed January 13, 2021. https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/588996/decolonizing-wealth-by-edgar-villanueva/ ^
  4. Edgar Villanueva, “It’s Past Time to Abolish Columbus Day and Establish Indigenous Peoples’ Day in the United States,” Common Dreams, October 12, 2020. Accessed January 13, 2021.https://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/10/12/its-past-time-abolish-columbus-day-and-establish-indigenous-peoples-day-united ^
  5.        Edgar Villanueva, “Trump May Be Gone (Almost) But Toxic Masculinity Is Here to Stay,” Advocate, November 18, 2020. Accessed January 13, 2021. https://www.advocate.com/commentary/2020/11/18/trump-may-be-gone-almost-toxic-masculinity-here-stay ^
  6.           Edgar Villanueva, “Trump May Be Gone (Almost) But Toxic Masculinity Is Here to Stay,” Advocate, November 18, 2020. Accessed January 13, 2021. https://www.advocate.com/commentary/2020/11/18/trump-may-be-gone-almost-toxic-masculinity-here-stay ^
  7.         “Edgar Villanueva,” Schott Foundation for Public Education. Accessed January 13, 2021. http://schottfoundation.org/about/who-we-are/staff/edgar-villanueva ^
  8. Twitter, Edgar Villanueva profile, January 7, 2021. Accessed January 29, 2021. https://twitter.com/VillanuevaEdgar/status/1347177853151010818 ^
  9.            “Edgar Villanueva,” Schott Foundation for Public Education. Accessed January 13, 2021. http://schottfoundation.org/about/who-we-are/staff/edgar-villanueva ^
  10.            Edgar Villanueva, Twitter, January 7, 2021. Accessed January 13, 2021. https://twitter.com/VillanuevaEdgar/status/1347177853151010818 ^
  11.        “Decolonizing Wealth: Four Questions with Edgar Villanueva,” North Star Fund, August 13, 2018. Accessed January 13, 2021. https://northstarfund.org/2018/08/edgar-villanueva-decolonizing-wealth/ ^
  12.              Edgar Villanueva, “Decolonizing Wealth: Indigenous Wisdom to Heal Divides and Restore Balance,” Penguin Random House, 2018. Accessed January 13, 2021. https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/588996/decolonizing-wealth-by-edgar-villanueva/ ^
  13.        Decolonizing Wealth Project. Accessed January 13, 2021.

    DWP – Home

    ^

  14. Villanueva, Edgar. “Decolonizing Wealth Takes Hollywood and Launches Liberated Capital!” Medium, September 27, 2019. https://medium.com/@VillanuevaEdgar/decolonizing-wealth-takes-hollywood-and-launches-liberated-capital-1234ba65f40c. ^
  15. “Liberated Capital: A Decolonizing Wealth Project Fund.” Grapevine. Accessed January 26, 2021. https://www.grapevine.org/c/3y6hD5/Liberated-Capital-A-Decolonizing-Wealth-Project-Fund/home. ^
  16. “Error 404: Page Not Found,” Accessed January 26, 2021. https://decolonizingwealth.com/liberated-capital. ^
  17. Edgar Villanueva, “It’s Past Time to Abolish Columbus Day and Establish Indigenous Peoples’ Day in the United States,” Common Dreams, October 12, 2020. Accessed January 13, 2021. https://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/10/12/its-past-time-abolish-columbus-day-and-establish-indigenous-peoples-day-united ^
  18. Edgar Villanueva, “Trump May Be Gone (Almost) But Toxic Masculinity Is Here to Stay,” Advocate, November 18, 2020. Accessed January 13, 2021. https://www.advocate.com/commentary/2020/11/18/trump-may-be-gone-almost-toxic-masculinity-here-stay ^
  19. Mother Jones, Board of Directors, Accessed January 14, 2021.https://www.motherjones.com/about/board-directors/ ^
  20. [1]            “Edgar Villanueva,” Schott Foundation for Public Education. Accessed January 13, 2021. http://schottfoundation.org/about/who-we-are/staff/edgar-villanueva ^
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