Journey Toward Racial Equity Report

Journey Toward Racial Equity Report

This report represents the latest in an effort by Philanthropy-Serving Organizations (PSOs) to advance philanthropic practice and impact by centering racial equity. Written by some members of United Philanthropy Forum’s Racial Equity Committee together with Community Centered Evaluation & Research, the report is based on findings of the Forum’s inaugural Racial Equity Capacity Assessment for PSOs. Nearly three-quarters of Forum members completed the assessment, which provides a baseline to examine PSOs’ internal efforts and external programming in advancing racial equity. Maryland Philanthropy Network completed the assessment and is using the results to inform our internal racial equity work.

The Racial Equity Capacity Assessment and this report were realized through the contribution and efforts of many individuals. The Forum is grateful to be on this journey with all of the individuals who made this effort possible and deeply appreciates their thought partnership and commitment to advancing racial equity.  

Key Learnings From the Assessment

Some of the learnings from the baseline Racial Equity Capacity Assessment for PSOs:

  • PSOs internal efforts to advance racial equity are in the initial stages of development. Sixty-two percent of PSOs reported their internal efforts to advance racial equity were in the emerging stage of development. 

  • It is imperative that PSOs focus on their internal growth and development. Slightly more than 40% of PSOs reported they had not taken steps to advance racial equity efforts connected to their Organizational Learning Culture.

  • PSOs most commonly referred members to external sources of information to support their understanding and advancement of racial equity efforts. Across nearly all external domains, a larger proportion of PSOs reported that they referred members to external sources of information over internal resources.

  • Alignment between PSOs’ internal racial equity efforts and their external programming was reported as a work in progress. There was general acknowledgement across PSOs that their “internal efforts lag behind the external programming” offered to members.

  • PSOs concentrated their resources on building either their external programming or developing their internal structures, policies, and practices – nearly none worked on both simultaneously. Several PSOs supported their organizations' concentration on external efforts citing ample appetite for this type of programming among their members.

PSOs' Call to Action
  • Look within. Consider internal work as required and constant in order to meaningfully contribute and sustain efforts to advance racial equity. 

  • Find both/and with external programming offered. Re-examine assumptions of what the organization’s role is and should be in advancing racial equity efforts among their members. 

  • Develop mechanisms to offer, strengthen, and support external programming across the field. Consider how our sector can shift away from isolated, competitive processes to a more networked approach to serving all of our members more collectively.

  • Move from good intentions and conversations to actionable steps. These steps should ensure that PSO partners have clarity of their motivations, the resources and supports they need, plans for sustainability, and opportunities to engage with each other.

This report was made possible in part thanks to financial support from Borealis Philanthropy's Racial Equity in Philanthropy Fund.