A Long Way to Go: What Kind of Change is Needed Within Foundations to Advance Racial Equity?
Many people who work in the philanthropic sector are beginning to grapple with embedded racism in ways that they haven’t before. Organizations and individuals are asking existential questions that relate to power, interpersonal relationships and processes—and more foundations than ever say they are centering race in their reconsiderations of what is fair and just. But is this trend more than rhetorical?
“There has been a noticeable shift in philanthropic sector conversations—more focus on racial equity at conferences, gatherings, meetings,” says Michele Kumi Baer, Philanthropy Project Director at Race Forward, which merged with the Center for Social Inclusion in 2017. “And there have been increases in diversity in programmatic roles, there have been some shifts in practice, some new funds being directed to people-of-color-led organizations, and racial equity statements from foundations. But it is hard to tell from this vantage point how deeply people of different positions of power within philanthropic organizations are really being introspective about race and power in their daily practice.”
Kumi Baer’s assessment is more positive than those of other, more critical observers of race and philanthropy. When it comes to applying a racial equity lens to philanthropic professionals’ work at a variety of levels, many say there is a lot of talk, but not much meaningful action.
Source: Inside Philanthropy