Philanthropy Can Help With Racial Equity and Social Justice

Philanthropy and system change
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Philanthropy can help with creating more racial equity and social justice.  How? Grants can be made for the following purposes:

Strengthen Organizations and Networks

  • Listening, reflecting, learning – and shaping improved efforts
  • Strengthening personal, leadership and organizational skills
  • Developing organizational vision and priorities for enhancing RE/SJ work
  • Improving an organization’s ability to make progress with RE/SJ
  • Strengthening, partnerships, networks, and coalitions

Offer Leadership, Especially Across Divides

  • Building trust: creating opportunities for dialog, healing, reconciliation
  • Encouraging others to come together to discover opportunities for improving conditions
  • Entering into new relationships that build support for progress
  • Raising the profile of racial equity/social justice work
  • Improving materials and channels for communications of this kind of work

Craft Solutions and Moving Them Forward

  • Create opportunities for learning and teaching about inequity, injustices, and their root causes
  • Compiling data about local trends, challenges, and opportunities for improving RE/SJ
  • Compiling wisdom and lessons that build support or guide action
  • Crafting solutions to be moved towards action and implementation
  • Drawing on bases of support for advancing solutions

Transform Local Conditions, Barriers, and Economies

  • Creating a culture of accountability and cooperation
  • Moving policy proposals from inception to successful implementation
  • Getting the rules changed to increase the opportunities for achieving good outcomes
  • Stimulating investment and creating assets to benefit more segments of the community
  • Spreading innovation and improvements to other arenas, to spread the benefits

Increase a Community’s Resources

  • Helping a community discover its assets and what it can give to RE/SJ efforts
  • Finding new donors (of time, talent, or treasure)
  • Increasing the flow of resources into RE/SJ efforts
  • Using philanthropic resources better
  • Improving access to institutional resources

The framework above is adapted from materials prepared by the Effective Communities Project for the Ford Foundation in 2006, available here, concerning ways to benchmark progress in achieving greater racial equity and social justice (RE/SJ).

Steven E. Mayer, Ph.D. / Effective Communities Project / January 8, 2015