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Recommendations for philanthropies who want to foster true equity and impact

By Madhusmita Bora

Philanthropies seeking to promote equity and maximize impact can do so by embracing a few key principles. These ideas and practices include emphasizing transparency and feedback, setting goals that prioritize support for BIPOC-led organizations embedded in their communities, evaluating grantmaking with rubrics for racial equity and simplifying application processes. The Center for High-Impact Philanthropy’s 2023 Giving Toolkit provides further guidance.

  • Accountability: Funders need to make internal assessments and be transparent with data on how much they are funding, what they are funding, whom they are funding, and how many BIPOC-organizations are benefiting from their dollars.“We need much more accountability as a field,” said Nichole Maher of Inatai Foundation. “We will not self-regulate ourselves out of unequal behaviors.” Ask for grantee and community feedback.
  • Set goals: Philanthropic organizations should set goals and be intentional and thoughtful in their support of BIPOC-led organizations. “They really need to get to people of color leading different organizations and forge relationships with them,” said Aaron Dorfman of the National Committee of Responsive Philanthropy. BIPOC organizations that are embedded in their respective communities should be funded rather than the money going to support white-led organizations for the same work in those communities.
  • Long-term support: Grantmakers and donors should offer sustainable support to BIPOC-led community organizations, with multi-year general operating funds,  and establish a long-term vision and partnership. “We want to make amends and remedy the systemic inequity of the last 100 years,” Maher said.
  • Establish rubrics: Funders should use measures for racial equity and racial justice to evaluate their grantmaking process. Foundations must make board diversity a top priority.
  • Simplify the process: Make the application and reporting processes easy. Small organizations would rather spend time catering to their constituents than filing hours of paperwork.

This story is a collaboration between WURD Radio’s Lively-HOOD initiative and URL Media. It is part of a series called The Future of Work, which explores what work will look like as we move beyond the pandemic. It’s produced with funding from the William Penn Foundation and the Lenfest Institute for Journalism. WURD/Lively-HOOD is one of more than 20 news organizations producinBroke in Philly, a collaborative reporting project on solutions to poverty and the city’s push towards economic mobility. 
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