Report: Grantmaking with a Racial Justice Lens
When the Philanthropic initiative for Racial Equity (PRE), in partnership with GrantCraft, released Grantmaking with a Racial Equity Lens, a few foundations had made racial equity a central focus of their work, but many were still exploring how to incorporate equity into their grantmaking.
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About Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity
Since its inception in January 2003, PRE has directly engaged hundreds of foundation representatives (including program staff, management, board members and individual donors) in discussions of racial equity and, in particular, how they can advance the mission of achieving racial equity through their own philanthropic institutions.
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What does philanthropy need to know to prioritize racial justice?
Our guide helped surface how to advance racial equity in philanthropy, aiming to make it a core practice and goal of grantmakers. Rather than other popular approaches of the time—“colorblindness,” universal approaches, diversity—PRE’s guide defined a racially equitable world as one where the distribution of resources, opportunities and burdens is not determined or predictable by race.
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Our Mission

The goal of the Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity (PRE) is to increase the amount and effectiveness of resources aimed at combating institutional and structural racism in communities through capacity building, education, and convening of grantmakers and grantseekers

PRE Goals and Strategies

PRE recognizes that there are a broad range of effective programs and practices to address racial inequities. There is an increasing level of sophistication within the racial justice field and much more awareness of which approaches meet which needs best.

Whether we are talking about ways to engage communities or ways to engage foundation staff and boards, PRE understands the importance of meeting people where they are on their own continua of learning and comfort level in addressing what can often be difficult and controversial issues. We also recognize that peer learning and support can be critical when facing these challenges, and we work to provide the space and tools that will allow this to happen.

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What does philanthropy need to ask to deepen investments for racial and gender justice?

Investing in communities of color has meant greater impact.  It is clear that the most effective work in the country is often done by People of Color-led organizations that are deeply committed to long-term systems transformation. The phenomenal work of Black women led organizations to deliver historic electoral wins, the transformative work of indigenous leadership to defend Standing Rock, and breakthrough work on immigration rights are just a few examples of organizing in communities of color that is redefining change work and breathing new life into US democracy.  Philanthropy has been making a shift toward recognizing these assets and away from the old dominant paradigm of limited, deficit-oriented funding.  –  Upcoming Grantmaking with a Racial Justice Lens, Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity.

Women of color across the country are leading justice movements that bring positive lasting impact for all in our communities.  Numerous articles and reports have recognized that Black women voted in higher percentages than any other demographic groups in the 2012 and 2016 elections.

Additionally, Ahead of the Majority supported by the AAPI Civic Engagement Fund and Groundswell Fund, tells the story of women of color (not just women or voters of color) taking center stage.

Major movements like #BlackLivesMatter and #MeToo have been launched by the leadership of Black women such as Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, Opal Tometti, and Tarana Burke. In addition to Black women, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian American, and Arab American women have fueled much of the responsive and proactive visioning our nation needs to build a just democracy.

And yet, in spite of the power of this work, in 2016, U.S. grantmakers continued to underfund efforts that are directly resourcing organizations that are focused on women and girls of color.

According to the latest available data from Candid, (formerly Foundation Center and Guidestar), only .6% of the $24.2 billion granted domestically by a sample of 1,000 of the largest U.S. foundations was focused on women and girls of color in 2016. 

Report: Grantmaking with a Racial Justice Lens​

When the Philanthropic initiative for Racial Equity (PRE), in partnership with GrantCraft, released Grantmaking with a Racial Equity Lens, a few foundations had made racial equity a central focus of their work, but many were still exploring how to incorporate equity into their grantmaking.

Our guide helped surface how to advance racial equity in philanthropy, aiming to make it a core practice and goal of grantmakers. Rather than other popular approaches of the time—“colorblindness,” universal approaches, diversity—PRE’s guide defined a racially equitable world as one where the distribution of resources, opportunities and burdens is not determined or predictable by race. We successfully argued that an explicit racial equity lens ensures that the particular needs and assets of communities are taken into account, and that diversity, while important to that task, is insufficient for addressing power imbalances.

What does philanthropy need to know to prioritize racial justice?

In partnership with Race Forward and Foundation Center, PRE looks at how we define, measure, and track grantmaking aimed at structural racism. Using available data on racial justice grantmaking, we have created an infographic  to explore the question, “What do we need to know to prioritize racial justice?”

Annual foundation funding focused on people of color has never exceeded 8.4% of overall grantmaking, even as the population of People of Color has grown substantially over the past 20 years. What is your foundation doing to address this disparity in racial equity?

We successfully argued that an explicit racial equity lens ensures that the particular needs and assets of communities are taken into account, and that diversity, while important to that task, is insufficient for addressing power imbalances.

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