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.

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. PRE has conducted local and/or regional events in the Northwest, West, Midwest, Northeast and Southeast, as well as a number of national events.

PRE is a project of the Tides Center, a 501(c)3 organization that provides administrative and infrastructure support to new emerging charitable organizations who share its mission of striving for positive social change.PRE gratefully acknowledges major multiyear support from the C.S. Mott Foundation, as well as generous project support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Marguerite Casey Foundation, and Akonadi Foundation.

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Lori Villarosa
Executive Director
villarosa (at)

Lori Villarosa is the founder and executive director of the Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity (PRE), which has had the mission of increasing the amount and effectiveness of resources aimed at combating institutional and structural racism since 2003. Villarosa has been working at the intersection of racial justice and philanthropy for more than 25 years, deeply engaging with hundreds of funders at the community level, regionally, nationally and internationally, to advance the use of a structural racism lens in their grantmaking and effectively align their internal practices to sustain such a lens. PRE’s work is importantly governed by a board of racial justice leaders to ensure its engagement with philanthropy who along with other cutting edge thought leaders, advocates and organizers in the racial justice movement shape and participate in PRE’s conference workshops, Racial Justice Funder Labs, direct consultations, coaching, research and writing.  

PRE publications include seminal tools like the Guide to Grantmaking with a Racial Equity LensCatalytic Change: Lessons Learned from the Racial Justice Grantmaking Assessment; and series of volumes of PRE’s Critical Issues Forum on topics from using data, evaluation, mobilizing community power, and trends and promising practices. Prior to launching PRE, Villarosa was a program officer with the C.S. Mott Foundation, where she was instrumental in developing and managing the foundation’s portfolio naming institutional racism in its goals in the mid-1990s and moving $24 million in funding to such work at a time when there were far fewer funders explicitly supporting racial justice.  She has served on multiple foundation boards (currently serving as vice-chair of the Edward W. Hazen Foundation) and in leadership roles in the past with ABFE, AAPIP, COF’s Committee on Inclusiveness, and now on the Racial Equity Working Group of United Philanthropy Forum and the steering committee of CHANGE Philanthropy, where PRE is a core partner.  She has also served in advisory committee roles for many racial justice projects and organizations, including Government Alliance for Racial Equity, Perception Institute, and others.

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Advisory Board

PRE is guided by a diverse advisory board of nationally renowned and respected leaders from the various fields being bridged by this initiative, including community-based racial justice, civil rights, and philanthropy.

Ron Chisom, Executive Director
The People's Institute for Survival and Beyond

Marisa Franco, Director and Co-Creator
Not1More Deportation Campaign; Mijente

Glenn Harris, President and Publisher
Race Forward and Colorlines

Kalpana Krishnamurthy, National Field and Policy Director
Forward Together

Kien Lee, Principal Associate / Vice President
Community Science

Martha McCoy, President / Executive Director
The Paul J. Aicher Foundation / Everyday Democracy

Denise Perry, Founder
Black Organizing for Leadership & Dignity (BOLD)


Organizational affiliations listed for identification purposes only

Maria Poblet, Co-Executive Director
Grassroots Policy Project

john a. powell, Director
Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society

Julie Quiroz, Director of Narrative Future
Movement Strategy Center

Linda Sarsour, Co-Founder at MPower Change
MPower Change

Alex Tom, Executive Director
Chinese Progressive Association

Ash-lee Woodward Henderson, Co-Executive Director
Highlander Center


Former Advisory Board Members

We would like to acknowledge our appreciation for the wisdom and guidance we have received from prior Advisory Board members who have generously committed time and leadership since our launch in 2003:

Barbara Arnwine, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
Lucy Bernholz, Blueprint Research and Design, Inc.
*Jacqueline Berrien, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund
Imani Constance Burnett, Southeast Council on Foundations
*Rick Cohen, National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy
Terri Lee Freeman, The Community Foundation for the National Capitol Region
Richard Healey, Grassroots Policy Project
Keith Lawrence, JustPartners, Inc.
Kumi Naidoo, CIVICUS (through 2009), Greenpeace International
Eva J. Paterson, Equal Justice Society
Gihan Perera, The New Florida Majority
Tarso Ramos, Western States Center
Laurie Regelbrugge, Unocal Corporation
Rinku Sen, Race Forward: Center for Racial Justice Innovation, ColorLines Magazine
Robert Sherman, Surdna Foundation
Makani Themba, The Praxis Project
Arturo Vargas, National Association of Latino Elected Officals Education Fund
Maya Wiley, Center for Social Inclusion

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Affiliations listed at the time of PRE Advisory Board membership


To ensure its work has broader and lasting impact, PRE is committed to partnering with affinity groups, funders, and nongovernmental organizations in a variety of ways, including co-sponsoring convenings that explicitly address issues of racial equity, conducting joint research, providing skills building workshops for grantmakers, or developing joint tools. Current and recent partners include: Grantcraft; Funders for Lesbian and Gay Issues; Aspen Institute Roundtable on Community Change; Applied Research Center; Center for Social Inclusion; Kirwan Institute for Race and Ethnicity

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Related Affinity Groups

Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy

Association of Black Foundation Executives

Hispanics in Philanthropy

Native Americans in Philanthropy

Funders for Lesbian and Gay Issues

Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees



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*In Memoriam: Former Advisory Board Members

Rick Cohen
Dec. 17, 1950 - Nov. 17, 2015

We at PRE are stunned and saddened by the sudden loss of Rick Cohen on November 17 at age 64. Rick has been a constant and crucial contributor to our work over the years - as a senior editor of our Critical Issues Forum volumes, a prolific writer, a former board member, a continual and frequent strategist with us on all levels, and most importantly, a consistent friend. There is no one in the nonprofit sector or philanthropic space who matches his unyielding demand for honesty, integrity and expectation that we all ask the hard questions of ourselves and each other to push for greater racial and social justice and accountability within our roles. Our community has gained so much from Rick through his years of meaningful community development and urban planning work in New Jersey and beyond, to his dogged, unapologetic leadership of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (where we first connected with him as kindred spirits pushing for progressive change and accountability), to his recent years as the most prolific and dependendably stringent, conscientiously rigorous watchdog of the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors as a reporter and editor at Nonprofit Quarterly.

Rick's role with PRE went so much further than titles of senior editor or writer could convey - he was a constant partner in our strategiziing and work at all levels and all of the contributors to our publications experienced the depth, wisdom, passion, insights and critical eye he brought to our work. The links below offer a glimpse of the valuable contributions he made to advancing questions the field of philanthropy should be asking itself about racial justice through his partnership with PRE in addition to his ongoing work at NPQ and elsewhere in these past 8 years.

The current and past board, staff and fellow consultants of PRE offer deep condolences to Rick's much-adored daughter Ellie, his partner, Ellen Giordano and her daughter Eve, and all of his family and other friends.

For those who would like to join in the celebration of Rick's life, please go to this link through Nonprofit Quarterly for an invitation, though with the incredible outpouring of appreciation and love we have seen, space may be limited so we would encourage you to reach out soon if you are able to join the gathering here in DC.

In Rick's words from our Critical Issues Forum (CIF) volumes in order from most recent:

-Critical Issues Forum Vol. 5. Moving Forward on Racial Justice Philanthropy, June 2014; Reflections from the Inside: Philanthropic Leaders on Racial Justice and Grantmaking and Data Snapshot on Racial Justice Grantmaking 
-Critical Issues Forum Vol. 4. Mobilizing Community Power to Address Structural Racism, September 2012; Intersection of Community Organizing and Racial Justice Funding: Limited Data and Limited Dollars
-Critical Issues Forum Vol. 2 Whose Capacity Needs Building, June 2009; Putting the AB 624 Agreement into Practice and Policy
-Critical Issues Forum Vol. 1 Measuring What We Value, April 2008; Understanding AB 624


Jaqueline A. Berrien
Nov. 28, 1961 - Nov. 9, 2015

The staff and board of the Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity join many others in mourning the far too sudden loss of Civil Rights Champion, our friend and former board member, Jaqueline Berrien, who passed away on November 9th after a brief battle with cancer. Jackie had been a close friend and ally of PRE and partner to many of us through various stages of her career as civil rights advocate, then as a program officer at the Ford Foundation, and officially joining our board after she left Ford and rejoined the NAACPF-LDF as Associate Director-Counsel in 2005. She was a valued, generous, wise and humble board member during such a critical phase of PRE's work from 2005 to 2010, when she needed to step down as she was being vetted for the role of Chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Jackie brought such a wealth of insights from her mixed vantage point as a grantseeker and funder, as a leader across decades within civil rights work, but also mindful of how important it was for funders in other arenas to understand the racial equity implications of their grantmaking, regardless of their issue area.

All of us send our deepest condolences to Jackie's beloved husband and partner in all things, Peter Williams, executive vice president for programs for the NAACP, along with her brother, Clifford Berrien and the rest of her family and many close friends.


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