Beyond AB 624: Reframing for the Long View

Lori Villarosa is the executive director of Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity. Prior to launching this initiative in 2003, she spent 11 years at the Mott Foundation, where shedeveloped its U.S. Race Relations portfolio. She serves on the board of the Winthrop Rockefeller and Paul J. Aicher Foundations.

Like many of our colleagues who have long advocated for philanthropy to increase giving around a range of racial and social justice issues, we at the Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity (PRE) have been unclear as to whether a legislative battle over data collection is a fight we really want. Nonetheless, the debate is here and centered around California Assembly Bill 624 (AB 624), which calls for large California foundations to report on racial/ethnic composition of their staffing, governance and grantmaking. But regardless of the direct impact of legislation, there is now both an opportunity, and increasingly, a need, to surface critical issues about what is and isn’t valued by philanthropy – and how that is defined, determined and measured.

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