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PRE Releases a New Guide for Grantmaking With a Racial Justice Lens

Includes tips and resources for responding to resistance, tackling anti-Black racism and white supremacy, and more

Jan. 22, 2020

Washington, D.C. (1/22/2020) – Over the past decade, there has been a slow but steady growth in the number of foundations that are giving attention to racial equity to solve longstanding social and environmental challenges. But even with the right intentions, these efforts address only part of the root causes and solutions to these critical issues.

A new guide will help foundation leaders confront and overcome the complex ways that racial injustice built into institutions, processes and practices stands in the way of transformational change.

Grantmaking with a Racial Justice Lens” by the Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity (PRE) will help grantmakers align giving strategies and operational practices with racial justice to secure a thriving future for all our communities.

“Our current moment calls for ambitious commitments and clear action from all of us in the sector,” said Lori Villarosa, co-author of the guide and executive director of PRE. “While we have seen growing numbers of funders tackling racial equity, we now also have more lessons on how to confront power, shift how we distribute our resources, and move toward system-wide transformation. A racial justice lens brings the added boldness that grantmakers need to catalyze the change they wish to see in the world.”

From racial equity towards racial justice

A racial equity lens separates symptoms from causes, while a racial justice lens brings into view the confrontation of power, the redistribution of resources, and the systemic transformation necessary for real change.

A racial equity lens takes into account race and ethnicity, sources of disparities and structural root causes of critical issues. It identifies race as a crucial component of solutions. “Grantmaking with a Racial Justice Lens” helps foundations build on these features of racial equity to operationalize four additional essential elements of racial justice in their organizations: understanding and acknowledge racial history, creating a shared affirmative vision of a fair and inclusive society, focusing on building civic, cultural and political power of Black people and other communities of color,  and prioritizing transformative solutions that impact multiple systems.

“Racial equity as a framework is necessary but not sufficient for the kind of transformational change that so many in philanthropy are aiming for,” said Glenn Harris, PRE board member and president and publisher of Race Forward and Colorlines. “A racial justice lens is critical, and this guide is an invitation and a tool for funders to take that next step. No matter the size of your foundation or the issues you care about, it’s mission-critical to confront racial injustice in all aspects of your work.”

The guide includes how-to tips and links to dozens of tools, case studies and other resources on aligning foundation practices with a racial justice vision such as responding to resistance, tackling anti-Black racism and White supremacy, what and how to fund, and more.

Grantmaking with a Racial Justice Lens” written by PRE’s Rinku Sen, senior fellow, and Villarosa, centers the perspectives of racial justice activists and funders. It builds on the seminal report on racial equity published by PRE and Grantcraft in 2006.  Download the guide for free at

About Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity

Since 2003, the Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity (PRE) has been providing vital tools and resources that combat institutional and structural racism in communities through capacity building, education and convening of grantmakers and grantseekers. It is led by an intersectionally diverse board of racial justice activists, researchers and practitioners. Learn more at



Lori Villarosa
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