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Racial Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

United Philanthropy Forum’s key strategic priorities include a focus on advancing racial equity, diversity and inclusion in philanthropy. The Forum envisions a courageous philanthropic sector that catalyzes a just and equitable society where all can participate and prosper. It is not possible for us to achieve this vision without addressing racial equity.

The Forum supports efforts to address equity in all areas of society. But if you look at just about any issue that philanthropy cares about, from education to health care to the environment, some of the greatest disparities are along racial and ethnic lines. These racial disparities have persisted for decades, and in many cases the gaps are widening. It is impossible to make significant progress on any of these issues without focusing on how to narrow these gaps.

The Forum views our racial equity work in a specific way: we strive to be a leading connector, convener and collaborative partner for all regional and national philanthropy-serving organizations (PSOs) on racial equity, diversity and inclusion. Our network includes more than 90 PSO members—including regional philanthropy associations and national affinity groups, networks and associations of funders. We are working to help PSOs bring a racial equity lens to all aspects of their work, including their internal operations, external programming, and leadership work in the field, and to catalyze and guide greater PSO collaboration in this work. We believe this has the potential to shift the thinking and practice of many of the more than 7,000 foundations that are members of these PSOs, leading to deeper change in the field.

The Forum’s work is guided by our Racial Equity Committee, which is comprised of representatives of regional and national PSOs that are further along in their racial equity work. The group is co-chaired by Susan Taylor Batten, President & CEO of the ABFE- A Philanthropic Partnership for Black Communities 

2023 Racial Equity Case Stories

Building off of the first series of Racial Equity Case Stories from 2020 we are pleased to share four more in-depth case stories of our members' racial equity work featuring Hispanics in Philanthropy, Northern California Grantmakers, PEAK Grantmaking, and Wisconsin Philanthropy Network.

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Journey Toward Racial Equity Report: Year 2

This report represents the latest in an effort by Philanthropy-Serving Organizations (PSOs) to advance philanthropic practice and impact by centering racial equity.

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2020 Racial Equity Case Stories

We are pleased to share two in-depth case stories of our members' racial equity work featuring Funders Together to End Homelessness, and Southeastern Council of Foundations.

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Forum Members Respond to Latest Calls for Racial Justice

The Forum and our members are responding to the latest murders of unarmed people of color by police and protests worldwide calling for racial justice, justice reform and police reform. Please email Brandon Iracks-Edelin to add additional statements or resources.

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Racial Equity Listserv

Join our new Racial Equity Listserv created to support an open exchange of equity-focused learnings, ideas, practices and tools among Forum members.

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Advancing Racial Equity in Philanthropy: A Scan of Philanthropy-Serving Organizations

The Forum conducted a scan of regional and national philanthropy-serving organizations (PSOs) in February through May 2018 to get a more comprehensive understanding of PSOs’ current work and future needs to advance racial equity in philanthropy. The scan involved both a survey that asked about PSOs’ current work, future needs and greatest challenges in advancing racial equity, plus in-depth interviews to discuss what it takes to do this work effectively and to identify their key challenges, barriers and opportunities for addressing systemic inequities. 

Racial Equity Video Series

In a three-part video series, we share our members and colleagues perspectives on different aspects of racial equity. Our goal with these videos is to spark continued thinking and conversations that will lead to action in our field to reduce inequities based on race and ethnicity.

Racial Equity Is...-  a look at how our members, along with some of our colleagues and friends, define racial equity.

Racial Equity and Forum Members’ Work- our members share some of the strategies, struggles and successes of their ongoing racial equity work.

Personal Stories of Racial Equity Work- our members and colleagues share some deeply moving stories of the role that racial equity plays in their personal lives.

Related Resources

United Philanthropy Forum’s 2023 Compensation & Roles for Philanthropy-Serving Organizations report provides comprehensive benchmarking data and analyses on the compensation practices of regional and national philanthropy-serving organizations (PSOs) and other employment practice information....more
We provide space for our members to connect, learn and share together on how to effectively address racial equity in their work as philanthropy-serving organizations (PSOs), and works to share our members’ learnings with the broader philanthropy field. As part of these efforts, we are pleased to share case stories from our members about their racial equity work....more
A key policy issue for the Forum is Maternal Health....more
This report benchmarks the progress of the Forum’s PSO members on advancing racial equity. In doing so, this report helps shed light on the internal and external racial equity strategies being undertaken across the larger PSO field. We also offer a summary of the successes and challenges PSOs face in designing and implementing racial equity efforts for further reflection and action....more
United Philanthropy Forum’s 2022 Compensation & Roles for Philanthropy-Serving Organizations report provides comprehensive benchmarking data and analyses on the compensation practices of regional and national philanthropy-serving organizations (PSOs) and other employment practice information....more
The Forum has officially launched the 2023 Racial Equity Learning & Action Cohort Application to support Forum members in your racial equity work! Offered as part of the Forum's overarching racial equity learning continuum, the Cohort builds upon our work together in the inaugural cohort (2020-2021)....more
United Philanthropy Forum is engaged in a multi-year initiative, supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, to authentically and effectively advance rural racial justice and health equity—particularly in those regions historically disadvantaged by racial, geographic, and economic inequities—by connecting, convening, and catalyzing philanthropy....more
Philanthropic and Charitable Sector letter to Congress in support of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act....more