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 the leading connector, convener and collaborative partner for all regional and national philanthropy-serving organizations (PSOs) on racial equity, diversity and inclusion. Our network includes nearly 75 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 Working Group, 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 ABFE, and Tamara Copeland, President & CEO of Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers.