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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 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 80 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 Association of Black Foundation Executives (ABFE).

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

Statement on Racial Justice from National Nonprofit Organizations...more
On June 9, 2020, Philanthropy Ohio President Deborah Aubert Thomas and Chief Communication & Public Policy Officer Claudia Y.W. Herrold submitted a letter to the office of Ohio State Senator Dave Burke of the Ohio Senate Health, Human Services, and Medicaid Committee, expressing support for support SCR14, which seeks to declare racism a public health emergency and pursue policies to eliminate racial inequities in the state of Ohio....more
One of the key findings from United Philanthropy Forum’s 2018 Racial Equity Scan of Philanthropy-Serving Organizations (PSOs) was that Forum members are eager to engage in peer learning, particularly around advancing racial equity in their organizations, with their members and through their programs. In order to advance this learning, and to support member organizations who are at different places on the continuum of equity skills and practice, the Forum is partnering with Change Elemental to create two Racial Equity Peer Learning Cohorts...more
To help PSOs overcome financial barriers to engaging in racial equity work, the Forum is offering mini-grant opportunities for our members, thanks to support from Borealis Philanthropy’s Racial Equity in Philanthropy Fund. This mini-grant program will provide Forum members with small grants, up to $5,500, to cover all or part of the costs of a trainer, facilitator, or speaker (or related program expenses) to engage with staff, board, and/or members on an aspect of advancing racial equity....more
United Philanthropy Forum’s 2019 Compensation & Benefits for Philanthropy-Serving Organizations report provides comprehensive benchmarking data and analyses on regional and national PSOs’ employment practices, based on the responses of 58 PSOs....more
Tyehimba Jess, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, opened United Philanthropy Forum's 2019 Annual Conference in Cleveland on July 15 with excerpts from his award-winning work Olio ....more
Dr. Jennifer Eberhardt, author of Biased , presented as a part of a breakfast plenary session at United Philanthropy Forum's 2019 Annual Conference in Cleveland on July 16. Dr. Eberhardt opened with a story about her son making a biased statement and she emphasized the different ways in which implicit bias can have an impact on our decision-making without us even knowing it....more
Ana Marie Argilagos, President and CEO of Hispanics in Philanthropy facilitates the closing conversation for lucheon plenary session at United Philanthropy Forum's 2019 Annual Conference in Cleveland on July 17 with LaTosha Brown, co-founder of the Black Voters Matter, and Vanita Gupta, President and CEO of Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights about the role of philanthropy in our democracy....more