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Moving Through (Not Around) Racial Equity Work: Lessons from a Community Foundation

“Look within. Be explicit. Don’t be afraid to be messy. Commit for the long term.” Jennifer Aronson, the Boston Foundation’s (TBF) Associate Vice President for Programs, shared these recommendations for shaping a racial equity lens at this month’s Grantmakers for Effective Organizations national conference. These tips ring true for most social justice work both within the philanthropic community and among our partner nonprofits. Understanding that this work, of looking both inward and outward when bolstering our racial equity lens, is not linear is necessary to move through, and not around, difficult conversations about race, power, and privilege. I would humbly add “be hopeful” to Jennifer’s tips, as there is more traction and more motivated people on similar journeys to building or strengthening the racial equity lens in their work than you might think.


5 Ways to Improve Your Charity’s Transparency

It is unfortunate to say, but many people do not trust charities to use their donations appropriately. In a world of instant news, we are often faced with corruption and scandals surrounding nonprofits. Charities are held at a higher standard and need to improve their transparency in order to maintain donor trust. 

When potential donors can easily find your organization’s information, they are usually willing to be more generous with their donations. Here are five ways to improve your charity’s financial transparency.


Navigating Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Conversations

What’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and Why Should We Care About It?

It’s easy to talk about the things we have in common. When we meet people, we start with what we all relate to. “Is it still raining out there? Are you also flying home? ­­­You got tickets to Hamilton?!

It’s a lot harder to talk about differences.

It’s even harder to talk about differences when they’re about our identities.


Five Mistakes Your Nonprofit Doesn’t Want to Make When Investigating Sexual Harassment Allegations

In a former professional role, I served as legal counsel to employers in employment discrimination cases, including sexual harassment matters. While representing employers I learned about many instances of sexual harassment that were not handled well by the employer. Many of the underlying harassment claims were so mishandled that the victims became even more outraged and angry, not only at the harasser but also at their employer.


New Report Finds Gender Representation Stagnant Among U.S. Philanthropy Leadership

The proportions of women and people of racial and ethnic minorities in philanthropic leadership levels has been stagnant over the past decade, according to a new report from the Council on Foundations.


9 Principles of Community-Centric Fundraising

Hi everyone. After last week’s post, I got a lot of comments, many in support, a few cautiously curious, and some strong disagreement. Which is all awesome, because we can disagree on many things, but I think the conversation around equity as it’s applied to fundraising is much needed. I also want to reiterate how much respect I have for the fundraisers in our field. I’ve said it before that I think you have to be pretty brilliant to be a successful fundraising professional, considering how complex this work is. I also want to reaffirm how much I appreciate donors, and that my critique of donor-centrism in no way precludes respect for donors, just like my critique of inequitable funding practices should not mean a disrespect for foundations or program officers, or my post on how data has been used to perpetuate inequity should not be seen as a dis on evaluators and researchers.


19 Tips for Making Your Job Posting So Amazing, Unicorns Will Weep Tears of Joy

We need to talk about a serious problem that’s been ignored for a long time. No, not the lack of gel pens given out by vendors during conferences. (Seriously, vendors, get better pens! Ballpoint is so cliché!) I’m talking about job postings—they suck. They have sucked for a long time. I bet when aliens dig up remnants of the human race, they’ll encounter our job postings and go, “……” which is alien telepathic language for “these documents suck; no wonder their civilization collapsed.”

We’ve been using the same format, the same tired language, and the same archaic requirements. We need to do better.


Two New Resources for the Nonprofit Diversity Conversation

Two works related to nonprofit diversity arrived at GuideStar last month. The first, "Engaging Nonprofit Employees: 3 Key Strategies to Retain and Engage the People Behind Your Cause," adds more evidence of diversity's importance to the sector. The second, "If Your Board Looked Like Your Community," offers steps for moving toward a more inclusive sector.


Insights into Nonprofit Compensation and Diversity

Every year, both the Council on Foundations and GuideStar publish compensation studies for the philanthropic and broader nonprofit sectors, respectively.  The Council’s Grantmakers Salary and Benefits Survey and GuideStar’s Nonprofit Compensation Report serve multiple important purposes for both the individual organizations that use the data as well as the field as a whole.  The objectives we find most interesting and relevant are related to having tools that promote effective organizational management and improve our understanding of the state of diversity in our field.


Green 2.0 Reports Lack of Transparency about Diversity by Major Environmental Funders, While Many Smaller Foundations Disclosed Data

Green 2.0 announced that one year from their initial call for transparent diversity data – and months after the Presidents of the Bullitt, Ford, Hewlett, Kresge, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and Wilburforce Foundations jointly echoed the need for data sharing by environmental funders – a majority of the 40 biggest funders of environmental work declined to share diversity data on their GuideStar profiles. Green 2.0 reports that many funders outside of the top 40 disclosed their employee and board information. This summer, the six foundation presidents co-signed a letter urging their peers to upload data by August 15. The deadline was extended to September 15, 2015.