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Philanthropy and the Destructive Illusion of “Leveling the Playing Field”

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A few months ago a program officer and I were talking about the lack of funding that goes to communities-of-color-led nonprofits (only about 10% of philanthropic dollars go to organizations of color). He shook his head in sympathy and frustration, sipping on his coffee. “There has to be a way to level the playing field,” he said. This was probably the third time that quarter I had heard that phrase uttered by a funder. 


Borealis Philanthropy Launches Fund to Advance Racial Equity in Philanthropy

We are excited to announce the launch of the Racial Equity in Philanthropy (REP) Fund, a collaborative funding effort based at Borealis Philanthropy that currently includes the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Ford Foundation. Our first round of grants totaling $14 million over three years will support 19 philanthropy-serving organizations committed to advancing racial equity within the sector and beyond.


How Northwest Health Foundation Is Using Diversity Data to Do Better

On every grant application, Northwest Health Foundation (NWHF) requires nonprofits to report the demographics of the communities they serve, as well as the demographics of their board members. However, that hasn’t always been the case.


New Figures Reveal Diversity Gaps in British Philanthropy

The following article is cross-posted from Alliance magazine blog. Based out of the UK, Alliance magazine is the leading global magazine on philanthropy and social investment. GuideStar is pleased to offer a non-U.S. perspective on diversity, equity, and inclusion.

British foundations are falling short when it comes to embracing diversity. A new report commissioned by the foundation umbrella body, the UK’s Association of Charitable Foundations (ACF), highlights a striking lack of racial, age, and gender diversity in the make-up and composition of foundation trustee boards.


What We’re Learning about Nonprofits’ DEI Journeys

A few years ago, I came across this quote:

Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

James Baldwin

It immediately struck a chord. In my personal life, I think of this often for everything from my health to my relationships. In my professional life, I’m an analyst at GuideStar. I keep this quote framed on my desk to remind me why analyzing and improving nonprofit data is so important. The data that nonprofits collect and report isn’t just information in a database. It has the power to shape decisions.

In recent years, the sector has begun to focus on data collection for organizational diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).


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.