If foundations are serious about moving funding to the communities that are most affected by systemic injustice, then their funding philosophies and practices must evolve. My previous organization RVC and I collaborated to develop this Equitable Grantmaking Continuum, based on our experience working with grassroots organizations led by and serving marginalized communities these past several years, and taking a few pointers from efforts such as Trust-Based Philanthropy and Grantadvisor.org.Here’s the full-version, and here’s the one-pager you can print out and hang on your wall. Use this tool to analyze how your foundation is doing and then start taking action. Here are things to keep in mind:
- This tool is a guide and as such it will change: Use this as a way to assess your foundation’s grantmaking practices, think about why you do things a certain way, what impact you may be having, and what things you can do differently. This tool, however, is not set in stone.
- As with all tools, thoughtless usage may further inequity: If funders are not intentional, then “improving” grantmaking processes often only end up further helping the organizations that already benefit most from the system.
- Do not spend time in toxic intellectualization: By this we mean funders spending endless hours in meetings debating these points, wasting months or years trying to make sure things are perfect before implementing.
- Be OK making mistakes and failing: Taking action means on occasion we will make mistakes, and some people might get mad.
- Take a public stand on equity: Some funders in private say that they are focusing on getting funding to communities that are most affected by systemic injustice, but they refuse to admit this in public.
- This does not substitute for more radical shifts in philanthropy: If you find this tool helpful, that’s great, but understand that many of the items here represent an incremental approach to improving grantmaking.
Read the full article about improving grantmaking by Vu Le at Nonprofit AF.
North America is a complex topic, and others found these selections from the Impact Giving archive from Giving Compass to be good resources.
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