Earlier this year, along with fellow Exponent Philanthropy staff, colleagues, and board members, I participated in a learning session on equity, inclusion, and diversity. Collectively, our eyes were opened, and I certainly found myself, as a funder, thinking about things differently. The session didn’t cause an immediate seismic shift in my grantmaking, but it was a catalyst for cleaning my glasses, opening my ears, and thinking more deeply about how I do what I do.

One of the most important take-aways was recognizing that embracing a racial equity lens in your philanthropy is neither easy, fast, nor simple. But it is possible. And so, as the session concluded, I asked the member-participants to share actionable steps we can each take as we find our own initial footing on the path to incorporating new perspectives.

Tango B. Moore, grants manager for the Reidsville Area Foundation in North Carolina, emphasizes that you need to bring your whole, true self to the work. Being genuine and intentional in your actions does not mean being perfect; learn and grow through mistakes.

Don’t be afraid to look in the mirror or, as Tango recommends, start taking equity selfies. As you push outward for social change, remember to regularly and often look inward at yourself, your role, your organization, and your funding to see how your reflection models and advances your goals regarding racial equity.

In this work, as in so many new endeavors, the first step can be the toughest. Rahsaan urges you to start with a question: What racial disparities exist in the issue area my foundation addresses? This effort can reveal opportunities for you to apply intentional approaches to end disparities in your work.

Read the full article about grantmaking with a racial equity lens by Henry Berman at Exponent Philanthropy.