One year ago, as protesters filled America’s streets demanding justice after George Floyd’s murder by police, corporations and major philanthropists pledged an outpouring of donations for racial equity causes.

Billions of dollars were committed to new philanthropic initiatives. Billions more were directed to new business practices designed to aid minority communities. From poverty and police conduct to housing and education, the causes ranged broadly, with many donors looking to address the underfunding of nonprofits, especially in Black communities.

Those causes may yet receive the money they were pledged. Yet a tangle of complex tax rules and the absence of a framework to track funding for racial equity programs — or even a consensus on what a “racial equity program” is — have made it all but impossible to assess the overall effectiveness of the donations.

A year later, racial justice retains its high profile across the country, even if protests are now fewer and smaller. And though discussion about increasing diversity in all aspects of American life goes on and some changes have been adopted, advocates so far see little systemic progress.

“The events of last year have changed the way some foundations work,” said Aaron Dorfman, CEO of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, a research and advocacy group. “You’re going to see higher raw-dollar figures and higher percentages explicitly intended to benefit Black communities and other communities of color. A lot of us who are proponents of racial justice and social justice are really hoping that this newfound commitment continues. It’s an open question as to if it really will.”

In a joint reporting effort, The Associated Press and The Chronicle of Philanthropy are examining how money pledged and donated in the name of racial justice has actually been used so far. Many nonprofits that received money after the Floyd protests channeled it into programs that serve minority communities.

Read the full article about philanthropy and racial justice by Glenn Gamboa at The Associated Press.