The San Francisco Bay Area is among the most economically inequitable places in America, and addressing those inequities will require shifts in philanthropic practice, a report from Northern California Grantmakers and Open Impact finds.

Funded by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the report, Get It Right: 5 Shifts Philanthropy Must Make Toward an Equitable Region (22 pages, PDF), found that just 16 percent of families own 81 percent of the region’s wealth; nearly one in four Black and Native American residents, 18 percent of Latinx immigrants, and 17 percent of essential workers live below the poverty line; 66 percent of essential workers are Black, Indigenous, and people of color; and 33 percent of all women of color work in essential industries. The report identifies five shifts in practice that decision makers — including foundation board members, trustees, and executives, as well as individual donors — must make to align resources and drive changes to eliminate racialized wealth gaps and foster regional vibrancy and well-being.

First, philanthropy must shift from a donor-centered decision-making process to a community-centered process that engages those closest to the issue and applies a racial justice framework. Second, funders must shift from a symptoms-focused approach that only leads to short-term surface-level solutions to a systems-focused, holistic approach that addresses underlying root causes while also providing direct services. Third, funders must shift from taking individual, isolated actions based on siloed strategies to collaborating to develop collective strategies and drive change in a complex ecosystem. Fourth, they must shift from limited capital investment to leveraged, catalytic capital investment and organize diverse sources, including their endowments, resources of peer foundations, the private sector, and government. And fifth, foundations must implement trust-based and inclusive grantmaking practices; center diversity, equity, and inclusion; and demonstrate a sense of urgency in deploying funds for long-term systems change. The report includes case studies of how, in addition to the Packard Foundation, Sobrato Philanthropies and the Akonadi and Castellano Family foundations implemented those shifts.

Read the full article about philanthropy and equity at Philanthropy News Digest.