With increased focus and funding, philanthropy continues to prioritize the work of racial equity; however, operations teams including IT departments are often left behind. This gap was first identified in 2018 through the results of the State of Philanthropy Tech survey by the Technology Association of Grantmakers (TAG). At the time, 40 percent of responding foundations reported that no DEI training whatsoever was offered to technology staff. As you can imagine, the TAG community was stunned by these findings and vowed to remediate them by authoring editorials, providing workshops, study groups, and offering space for cohort convening.

Unfortunately, the gap persists.

In the 2020 State of Philanthropy Tech survey, 37 percent of responding foundations were still not offering any DEI training to technology staff. Beyond training, 40 percent of survey respondents in 2020 did not have any of the following diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs their organizations have in place for technology departments.

Such mature organizations are worth examining further. Have these organizations responded to internal forces of change, or have the events of 2020 stimulated a new commitment to equity? What lessons have they learned? What strategies have been most effective? Leveraging the momentum of 2020 will require lamp-posts to inspire and guide. It will also require accountability.

As as we evolve together toward a just and sustainable future, how can we hold ourselves accountable for progress? And what does progress look like? Recently, tech and operations staff from TAG member foundations met to reflect upon the equity journey in their organizations, identifying both a roadmap as well as hotspots or “stuck points” on that roadmap toward greater equity. While hardly canonical, the resulting roadmap offers a method for situating one’s current state and charting steps toward progress. Moreover, the hotspots (shown below in red) serve to identify areas where philanthropy-serving organizations such as TAG, PEAK, and others might offer programs to bridge gaps or help foundations work through areas where they’ve stalled.

Read the full article about how to operationalize equity in philanthropy by Chantal E. Forster at PEAK Grantmaking.