Giving Compass' Take:

• The Northwest Area Foundation describes its DEI journey as it pivots its grantmaking practices to be more inclusive of Native-led and other communities of color, while also committing to DEI in all tasks at the foundation. 

• How can successful DEI initiatives at foundations serve as positive examples of inclusive charitable giving practices for individual donors? 

• Read about the end of checkbox diversity.  

We’re two years into our journey toward diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). At the core of that process is our understanding that the Foundation itself needs to reflect the changes we want to see—namely, overcoming the policies and systems that create barriers to equity and supporting work that leads to sustainable prosperity for all.

Grantmaking was one of the key motivations for launching our DEI journey. In 2012 we pledged to award 40 percent of new grant dollars to Native-led organizations. It was our first explicit commitment to target a percentage of overall funding to a specific community. And it acknowledges and honors that the Foundation’s service region is anchored by Native lands, communities, and cultures.

Taking that definitive policy step inspired us to ask two fundamental questions:

How can we measurably implement a deeper commitment to all our priority communities: Native Americans, communities of color, immigrants, refugees, and people in rural areas?

How can we look beyond our grantmaking and make a commitment to DEI in everything we do?

  • Transform from the inside out. 
  • Articulate the journey. 
  • Craft a multiyear game plan. 
  • Track funding to all of our priority communities. 
  • Lead with learning.
  • Go all-in.

Read the full article about this foundation's DEI journey by Paul Bachleitner at PEAK Grantmaking.