Giving Compass' Take:

• The United Philanthropy Forum conducted a scan of regional and national philanthropy-serving organizations in 2018 to understand the gaps in advancing racial equity within the philanthropic sector, and what practices can drive progress. 

• Board engagement is one of the challenges that the philanthropy-serving organizations reported. Why is it significant for board members to be involved in advancing racial equity work and how can PSOs get them there?

• Read more about how philanthropy can support racial equity. 

United Philanthropy Forum conducted a scan of regional and national philanthropy-serving organizations (PSOs) in February through May 2018 to get a more comprehensive understanding of PSOs’ current work and future needs to advance racial equity in philanthropy.

The scan involved both a survey that asked about PSOs’ current work, future needs and greatest challenges in advancing racial equity, plus in-depth interviews to discuss what it takes to do this work effectively and to identify their key challenges, barriers and opportunities for addressing systemic inequities.

The scan reflects the input of 43 regional and national PSOs that participated in the scan survey and/or the scan interviews, representing more than half of the Forum’s membership. The scan report includes the Forum’s plan for action to respond to the scan’s key findings.

PSOs identified the following as being the greatest needs they have, and gaps they see, for helping them do more to advance racial equity in philanthropy.

Biggest Gaps & Needs for PSOs to Advance Racial Equity

  • Access to guiding frameworks, professional development, tools and training on both internal practices as well as working with members on racial equity.
  • Access to additional financial resources to support racial equity work.
  • Need for peer learning.
  • Need for case studies.
  •  Engaging board members.
  • A stronger power analysis for the sector, especially around foundation boards and investments.

What Facilitates Progress to Advance Racial Equity

  • A shared language.
  • A focus on structural racism.
  • Meeting people where they are.
  • Connecting racial equity to members’ priorities.

Read the full report on advancing racial equity by David Maurrasse at