The very essence of philanthropy is to not accept the world as it is, but to demand and work toward the world as it should be. Too often, though, philanthropy fails to achieve this goal and ends up as a mirror of what is happening in society rather than as a prism previewing a better future. Our society currently upholds a system of white supremacy that harms BIPOC people—and the philanthropic world plays no exception.

We know corporate America has fallen short on its promises to deliver financial support to organizations working toward racial justice. Relatedly, federal pandemic relief money went to businesses in neighborhoods with the highest number of white residents at about twice the rate as they did to businesses with the lowest number of white residents.

In a similar show of racial disparities in the nonprofit world, recent research from Echoing Green’s applicant pool found the revenues of Black-led organizations were 24 percent smaller than the revenues of their white-led counterparts, and the unrestricted net assets of Black-led organizations were 76 percent smaller than white-led organizations. This is similar to the Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity’s research, which found more than a third of the top 20 racial equity grant recipients from 2015 through 2018 are organizations driven by white business leaders advancing their theories of change for Black and Brown communities.

No matter what the vehicle, the story is the same: white leaders and communities continue to reap benefits due to their privilege and outsized power. Wealth continues to beget wealth and power dynamics remain intact.

As those committed to the world as it should be and not as it is, philanthropists should hold themselves to far higher standards than the institutionalized racism of the status quo and instead work to challenge norms by aggressively improving not just their giving, but the full funding system, for organizations led by people of color.

Read the full article about supporting BIPOC nonprofit leaders by Anne Price and Jhumpa Bhattacharya at Nonprofit Quarterly.