“Philanthropy relies on the amassed wealth of families and institutions that have benefited from systemic racism. As a result, the institution has a power imbalance in where funds go and what organizations and initiatives receive support,” say Maya Pendleton and Juanita Gallion of The Center for the Study of Social Policy in an Exponent Philanthropy blog post.

Too often, philanthropy develops or identifies solutions without a race-based lens, even though race is one of the most reliable predictors of life outcomes.

Why Racial Equity in Lean Foundations?
The Bridgespan Group and Echoing Green identified two primary factors that keep philanthropy from helping to advance social change:

  • An understanding of the role of race in the problems philanthropists are trying to solve
  • The significance of race when it comes to how philanthropists identify leaders and find solutions

Being able to listen and having humility, curiosity, and a commitment to continual learning are key qualities needed to start one’s racial equity journey. Many lean funders have these traits. However, they must first look internally to evaluate how their demographics and operations could be perpetuating racial inequities.

Foundation Board Demographics
The 2022 FOMR compares the entire population of foundation board members to the U.S. population. The report shows that although White people make up 60% of the U.S. population, 91% of foundation board members are White. Meanwhile, members of the BIPOC community compose nearly 40% of the U.S. population but make up only 9% of foundation board members.

Read the full article about foundation boards and staff at Exponent Philanthropy.