There is, of course, no silver bullet for eradicating racism. But in the spirit of thinking globally while daring to act within the realm of things we can control, foundations should consider incorporating the following practices to address racial bias within our own organizations and grantmaking:

  1. Adopt zero-tolerance policies prohibiting all forms of racism, bigotry, or prejudice — including, but not limited to, in “safe spaces” such as staff retreats and after-work happy hours or social gatherings.
  2. When an employee of color is mistreated based upon their race or skin color, do not put the onus on them to address or rectify the issue. Act swiftly and boldly, as the matter can become toxic, erode office culture, and potentially lead to litigation if left insufficiently addressed.
  3. Racial equity “trainings” are helpful but do not go far enough. Hire people from the communities you seek to serve and pay them equal to similarly situated employees.
  4. Recruit board members from the communities you seek to serve. Be intentional and creative about uplifting non-traditional voices on your board.
  5. Prioritize grantmaking to support organizations with diverse staff and board composition.
  6. Provide grants to promote democracy building, specifically geared toward racial justice.

During this time, I humbly ask that all foundation leaders refrain from (albeit perhaps well-intended) efforts to “fix” or “address” racism by bombarding a person of color in the office with the laborious task of educating the organization on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) or the history of race relations in America. Not only does this single people of color out as “the other,” it also: 1) puts more work on our plates which, in some cases, is outside the scope of our professional training and expertise; 2) reinforces stereotypes; and 3) perpetuates the falsehood that racism can only be addressed by people of color.

Read the full article about confronting racism by Anthony Richardson at the Center for Effective Philanthropy.