An intentional part of designing Foundations for Racial Equity is ensuring that folks show up ready and willing to work. Responding to the requests of a few participants of color, we curated a list of foundational racial equity concepts and resources we expected participants to be familiar with before showing up to our opening convening. In assigning this as required knowledge, we were clear that while participants didn’t need to be “experts” in everything, they at least needed to come with a level of awareness and understanding to engage in meaningful dialogue.

We introduced the Spectrum of Extractive to Regenerative Philanthropy from Justice Funders to facilitate conversation about where folks are now and where they’d like to go. This spectrum is part of Justice Funders’ Resonance Framework for Philanthropic Transformation. Participants shared that the framework was helpful for painting a picture of a desired future state and that they appreciated hearing ideas from others about how to get there, and we talked about how it’s also important to recognize that a tool is just a tool.

We practiced deep listening through a storytelling exercise called appreciative interviews, where participants shared examples of when they were successful in advancing racial equity in small and big ways. Doing this pushed participants to practice active, intentional, and empathetic listening. One participant remarked that “You don’t often get to bring your story into the work, which is great and rare.” 

Read the full article about inequity and injustice in homelessness by Stephanie Chan at Funders Together to End Homelessness.