As protests against systemic racism took place across nation in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, CapShift began to receive the same question from several families: “How can I use my philanthropic resources to advance racial justice?”

It was, and continues to be, a crucial question. As we grapple with the challenges rooted in centuries of discrimination and exclusion that affect millions of Americans, we cannot wait to act. That includes using the power of philanthropy to support marginalized individuals and disenfranchised communities.

CapShift works with families to strategically use their charitable capital, through investments and grantmaking, to support the social and environmental causes they care about. By aligning their investments with their grantmaking priorities, donors can amplify their impact.

Great resources exist to help donors strategically give and support racial justice, but we struggled to find a framework to help donors approach how their capital was invested. We were aware of investment opportunities that supported Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) entrepreneurs, for example, or provided under-resourced individuals job training for successful careers. But those were individual actions rather than the cohesive and intentional set of steps necessary to address a problem as systemic and widespread as racial injustice.

In partnership with TheCaseMade, an organization dedicated to building the public’s will to participate in equitable and inclusive systems change, we developed a Racial Justice Framework that helps families evaluate investment opportunities on their potential for advancing racial justice in the United States.

We found investments fall along a continuum in their efforts towards advancing racial justice—there isn’t a clear yes/no binary for evaluating them. Assessing the impact of these investments is just as complex as the challenge they seek to solve.

Our research led us to identify three types of investments that work to advance a future in which all people can thrive:

  1. Diversity and Inclusion: Investments that monitor and seek to improve the diversity and inclusion metrics associated with their organization, the groups they are investing in, or the beneficiaries of their services.
  2. Racial Equity: Investments that seek to support thriving communities, with a focus on racial equity, by correcting some of the injustices that occur because of systemic racism.
  3. Racial Justice: Investments that seek to transform the system for racial justice by advancing structural change and modeling new systems that can be used for a more just future.

Read the full article about investing in an equitable future by Liz Sessler at National Center for Family Philanthropy.