To highlight the critical #WalkYourTalk racial equity work with funders nationwide, Camelback Ventures and its Capital Collaborative team invited Kishshana Palmer, leadership expert and “recovering fundraiser,” to lead an engaging and thought-provoking conversation on anti-racist grantmaking in a philanthropic world that’s predominantly white, and this shows up as vast funding disparities for leaders of color. Did you know? Seventy-six percent of foundation staff identify as white, while only 4% of philanthropic capital gets invested in organizations led by Black and Latinx leaders.

On Sept. 21, webinar panelists Kristi Kimball of Charles & Helen Schwab Foundation, Vinny Badolato of Voqal, Corey Scholes of Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and Nicholas Donohue of Nellie Mae Education Foundation talked about their personal and professional anti-racist journeys and how they actively apply those lessons learned in advancing racial justice in their current philanthropic roles.

Here are some of the most compelling takeaways from the digital event on how to be intentional in practicing anti-racist grantmaking work:

Provide Achievable Access to Unrestricted Funding. Equitable distribution of funding is critical in supporting underrepresented (particularly BIPOC and women) founders by allowing for easier access to unrestricted capital, as well as reducing and putting less emphasis on the paperwork grantees are requested to submit in the application process. Nobody’s got time for that when you’re trying to execute impactful work.

Change How You Invest. Scholes stressed the importance of diversifying how you invest your funding by seeking out more organizations led by BIPOC founders. Scholes said it boils down to two key actions: 1) change who you invest in and 2) change how you do it by “getting out of the ivory tower of philanthropy” and spending more time in the community talking to people about their specific needs.

Develop “Trust-Based” Philanthropy. Badolato said his company has designated a portion of royalty earnings to go towards supporting BIPOC founders. In order to make sure that happens, Badolato developed a comprehensive rubric to stay aligned with their foundation’s organizational goals to advance racial equity. Those benchmarks include investing in innovation, uplifting BIPOC and women founders, and seeking out “non-traditional and interesting” stories in order to maximize funding impact.

Diversify Your NetworkThe reality is the majority of your network probably looks like you. Kimball acknowledged that the vast majority of her professional network on LinkedIn was white and in the last two years, Kimball has proactively been diversifying her network and Rolodex by intentionally including BIPOC contacts. Kimball also now looks more carefully at her schedule to make sure she’s participating in events/programs led by BIPOC founders and organizations and spending more time in the community to “listen more and talk less.”

Strategy Reset from the Top Down. Nicholas Donohue said it is critical to have internal conversations and ask: What are the principles we want to operate on? (and then work directly with your Board and C-Suite to fashion a set of racial equity guides). Donohue also stressed the importance of moving away from solely championing your foundation’s vision and instead connecting with the community to determine actual needs vs. being “arrogant and self-centered” in forcing grantees to execute “fictional outcomes” and other irrelevant metrics.

Hire More BIPOC Staff + Training Staff to Embrace Racial Equity in Their Work. Change happens from the inside out. Panelists also shared what their organizations are doing to recruit, retain, and hire staff members from diverse backgrounds (specifically BIPOC employees) to help support their foundation’s grantmaking process. Scholes shared how her organization’s education team has diversified its staff to ensure 50% BIPOC representation. Lastly, panelists also recommended investing in comprehensive staff training opportunities like Camelback Ventures’ Capital Collaborative to help move the racial equity needle in the right grantmaking direction.

To request a video recording of the event, click here.

Camelback Ventures’ Capital Collaborative works with white funders and social impact investors who want to deepen their individual and organizational commitment to racial and gender equity — but may not know how. Our unique approach brings together a community of white accomplices to engage in an introspective and concrete curriculum, to diversify their networks and make their grantmaking processes more equitable.

You can learn more and sign up for Camelback Ventures’ next Capital Collaborative Cohort which kicks off in January 2021, here.