Giving Compass' Take:

• Michael Gee argues that public-private partnerships are needed to break down the barriers of structural racism or society and the economy will suffer.

• How can funders find partners for collaboration? What internal work do foundations and nonprofits need to do to ensure they are not perpetuating the problems of structural racism? 

• Learn how the Baltimore Fund is challenging structural racism

Historically, the failure to increase fairness and equity in America through cross-sector collaboration and public-private partnerships represents a complete failure at the "systems level." Fifty years of effort by government, educational and advocacy groups, corporate diversity programs, and consultants, not to mention intense media focus on the issue, have failed to make a substantial impact.

The fact is, tackling racial equity is hard, the structural and policy issues complex. As an African American, the issues of income inequality and progress on the corporate diversity front are of keen interest to me. Seeking to answer the question "What does good enough look like?", I recently spoke with more than two dozen leaders from the nonprofit, government, and business sectors and discovered that there is broad consensus that much more needs to be done to address racial inequity in America.

Public-private partnerships that pool resources and expertise and facilitate broad community support are one way to do that. The decision by Congress to include, as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, $1.6 billion in tax incentives over the next ten years to create Opportunity Zones for private investment in distressed communities is the latest attempt. While the social sector is slowly coming around to the idea that the private sector can be a force good, however, new "playbooks" are required if we hope to see meaningful change.

The urgency to act before structural racism further destabilizes society and the economy has never been greater. It's time we get this right.

Read the full article about undoing structural racism by Michael Gee at Philanthropy News Digest.