The Weissberg Foundation is a small, family foundation based in Arlington, Virginia. It was started in 1988 by real estate developer and engaged citizen Marvin Weissberg.

We have always operated with a broad vision for social justice. In the past several years, we have worked to better articulate our mission, to advance organizations and efforts building power of those most negatively impacted by racism through funding, amplification, capacity building and collaboration. In 2018 the foundation made grants totaling $1.4 million.

In January 2016 our trustee Nina Weissberg began participating in a 6-month learning series organized by the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers (WRAG) called “Putting Racism on the Table.”

This experience provided her and, through her, the foundation (including me when I came on board in May of that year) stronger foundational knowledge about structural racism, implicit bias and white privilege, and an urgency for philanthropy – including the Weissberg Foundation – to play a role in advancing racial equity.

In August 2016, we kicked off a strategic planning process. The first thing the board and staff did as part of this process was to articulate our core values, which included equity.

Over the next year, and with that lens, we did a lot of talking to each other; getting feedback from our grantee partners, declined grant applicants and peers; and looking at our grantmaking history.

Soon after we started our strategic planning process, Donald Trump won the presidential election; this was a real kick in the tail for us.

We convened a board and staff call in the week following the election to process the “what, so what and now what” of that, and our biggest “now what” was that we needed to be bolder in developing, naming and implementing our strategy to advance equity.

Since that time, we have continued to build our knowledge, sharpen our analysis and examine our own complicity in structural racism. In late 2019, we revised the language in our strategic framework to be even bolder and more explicitly anti-racist.

Read the full article about responsible philanthropy by Hanh Le at the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy.