2023 Racial Equity in Lean Foundations - Exponent Philanthropy

2023 Racial Equity in Lean Foundations

Incorporating Allyship Into Your Philanthropy

This publication contains Exponent Philanthropy’s most recent findings on racial equity in lean foundations.

Using interviews with lean funders and foundations and data from the Foundation Operations and Management Report and other surveys, this report focuses on the relevance of racial equity to our members’ missions and board and staff demographics.

It shows how racial equity relates to good governance, grantmaking, and investment practices, and a new feature of the 2023 report is its information on allyship. Through Service Never Sleeps’ CLAIM framework (Care, Learn, Act, Influence, Maintain) you can see what it means to adopt allyship in your philanthropy.

What Is Allyship and Why Should You Embrace It?

When talking about allyship, we use this definition from our colleagues at Service Never Sleeps:

“Allyship is an active way of life in one’s respective areas of privilege that centers bridge-building to pursue social justice for everyone. This is accomplished by centering BIPOC [Black, Indigenous, People of Color] and other marginalized people, working on the self, and influencing others. Using a racial justice lens…Allyship [relies on a] foundational knowledge of white supremacy and [encourages] individuals in real time to address discrimination and promote social justice….”

Allyship is an opportunity for leaders at lean foundations—both board and staff—to use their privileges to pursue social justice.

Why Racial Equity in Lean Foundations?

Lean funders are increasingly focusing on racial equity, an essential component of philanthropy. Nearly three in four members of the Exponent Philanthropy community see racial equity as somewhat or very relevant to their foundation’s mission. Yet, while fewer foundation boards have all members who identify as White compared with years past, individuals who identify as BIPOC are still underrepresented among foundation boards and staff.

Our findings show that the demographic makeup of a foundation’s board directly relates to how that foundation regards racial equity. Similarly, how a foundation views racial equity is explicitly tied to how it chooses to support its grantees.

A constant theme in racial equity and allyship work is that this is a journey. You can’t fix every issue all at once. But foundations can make a real difference with long-term, consistent effort. Start your journey today.

Product Information

Author(s): Exponent Philanthropy Number of Pages: 43
Format: Electronic Download
(2023, 43 pages, PDF)
Member Price: Free
Non-Member Price: Free

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