Mind the Gap: Reflection Questions & Implementation Ideas - Exponent Philanthropy

Mind the Gap: Reflection Questions & Implementation Ideas

Exploring the Role of Diversity and Racial Equity in Leanly Staffed Foundations

Racial equity is an essential part of philanthropy, and lean funders are increasingly focused on it, yet foundation boards and staff are still disproportionately White. The two primary factors holding back philanthropy’s efforts to help advance social change are rooted in race:

  • Understanding the role of race in the problems philanthropists are trying to solve
  • The significance of race when it comes to how philanthropists identify leaders and find solutions

Understanding the demographic makeup of foundation boards and staff is important context. It is even more important to reflect on if, why, and how your foundation contributes to this demographic disparity in philanthropy. There is not one right way to approach this problem, and no simple answer or definitive next step for foundations to take. Instead, we encourage you to take time with your foundation board and staff to reflect on your internal and external practices.

The following questions and statements are for lean funders who want to actively address racial equity at their foundations and in their work. These questions will help you identify areas of strength and opportunities for increasing your impact.