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A Foot in Both Worlds: Working with Regional Organizations to Advance Equity

April 13, 2020

Within philanthropy, conversations about equity are increasingly taking center stage.Striving for equity means that everyone has a fair and just opportunity to thrive. This requires removing obstacles such as poverty, discrimination, and their consequences, including powerlessness and lack of access to good jobs with fair pay, quality education and housing, safe environments, and health care (Braveman, Arkin, Orleans, Proctor, & Plough, 2017).For national foundations, working through and with regional organizations can advance equity in critical ways. Working with regional organizations can help national funders increase understanding of, relevance to, andconnection with local communities and stakeholders, ground high-level systems change in the reality of people's lives, and create common cause among a set of stakeholders across multiple localities, bringing scale andsustainability to community change initiatives. In the best-case scenario, foundation investments in regionalorganizations can catalyze powerful ripple effects, such as developing local leadership, spurring economic growth, and building a stronger nonprofit infrastructure.This paper seeks to inform national funders interested in more deeply understanding the opportunities to advance equity by working with and supporting regional organizations (as compared to local or national organizations). To do so, we reviewed the literature and conducted 20 interviews with national foundation executives who have workedwith regional organizations as part of their strategy, as well as representatives from organizations working regionally, such as community development finance institutions, regional and community foundations, and community colleges. Based on the insights shared with us, we examine how working with regional organizations can advance equity, how national foundations can work effectively with these organizations, and the potential pitfalls andchallenges of this work.

Leveraging Effective Consulting to Advance Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Philanthropy

September 1, 2019

In 2018, the National Network of Consultants to Grantmakers launched an initiative to sharpen the impact of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) work in grantmaking by increasing the capacity of consultants and grantmakers engaged in these efforts. Network researchers used a systematic protocol to interview consultant members about their most effective partnerships with grantmakers. Case studies drawn from those interviews yielded valuable lessons for advancing DEI in philanthropy.In sharing some of these lessons, this article advises consultants to be prepared to help grantmakers define or refine the meaning of DEI and understand where equity fits into their values and mission. It also explores how a good DEI consulting process helps to distinguish technical and complex dimensions of a DEI commitment, and how the scope of work should encompass both development of internal leadership skills and investment in grantee, community, and issue leaders.This article concludes with tips on how smart DEI consultant/grantmaker partnerships can understand and honor emergent strategy and help the funder follow opportunities without overwhelming the size and scale of the funder's capacity.

Community Foundations Take the Lead: Promising Approaches to Building Inclusive and Equitable Communities

January 1, 2007

Features the work of several community foundations that have promoted racial equity, highlighting their successes and challenges.