Recent books, blogs, and campaigns have posed provocative questions about philanthropy’s role, responsibilities, and accountability to the communities they support—specifically communities of color. Increasingly, foundations and philanthropic-serving institutions are assessing internal operations, adopting equity competencies, reviewing strategy, developing equitable grantmaking practices, and responding to oppressive government actions by providing grants and/or using their platform to comment. In her call to action, “America is Burning: White People in Philanthropy, What is your Move?,” Executive Director of Groundswell Fund Vanessa Daniel shares her benchmark of what progress would look like: “When the majority of foundations acknowledge the fact that white supremacy is in fact blocking progress on everything their trustees care about, and that they have little hope of a [...]

Advocacy and Accountability

Report: The People Disclose
Unmasking Fidelity
Democracy is Dying. Philanthropy Needs to Stop Its Toxic Intellectualizing.
Vu Le
Nonprofit AF
Imagine a Washington State Where All of Us Can Live Our Best Lives: An Open Letter to Funders
BIPOC ED Coalition
Grantees’ Open Letter Accuses Grant Maker of Bias and Lack of Transparency
Emily Haynes
The Chronicle of Philanthropy
We Need to #DisruptPhilanthropyNOW! More Than Ever
Lisa Ranghelli
National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy
Share Our Truths for Collective Action
Journey Toward Racial Equity: Baseline Findings from the Racial Equity Capacity Assessment
Community Centered Evaluation & Research
United Philanthropy Forum
“We Must Be In It for the Long Haul”: Black Foundation Executives Request Action by Philanthropy on Anti-Black Racism
Kellogg’s Commitment to Racial Equity is Laudable, but Its Grant Competition Is Problematic
Lori Bezahler
Inside Philanthropy
Filling in NoVo’s Void
Brandi Collins-Calhoun
National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy
Performatice Philanthropy and the Cost of Silence
Ray Holgado
National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy
Love Letter to the Movement
Rajasvini Bhansali
How Philanthropy Fails to Support Its Greatest Assets, BIPOC Leaders, and What It Should Do About It
Vu Le
Nonprofit AF
Our Democracy Is Under Attack and Philanthropy Needs to Act Now
Dr. Carmen Rojas and Dimple Abichandani
Inside Philanthropy; Marguerite Casey Foundation; General Service Foundation
Privilege, Power, and Personal Conflicts: The Forces Preventing Change in Nonprofit and Philanthropy
Vu Le
Nonprofit AF
This Moment Shows Us Why Philanthropy Should Reinvent Itself
Gislaine Ngounou
Nonprofit Quarterly (NPQ)
#DisruptPhilanthropyNOW - Invitation for Courageous and Collective Action
Within Our Lifetime National Network
America is Burning: White People in Philanthropy, What Is Your Move?
Vanessa Daniel
Groundswell Fund
Amplifying Movement Knowledge for Philanthropy
Johanna Morariu et al.
Innovation Network
Dear Philanthropy: These Are the Fires of Anti-Black Racism
Will Cordery
Nonprofit Quarterly (NPQ)
Ferguson and Other Structural Racism Flashpoints: The Philanthropic Strategic Response and Role
Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity (PRE)
Hate-Free Philanthropy: Identifying Opportunities and Obstacles to Safeguard the Sector
Abbas Barzegar and Willemijn Keizer
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR); SPLC
Philanthropy’s Power to Disrupt Tyranny – Starting With Itself
Jeanné Lewis
National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP)
The Need for Black Rage In Philanthropy
Rodney D. Foxworth, Jr.

Analysis of the Sector

It’s Time to Ditch the Mantra of Trust-based Philanthropy
Simon Sommer
Alliance Magazine
Effective Strategies for Organizations of Color in Philanthropy
Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) Leaders of Color
Stifled Generosity: How Philanthropy Has Fueled the Accumulation and Privatization of Wealth
Justice Funders
Neo-colonial Philanthropy in the UK
Fozia Irfan
Alliance Publishing Trust
Racism and the Roots of Conservative Philanthropy in the US
Donna J Nicol
Al Jazeera
Mismatched: Philanthropy’s Response to the Call for Racial Justice
M.D. Cyril, L.M. Kan, B.F. Maulbeck, and L. Villarosa
Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity (PRE)
Moving from Intention to Impact: Funding Racial Equity to Win
M. McAfee, J. Kirschenbaum, L. Lanzerotti, et al.
PolicyLink and Bridgespan
2020 DAPP (Diversity Among Philanthropic Professionals) Survey Report
Lyle Matthew Kan et al.
CHANGE Philanthropy
Fund Us Like You Want Us to Win!
Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson
When We Fight, We Win!
Why We Must Overhaul the Funding of Social Movements
Tatiana Cordero Velásquez and Mónica Enríquez-Enríquez
Shadow Money: How the Right Funds Regressive Movements
S. Pharr, E. Ward, T. L. Ramos, et al.
Resource Generation; Social Justice Fund Northwest
The Ethical Rainmaker: The Racist Roots Of Nonprofits & Philanthropy with Christina Shimizu
Michelle Shireen Muri
Community-Centric Fundraising
Dismantling White Supremacy & Anti-Blackness in Philanthropy
Justice Funders
NCRP Report: Too Many Local Community Foundations Still Underinvesting in Black Communities
Ryan Schlegel et al.
National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy
Philanthropy and Social Movements Podcast
Students enrolled in Harvard University's class “Philanthropy and Social Movements: Will the Revolution Be Funded?”
Advancing Racial Equity in Philanthropy: A Scan of Philanthropy-Serving Organizations
United Philanthropy Forum
Critical Issues Forum, Volume 5: Moving Forward on Racial Justice Philanthropy
Lori Villarosa, Julie Quiroz, Lisa McGill, et al.
Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity (PRE)
Freedom Funders: Philanthropy and the Civil Rights Movement 1955–1965
Sean Dobson
National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP)
How “Movement Capture” Shaped the Fight for Civil Rights
Kelsey Piper
Pennies for Progress: A Decade of Boom for Philanthropy, a Bust for Social Justice
Ryan Schlegel
National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP)
Progressive Funders: You May Be Part of the Problem
Vu Le
Nonprofit AF
Race, Power and Democracy: Synthesis of Select Philanthropic Efforts Following Key Flashpoints
Maggie Potapchuk
MP Associates; Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity (PRE)
Racism in Philanthropy: Effective Practices for Grantmakers Webinar
Chris Cardona, Michael McAfee, Carly Hare, Edgar Villanueva, et al.
Schott Foundation for Public Education; Ford Foundation; PolicyLink; Change Philanthropy
Short Changed: Foundation Giving and Communities of Color
Will Pittz and Rinku Sen
Applied Research Center
State of Foundation Funding for the Pro-Immigrant Movement: A Movement Investment Project Brief
Ryan Schlegel, Stephanie Peng, and Timi Gerson et al.
Movement Investment Project; National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP)
What Does Philanthropy Need to Know to Prioritize Racial Justice?
Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity

Descriptions of Efforts and Organizations

A Call to Action: Celebrating Black Abundance
Abundance Movement
Transforming Power Fund (TPF) - Detroit
Transforming Power Fund (TPF) - Detroit
An Enduring Commitment to Racial Equity
Jim Canales
Barr Foundation
Anti-racist Principles, Guidance and Toolkit: Act Boldly
K. Puvanendran, T. Agbalaya, and S. Christie et al.
Barr’s Equity Journey
Jim Canales
Barr Foundation
As the South Grows: Strong Roots
Ryan Schlegel and Stephanie Peng
National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP)
Changing the Conversation: Philanthropic Funding and Community Organizing in Detroit
Nina Ignaczak et al.
Allied Media Projects (AMP); Detroit People’s Platform (DPP)
Community Foundations Take the Lead: Promising Approaches to Building Inclusive and Equitable Communities
Lisa D. McGill and Bonnie Kornberg with Caitlin Johnson
Five Year Reflection: Aligning Board and Staff
Pam Moret and Jen Ford Reedy
Bush Foundation
More Than Words, Part Two: Leadership Challenges – Navigating Organizational Transformation Emphasizing Racial, Social, and Economic Equity
George Penick
Foundation for the Mid South (FMS)
Race: What We’ve Learned So Far
Tamara Winfrey-Harris, Pamela Ross, Jeanie Andes, and Ben Snyder 
Central Indiana Community Foundation

Grantmaking Strategies and Practices

Indigenizing Philanthropy: Shifting Grantmaking Practices from Extractive to Reciprocal
Galina Angarova and Daisee Francour
Cultural Survival
How We Can Advance Support for Racial Equity and Racial Justice Funding
Lori Villarosa
PEAK Grantmaking
Using a Racial Justice Lens in Grantmaking Around the Globe
Lori Villarosa
Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity (PRE)
Lessons for Foundations on Rapid-Response Support at the Front Lines of Democracy
Shireen Zaman and Melissa Spatz
National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy
Solidarity Not Charity - Grantmaking in the Solidarity Economy
Nati Linares and Caroline Woolard
Grantmakers in the Arts
Indigenous Ways of Giving + Sharing: Indigenous-led Funds Landscape Scan Report
Itoah Scott-Enns
International Funders for Indigenous Peoples (IFIP)
Equitable Grantmaking Continuum
Nonprofit AF and
Shifting Power to Communities in Grant Funding
Rodney Foxworth and Marcus Haymon
Stanford Social Innovation Review
Five Ways Funders Can Support Movements Building True Multiracial, Feminist Democracy
Rajasvini Bhansall and Tarso Luís Ramos
Northern California Grantmakers
Grantmaking Practices Self-Assessment
Justice Funders
Let Us Breathe Fund: For Black-Led Organizing and Social Change that Confronts Racial Capitalism
North Star Fund, New York City
A Philanthropic Commitment to Dismantling White Supremacy and Anti-Blackness Must Include Support for Defunding the Police
Maria Nakae
Justice Funders
Guiding a Giving Response to Anti-Black Injustice
ABFE and The Bridgespan Group
5 Core Practices of Grantee-Centric Philanthropy
Peery Foundation
Deciding Together: Shifting Power and Resources Through Participatory Grantmaking
Cynthia Gibson and Jen Bokoff
Ecosystem Grantmaking: A Systemic Approach to Supporting Movement Building
Cassandra Shaylor
Akonadi Foundation
Funding Movement Building: Bay Area Approaches
Catherine Lerza
Bay Area Justice Funders Network
Grantmaking with a Racial Justice Lens: A Practical Guide
Rinku Sen and Lori Villarosa
Philanthropic Inititiative for Racial Equity (PRE)
Journey Towards Intersectional Grant-Making
Mari Ryono
Funders for a Just Economy; Neighborhood Funders Group (NFG)
Racial Equity and Philanthropy: Disparities in Funding for Leaders of Color Leave Impact on the Table
Cheryl Dorsey, J. Bradach, and P. Kim
Echoing Green; The Bridgespan Group
RE-Tool: Racial Equity in the Panel Process
Eleanor Savage
Jerome Foundation
Summary of Community Conversations
Consumer Health Foundation
The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Toolkit for Consultants to Grantmakers
National Network of Consultants to Grantmakers (NNCG)
The Equity Journey: NewSchools Venture Fund and Lumina Foundation Pursue Diversity on the Road to Equity
Christina A. Russell and Lynn Jenkins
Grantmakers for Education

Imagining New Systems and Shifting Resources

2022 Black Liberation Giving Guide
Funding Black-led Movements
Elz Cuya Jones with Nat Chioke Williams
Meeting the Moment: A North Star Fund Podcast
Resourcing Radical Justice: Who We Are
Announcing the Launch of Resourcing Radical Justice
Meyer Foundation;
Can Philanthropy Relinquish Enough Power and Control to Support BIPOC Communities in Governing Resources for Themselves?
Justice Funders
Beauty And The Beast: Can Money Ever Foster Social Transformation?
Michael Edwards
Hivos Knowledge Programme, Humanist Institute for Cooperation with Developing Countries
Decolonizing Wealth: Indigenous Wisdom to Heal Divides and Restore Balance
Edgar Villanueva
Decolonizing Wealth
It Takes Roots to Challenge Philanthropy
Climate Justice Alliance; Indigenous Environmental Network; Right to the City Alliance; Grassroots Global Justice Alliance
Now Or Never: What Is Philanthropy’s Point of No Return?
Maggie Potapchuk
#DisruptPhilanthropyNow! Blog
Resonance: A Framework for Philanthropic Transformation
Justice Funders; Resonance Collaborative
The Case for Funding Black-Led Social Change
Susan Taylor Batten and Nat Chioke Williams
Association of Black Foundation Executives (ABFE); Hill-Snowdon Foundation
The Ethical Argument for Foundations to Increase Their Annual Payout Rate Beyond 5%
Vu Le
Nonprofit AF
A Call to Modernize American Philanthropy
David Bornstein
The NY Times

Internal Organizational Strategies

A Letter to Foundation Trustees: 5 Things You Can Do Right Now To Show Up For Racial Justice
Andrus Family Fund
National Center for Family Philanthropy
Social Movement Investing: A Guide to Capital Strategies for Community Power
Ariel Brooks, Libbie Cohn, Aaron Tanaka, et al.
Center for Economic Democracy
This Community Foundation Wants to Change the Face of Who Controls Wealth
Oscar Perry Abello
Next City
CHANGE Philanthropy
Addressing Racially Biased Financial Analysis
Nonprofit Finance Fund
Implicit Bias and Philanthropic Effectiveness
Jeanné Isler and john a. powell
Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society; National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP)
Operationalizing Equity: Putting the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Racial and Ethnic Equity and Inclusion Framework into Action
The Annie E. Casey Foundation
Operationalizing Racial Justice
Maggie Potapchuk
MP Associates
Philanthropy Self-Assessment For Working With Tribal Communities
Native Americans in Philanthropy
Power Moves: Your Essential Philanthropy Assessment Guide for Equity and Justice
National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP)
Racial Equity & Impact Investing
Mission Investors Exchange
The Exit Interview: Perceptions on Why Black Professionals Leave Grantmaking Institutions
LM Strategies; Association of Black Foundation Executives (ABFE)

“In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations.”

~ The Great Law of the Iroquois Confederacy


What Do Funders Need to Give Up to Achieve Racial Justice? - Common Future

Also in this section:
  • Addressing Hate and White Supremacy

  • Criminal Justice

  • Education

  • Food Justice

  • Immigration and Refugee Rights

  • Reparations

  • Voting Justice and Democracy Building

  • Children, Families, and Youth Development

  • Economic Development

  • Employment and Labor

  • Health and Healthcare

  • Language Justice

  • Reproductive Justice

  • Community Planning: Land and Transportation

  • Economic Security

  • Environmental Justice

  • Housing

  • Media and Technology

  • Trauma, Violence, and Healing



In the context of racial equity work, accountability refers to the ways in which individuals and communities hold themselves to their goals and actions, and acknowledge the values and groups to which they are responsible.

To be accountable, one must be visible, with a transparent agenda and process. Invisibility defies examination; it is, in fact, employed in order to avoid detection and examination. Accountability demands commitment. It might be defined as “what kicks in when convenience runs out.” Accountability requires some sense of urgency and becoming a true stakeholder in the outcome. Accountability can be externally imposed (legal or organizational requirements), or internally applied (moral, relational, faith-based, or recognized as some combination of the two) on a continuum from the institutional and organizational level to the individual level. From a relational point of view, accountability is not always doing it right. Sometimes it’s really about what happens after it’s done wrong.

SOURCE:  Accountability and White Anti-Racist Organizing: Stories from Our Work, Bonnie Berman Cushing with Lila Cabbil, Margery Freeman, Jeff Hitchcock, and Kimberly Richards (2010). 

Related Resources:  Accountability

Location: PLAN / Change Process

Black Lives Matter

A political movement to address systemic and state violence against African Americans. Per the Black Lives Matter organizers: “In 2013, three radical Black organizers—Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi—created a Black-centered political will and movement building project called #BlackLivesMatter. It was in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer, George Zimmerman. The project is now a member-led global network of more than 40 chapters. [Black Lives Matter] members organize and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes. Black Lives Matter is an ideological and political intervention in a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise. It is an affirmation of Black folks’ humanity, our contributions to this society, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression.” 

SOURCE:  Black Lives Matter, “Herstory” (accessed 7 October 2019).


When people act to perpetuate oppression or prevent others from working to eliminate oppression. 

Example: Able-bodied people who object to strategies for making buildings accessible because of the expense.

SOURCE:  Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice: A Sourcebook, edited by Maurianne Adams, Lee Anne Bell, and Pat Griffin (Routledge, 1997).

Institutional Racism

Institutional racism refers specifically to the ways in which institutional policies and practices create different outcomes for different racial groups. The institutional policies may never mention any racial group, but their effect is to create advantages for whites and oppression and disadvantage for people from groups classified as people of color.


  • Government policies that explicitly restricted the ability of people to get loans to buy or improve their homes in neighborhoods with high concentrations of African Americans (also known as “red-lining”).

  • City sanitation department policies that concentrate trash transfer stations and other environmental hazards disproportionately in communities of color.

SOURCE:  Flipping the Script: White Privilege and Community Building by Maggie Potapchuk, Sally Leiderman, Donna Bivens, and Barbara Major (2005).

Related Resources:  Racism (scroll down alphabetically to the box for “Institutional Racism”)

Location: FUNDAMENTALS / Core Concepts

Movement Building

Movement building is the effort of social change agents to engage power holders and the broader society in addressing a systemic problem or injustice while promoting an alternative vision or solution. Movement building requires a range of intersecting approaches through a set of distinct stages over a long-term period of time. Through movement building, organizers can:

  • Propose solutions to the root causes of social problems.

  • Enable people to exercise their collective power.

  • Humanize groups that have been denied basic human rights and improve conditions for the groups affected.

  • Create structural change by building something larger than a particular organization or campaign.

  • Promote visions and values for society based on fairness, justice, and democracy.

SOURCE:  Julie Quiroz-Martinez, From the Roots: Building the Power of Communities of Color to Challenge Structural Racism (Akonadi Foundation, 2010), citing the Movement Strategy Center, which offers these further definitions.

Related Resources:  Movement Building

Location: PLAN / Change Process


The systematic subjugation of one social group by a more powerful social group for the social, economic, and political benefit of the more powerful social group. Rita Hardiman and Bailey Jackson state that oppression exists when the following 4 conditions are found:

  • the oppressor group has the power to define reality for themselves and others,

  • the target groups take in and internalize the negative messages about them and end up cooperating with the oppressors (thinking and acting like them),

  • genocide, harassment, and discrimination are systematic and institutionalized, so that individuals are not necessary to keep it going, and

  • members of both the oppressor and target groups are socialized to play their roles as normal and correct.

Oppression = Power + Prejudice

SOURCE:  What Is Racism?” − Dismantling Racism Works (dRworks) web workbook.

Racial Inequity

Racial inequity is when two or more racial groups are not standing on approximately equal footing, such as the percentages of each ethnic group in terms of dropout rates, single family home ownership, access to healthcare, etc.

SOURCE:  Ibram X. Kendi, How To Be An Antiracist, Random House, 2019.

Racist Policies

A racist policy is any measure that produces or sustains racial inequity between or among racial groups. Policies are written and unwritten laws, rules, procedures, processes, regulations, and guidelines that govern people. There is no such thing as a nonracist or race-neutral policy. Every policy in every institution in every community in every nation is producing or sustaining either racial inequity or equity between racial groups. Racist policies are also expressed through other terms such as “structural racism” or “systemic racism”. Racism itself is institutional, structural, and systemic.

SOURCE:  Ibram X. Kendi, How To Be An Antiracist, Random House, 2019.

Related Resources:  Laws and Policies

Location: FUNDAMENTALS / History of Racism and Movements

For specific topics, also see PLAN / Issues


States have a legal duty to acknowledge and address widespread or systematic human rights violations, in cases where the state caused the violations or did not seriously try to prevent them. Reparations initiatives seek to address the harms caused by these violations. They can take the form of compensating for the losses suffered, which helps overcome some of the consequences of abuse. They can also be future oriented—providing rehabilitation and a better life to victims—and help to change the underlying causes of abuse. Reparations publicly affirm that victims are rights-holders entitled to redress.

SOURCE:  International Center for Transitional Justice.

Related Resources:  Reparations

Location: PLAN / Issues

Structural Racism

  1. The normalization and legitimization of an array of dynamics – historical, cultural, institutional, and interpersonal – that routinely advantage Whites while producing cumulative and chronic adverse outcomes for people of color. Structural racism encompasses the entire system of White domination, diffused and infused in all aspects of society including its history, culture, politics, economics, and entire social fabric. Structural racism is more difficult to locate in a particular institution because it involves the reinforcing effects of multiple institutions and cultural norms, past and present, continually reproducing old and producing new forms of racism. Structural racism is the most profound and pervasive form of racism – all other forms of racism emerge from structural racism.

  2. For example, we can see structural racism in the many institutional, cultural, and structural factors that contribute to lower life expectancy for African American and Native American men, compared to white men. These include higher exposure to environmental toxins, dangerous jobs and unhealthy housing stock, higher exposure to and more lethal consequences for reacting to violence, stress, and racism, lower rates of health care coverage, access, and quality of care, and systematic refusal by the nation to fix these things.


  1. Chronic Disparity: Strong and Pervasive Evidence of Racial Inequalities by Keith Lawrence, Aspen Institute on Community Change, and Terry Keleher, Applied Research Center, for the Race and Public Policy Conference (2004).

  2. Flipping the Script: White Privilege and Community Building by Maggie Potapchuk, Sally Leiderman, Donna Bivens, and Barbara Major (2005).

Related Resources:  Structural Racism

Location: FUNDAMENTALS / Core Concepts

White Supremacy

The idea (ideology) that white people and the ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and actions of white people are superior to People of Color and their ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and actions. While most people associate white supremacy with extremist groups like the Ku Klux Klan and the neo-Nazis, white supremacy is ever present in our institutional and cultural assumptions that assign value, morality, goodness, and humanity to the white group while casting people and communities of color as worthless (worth less), immoral, bad, and inhuman and “undeserving.” Drawing from critical race theory, the term “white supremacy” also refers to a political or socio-economic system where white people enjoy structural advantage and rights that other racial and ethnic groups do not, both at a collective and an individual level.

SOURCE: “What Is Racism?” − Dismantling Racism Works (dRworks) web workbook.

Related Resources:  System of White Supremacy and White Privilege and Addressing Hate and White Supremacy

Locations: FUNDAMENTALS / Core Concepts and PLAN / Issues