Address Systemic Racism

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    Susan Lorenz

      Positioning Philanthropy to Address Systemic Racism
      For months, the pandemic has demanded our collective energy as we work together to keep our families safe and adjust to new ways of working and living. However, as the events of the past couple months have reminded us, COVID-19 is but one of the many challenges confronting our communities today.

      Respectfully, our individual and collective actions are needed to bend the arc. We know there is no easy fix to structural racism, but philanthropy is uniquely positioned to invest in long-term strategies that can build community strength and power.  We can create spaces where community voices are truly part of the decision-making process.  We can work together to promote changes to policies and practices that directly touch communities of color.  We can embrace authentic and intergenerational engagement in communities most impacted by racism. We can advocate for legislative change or reach out to educate elected officials and influence policy.

      Community Foundations can guide our nation toward an equitable response into recovery and help sow the seeds of long-term, transformative change.  When we begin imagining this vision, of a fair and just future in which equity is a reality, then returning to the way things were is not an option.  It’s a new day in a new time.

      Actionable steps your community foundation can take today:
      1) Listen to the People of Color (POC) in your community tell their stories and share those stories with your board, fundholders and donors.
      2) Have your staff and board of directors take an Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) training.
      3) Look at your board and committee make up. Who from your community is missing?  Who should you ask to be at the table?

      At CommunityGiving, we strive to demonstrate our values of respect, diversity, inclusion, honesty, integrity and safety in our everyday actions.  In that spirit, we all have a responsibility to speak out against racism and injustice when and where we see it.  But what’s more, we have a responsibility to more fully examine ourselves and to engage one another with greater compassion and deeper listening.

      As an organization, CommunityGiving’s values provide the foundation as we continue our work to build just, thriving communities in each of our regions.

      You can play a formative role by sharing your perspectives on topics.  We hope that by learning and sharing opportunities, all of us can be strengthened as a sector.

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