Grantmaking with a racial equity lens

  • By Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, March 6, 2017

A racial equity lens focuses on how race and ethnicity impact experiences with access to opportunities, outcomes and power. It provides a mindset that grantmakers can use to eliminate inequities and close gaps. One of the biggest questions to applying a racial equity lens is how to get started. It begins with thinking about objectives and asking how racial disparities create barriers to goals. Focusing more on outcomes allows grantmakers to consider how to grapple with how benefits and burdens are distributed in society. These patterns then make it easier to focus on changing systems for greater impact. There are many strategies grantmakers can consider when implementing a racial equity lens into their work. Starting with a landscape scan within your own communities is also a good way to start the conversation. Be upfront about your efforts and actively seek out new leaders to include.

Adopting a racial equity lens also means committing to change internally by implementing policies in your own organization. Consider gathering data specific data about the racial composition of your grantees and your community. Some grantmakers have formed dedicated programs or positions to ensure commitment in all aspects of work. Beyond policies to create more equitable grantmaking practices, organizations should reflect on diversity within their own organization. Taking a hard look at vendors, boards and staff can help craft a culture that is not only welcoming, but one that values and embraces diversity and inclusion. Reinforce your commitment with constant communication internally and externally. These are just some of the practices in Grantcraft’s guide, “Grantmkaing with a Racial Equity Lens.” From this guide, grantmakers can further learn about how they can bring a racial equity lens to their own work and read about examples and strategies to put into practice.