Member Call: Grassroots Engagement: Assessing Our Role as a Funder and Ally
Join GEO members for a dialogue on how to re-imagine our role in grantmaking as an ally to historically marginalized communities and, if this is the direction we should head, how do we know if we are doing it or not.
As the field of philanthropy continues to deepen its understanding of upstream systems- and policy change, there is a need to think outside of the box about the “how” and “who” of grantmaking. This has become even more true as racial injustice is being brought to the forefront of philanthropy’s attention. In 2015, CareQuest Institute for Oral Health (formerly the DentaQuest Partnership for Oral Health Advancement) embarked on a five-year grantmaking strategy called the “Grassroots Engagement Initiative”.
From this initiative, the impact in the communities and organizations that were engaged was as transformative as the impact on our organization, which we had the opportunity to share in a January 2021 webinar in partnership with these communities and community leaders, the work exposed unaddressed gaps in our grantmaking strategy and presented us with opportunities for deepening relationships. It helped us to better define equity as not just a destination, but a process that occurs over time, as power shifts. We realized no single grant initiative, budget line, or program would result in the type of change we want to see. It is the collective grantmaking strategy, with an openness for shifting traditional power structures and fostering transparency with partners, that has led this work forward and there still is much progress to be made.
With this in mind, we hope to create a space within the GEO community to have an open discussion about philanthropy’s opportunity and challenge to support community-driven efforts to build power and support systems-change strategies.
We’d like to invite GEO members to a dialogue on how to re-imagine our role in grantmaking as an ally to historically marginalized communities and if this is the direction we should head, how do we know if we are doing it or not.
Start: Wednesday, May 5, 3:00 PM Eastern
End: Wednesday, May 5, 4:15 PM Eastern
Questions to be Explored in this Member Call:
Relative to how you are defining your “community”, what are your interests in considering deeper community engagement through grantmaking and/or what are you hoping will happen as a result?
What circumstances, technical or otherwise, make working in partnership with community challenging? This could be relative to your organization or even with the broader field of philanthropy (i.e. not enough resources)?
What opportunities are there for self-assessment along the way to ensure fidelity to this strategy?
Please note: this call is only open to GEO members
Grants and Special Projects Manager, Native American Connections
Grants and Programs Associate, CareQuest Institute for Oral Health
Trenae Simpson, MBA
Director of Grants and Programs, CareQuest Institute for Oral Health
Director of Programs, GEO
Contact Margie Obeng