Members discuss smarter grantmaking practices.

What We Care About


No matter the outcome we are working toward, our institutions and systems were built to advantage some but not all — and data shows that inequities persist to this day. These inequities become more apparent when we take race into account.

GEO has made a commitment to focus on racial equity in grantmaking with the intention of including other dimensions, such as ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation and disabilities as we move further along in this work.

The ultimate goal of grantmaking is to help nonprofits grow stronger to make faster progress on complex issues within our communities. To achieve our vision for individuals and communities, grantmakers must work to address the historic, emerging, dynamic and collective forces at work to suppress racial justice. We as grantmakers inherently do our work from a position of privilege. Actively working to responsibly use our position of privilege to address inequity is the bedrock of effective grantmaking.

We can all find more ways to close the gap between our aspirations and our daily actions. To that end, GEO is creating spaces for these conversations, highlighting resources and stories from those who are already making great strides, and incorporating diversity, equity and inclusion into all aspects of our work.

As a predominantly white organization working in a predominantly white field, GEO has made a commitment to learning and improving internally to better support our members and the field. Steps taken so far include all-staff participation in ABFE’s Responsive Philanthropy in Black Communities training, establishing an internal vision and goals for our organization, the formation of an internal working group to guide and support our work, hiring a senior advisor on racial equity to bring additional capacity and expertise, and prioritizing relationship building with colleague organizations who have long been providing leadership on racial equity for the field of philanthropy.

You don’t do equity, you be equity, and at every moment you have an opportunity to choose equity.

Raquel Gutierrez, director, strategic learning and practice, Vitalyst Health Foundation

Helpful Tools and Resources

Stay informed of the emerging trends and promising practices from the field of philanthropy through GEO’s publications and research.

  • Perspective

    Lessons Learned from a Multilevel Capacity-Building Approach to Center Race in Health Equity Advocacy in Colorado

    The Colorado Trust recently released a learning paper on their cohort model approach to advancing health equity. This blog post describes a multilevel framework developed by the Cohort’s Racial Equity Team (“the Team”) to build the field’s capacity to understand and advance racial equity. We briefly describe these capacity-building efforts and highlight lessons learned through their implementation. We encourage readers to consult a recently released learning paper for more information or join GEO for a webinar on August 29, 2019.

    • Grantmakers for Effective Organizations
    • August 2019
  • GEOList Members Only

    GEOList Summary: Consultants for racial equity in investments

    Have you worked with and/or know of sector consultants that advise on racial equity in investment policies? I’m looking to learn about those with experience advising and facilitating discussion for funders, who have knowledge of the landscape of investment management firms.

    • Grantmakers for Effective Organizations
    • August 2019
  • GEOList Members Only

    GEOList Summary: Opening up Conference RFP List

    I have a question for you regarding closed RFP processes and how to make them more DEI-aligned. For GEO conferences, we create an RFP and ask for proposal submissions from our members, nonmembers and others. Our process has been to create a curated list of contacts that are notified when the RFP opens. We want to expand our list and are also considering what it would be like to move away from a closed, curated RFP notification list in order to get a broader range of applicants submitting proposals. My questions for you are: • One idea we are considering is posting the RFP link more publicly on our website, in our newsletters, etc. But, what else could we be doing to ensure that our RFP goes to more than our usual suspects? I was thinking of reaching out to nonprofit associations, asking our partners to promote, etc. • How have you been considering what it means to have a closed/ invite-only RFP alongside values of diversity, inclusion and equity?

    • Grantmakers for Effective Organizations
    • March 2019
  • GEOList Members Only

    GEOList Summary: Artistic Vitality Language & DEI

    I’m interested in what language others have used that we might consider and thoughts on a more inclusive definition of artistic vitality without changing our strategy. Has anyone been engaging in this conversation or exploration?

    • Grantmakers for Effective Organizations
    • March 2019
  • GEOList Members Only

    GEOList Summary: Anonymous Review Application Process

    Our question is do other Foundations who have similar fellowship programs have an anonymous review process whereby certain personal/professional information regarding the applicant is unknown to the reviewer? If so, has it made a difference in increasing the diversity (e.g. race/ethnicity, gender, academic discipline, institutional affiliation) of the awardees?

    • Grantmakers for Effective Organizations
    • February 2019

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No organization has the resources to address the complex issues facing our communities. Working together gives us an opportunity to create real change.

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