Continuing our series for Black History Month, we’re featuring content from A Philanthropic Covenant with Black America by Rodney Jackson. The following list highlights what foundations can do–right now–to lead much needed social change.
- Significantly expand the racialon the boards and recruit more people of color who have demonstrated a deep to and knowledge of historically excluded communities. Turning to search firms that developed the walkabouts and skills to reach deep into these networks will improve the chances of success.
- Usemaking—issue-based as well as core funding—to strengthen institutions that serve the interests of people of color and to support and groom leaders of color. These investments pay off in unanticipated ways. For example, PolicyLink (the organization I lead, which has a diverse staff and board and works on a variety of issues that advance equity for all low- communities and people of color, including African Americans), built a broad portfolio of policy expertise and a of policy experts with generous core support. PolicyLink was able to use these assets to make a valuable to the black community when Tavis Smiley invited the organization to coordinate the Covenant with Black America book.
- Use a variety of-building investments; provide grants that help organizations build their communications capacity; strengthen their fundraising skills; improve management performance; engage in broad coalitions; build partnerships with entities that bring different skills, such as research institutions; and enable organizations to quickly move to new opportunities by having some flexible resources.
- Demonstrateto inclusion from the start by assembling diverse advisors to develop funding strategies; hire consultants to do early assessments on the impacts of the issue area on different communities of color.
- Introduce organizations led by people of color to other funders; stay connected with these organizations and leaders by visiting their offices and developing supportive relationships; highlight these organizations in publications, on websites, and in presentations. These activities help build the leadership and visibility of groups that often work heroically but invisibly in their communities.
- Invest in a pipeline of experts of color inissue areas by funding appropriate professors and departments at historically black colleges and universities and by establishing fellowships that increase in academic institutions generally. Consider loan forgiveness programs, mentorships, and other activities that build a cadre of experts of color who can enter fields that lack , especially policy.
- Evaluateprogram officers based on criteria that reflect the ‘s desire to be more inclusive and build the capacity, visibility, and effectiveness of organizations that are accountable to communities of color and led by committed leaders of color.
- Although it’s important to focus on results, take time to broaden the universe of actors. Take risks.