Learning Exchange and Discussions (in partnership with Race and Equity in Philanthropy Group)

A three-part intensive cohort exchange

Are you a leader in a foundation that has committed to equity work but is now struggling to navigate the tensions around introducing new equity-focused policies and practices in your foundation? Would you enjoy a peer learning network dedicated to helping you learn and lead in this work?

There has been some pressure for philanthropy to take more racially specific approaches to their giving in recent years. This pressure seems more justifiable than ever. The combined public health, economic, and racial violence crises are matters of racial equity and racial justice. Conversations about racial equity and racial justice in philanthropy have increased in recent years, and while this is encouraging, research also demonstrates that comparatively little philanthropic funding is given to organizations led by and serving communities of color. Increased funding to historically underserved communities is one clear way to demonstrate a commitment to change. However, in order for foundations to be better equipped to address these disparities in how they distribute resources, they have to look at themselves as institutions. This is more than a question of giving. It is also about who foundations are as organizations — the values to which they are committed and the populations they represent. It is hard to expect donors or philanthropic institutions to effectively advance racial equity externally without committing to advancing racial equity internally.

Formed in 2006, the Race and Equity in Philanthropy Group (REPG) provides a forum for learning exchange among a core group of member foundations on policies and practices related to racial equity and various aspects of diversity, equity, and inclusion. In 2020, Philanthropy New York and REPG are partnering to offer this unique learning exchange opportunity to a small group of PNY members who are already working on the implementation of equity work within their foundations.  

Learning exchanges are built on REPG’s longstanding model. These learning sessions are structured as a series of three discussions, and participants must commit to attending all three. Each learning exchange will be three-and-a-half hours in length. Prior to the first discussion, a survey will be shared with participants to identify the key issues that their foundations are grappling with. The survey will help to lay the groundwork for the first discussion, as well as inform the topic and thought questions for the subsequent two discussions. 

Intended Outcomes

By the end of the series of facilitated discussions, you will be able to:

  • Connect with a peer network of leaders who are manifesting a commitment to racial equity, diversity, and inclusion in policies, practices, systems, and operations
  • Identify practical ways to revise priorities, systems, and operations as it aligns with a commitment to racial equity, diversity, and inclusion
  • Leverage peer exchange to enable concrete and practical changes and improvements in your foundation
  • Champion racially equitable and inclusive policies and practices at your foundation

Learning Exchange Series Schedule

  • Tuesday, October 27, 2020 – 9:00 AM to 12:30 PM (including half-hour break)
  • Tuesday, January 26, 2021 – 9:00 AM to 12:30 PM (including half-hour break)
  • Tuesday, April 20, 2021 – 9:00 AM to 12:30 PM (including half-hour break)


Designed for

Funders who have a foundational level of knowledge about structural and institutional racism and who are committed to incorporating new policies and practices into their organizational work

Please note:

  • This is not a racial equity 101 training. All attendees must have prior racial equity training. All attendees must be working on implementing equity policies and practices in their foundations.
  • We will prioritize teams within the same organization.
  • The training is useful regardless of your role: program, operations, finance, HR, or communications. We will prioritize members who are in a position to influence their organization's practices - whether that is because they are at a managerial level or are participating in an organizational DEI process or team.
  • Although this is not a strictly people-of-color space, the cohort will consist of primarily people-of-color who are committed to the work within their organizations

Survey Form

**In order to inform the focus areas for the three discussions and the selection of cohort participants, the deadline for completed Survey Form is August 30, 2020. See attached file below. Select member representatives will be informed by mid-September 2020.**

If you have additional questions, please contact Kathryn O'Neal-Dunham, Chief Operating Officer.