Less Talking, More Doing: Operationalizing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Philanthropy

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Less Talking, More Doing: Operationalizing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Philanthropy
Susan Olivo, Executive Director, Reader’s Digest Partners for Sight Foundation
Cynthia Rivera Weissblum, President and CEO, Edwin Gould Foundation
Co-Chairs, Committee for Equitable and Inclusive Philanthropy, Philanthropy New York

Questions of equity, inclusion and access dominate current political and civil discourse, and the philanthropic field is no stranger to these issues.  Many conversations regarding implicit bias and other issues hindering diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in philanthropy only skim the surface— often they focus on identifying the problems, but don’t outline specifically how best to move forward.  

Recently D5, a national network of philanthropic, community and thought leaders charged with broadening the number, range, and types of foundations taking action to advance DEI, issued their final State of the Work report. While past reports had highlighted tools and strategies, the final report takes a different tactic by highlighting real-world examples – snapshots of successes and challenges – to demonstrate how far we as a community have come, and how far we still have to go.   

In order to build on this work, PNY’s Committee for Equitable and Inclusive Philanthropy is partnering with a number of philanthropic support organizations to develop and offer programming on operationalizing diversity, equity and inclusion.  To that end, we invite you to join us in attending the following programs featured in our Series on Equitable and Inclusive Philanthropy:

June 21, 9:00-11:00 am: Diverse Boards: Moving Beyond Rhetoric
in collaboration with the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York
This program will share practical strategies for recruiting and engaging new leaders to your board as well as stories from peers who have invested the time, money, patience, and humility required to succeed.  Come prepared for some group work and to share practices and experiences.

July 13, 2:30-5:00 pm: Tools for Tackling Implicit Bias and Advancing Racial Equity in Grantmaking
in collaboration with the Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity and the Perception Institute
During this session, we will explore how our implicit biases impact our decision-making, what steps can be taken to counter these biases individually and institutionally as an important aspect of grantmaking with a racial equity lens, and how to communicate effectively on issues of race without triggering racial anxieties.

September 14, 3:00-5:00 pm: Advancing Racial Equity: the Opportunity for Philanthropy
in collaboration with Government Alliance on Race and Equity
In this workshop, we will focus on the opportunities for philanthropy to proactively advance racial equity – normalizing conversations about race, operationalizing new practices and policies, and organizing to build skills, capacity and partnerships. 

The D5 reports have improved the sector’s understanding of where we are and what challenges remain as we work toward advancing more equitable and impactful philanthropy – both in our grantmaking as well as in our own institutional practices and organizational structures.

But much remains to be done.  We should ask, “How can we do better?” 

With the completion of the D5 five-year initiative, what are the next steps for all of us as we strive to “ensure relevance, impact, and sustainability in an increasingly diverse and complex context”?  As the D5 report states, “We know that building the capacity to effectively and authentically engage DEI can no longer be considered ancillary or optional. It is an essential competency for any effort engaging the diverse complexity that is our world.”

PNY’s Committee for Equitable and Inclusive Philanthropy serves as a resource for member organizations looking to advance DEI in the sector.  The workshops listed above are designed to assist foundations in establishing guiding principles and implementing tactical strategies within our organizations, and in our wider spheres of influence. 

Please join us for these discussions.