Philanthropy New York Speaks Out After the Supreme Court's Decision on Affirmative Action

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Philanthropy New York recognizes that the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on two significant cases challenging affirmative action in college admissions was part of a larger effort to diminish the movement toward diversity, equity, and inclusion; curtail the ability to fully embrace the histories and experiences of America; and to provoke further division along racial, ethnic, and class lines. With over $7 billion dollars in annual giving and considerable influence and visibility, the PNY community has the responsibility to help build power with the communities most impacted by systemic discrimination and inequality. It is in challenging times like these that our investments and advocacy are needed the most. The racialized wealth accumulation that serves as the foundation for our sector demands that philanthropy meet this moment by serving as both a bulwark for impacted communities and a stimulus for the change needed to combat the negative effects of this decision.

Opportunity in the United States is still too often connected to where one lives, one’s wealth, income, and most pronounced, one’s race and ethnicity. The research indicates that the Supreme Court decision may likely exacerbate these disparities. Philanthropic organizations play a critical role in promoting and sustaining pathways to opportunity. We are responsible for addressing systemic barriers and promoting equitable opportunities for all. This means the Philanthropy New York community must not only remain steadfast in our commitments to racial equity, but we must be bold and courageous in taking the actions that the privilege of philanthropy allow us to take. 

We urge members of the Philanthropy New York community to continue to hold a commitment to advancing the racial equity work that is critical to dismantling inequitable systems and fostering a more inclusive philanthropic landscape. Despite the inevitable setbacks posed by the Supreme Court decisions, the sector writ large has the opportunity to double down in support for initiatives that build power to advance racial equity, as this is the only way for our sector to address systemic barriers to a just society. We must ensure that our work actively supports and enables individuals from marginalized communities to access educational, economic, and social opportunities. 

Our colleagues at ABFEAsian Americans/Pacific Islanders in PhilanthropyHispanics in PhilanthropyNative Americans in Philanthropy, and others are developing strategic priorities for philanthropy to address both the implications of these rulings and the larger backlash against racial justice work. Below we've shared resources and analysis from across the sector designed to help our members understand the issues and take action: 

Resource Bank for Funders:











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