Sunsetting the Racial Equity in Philanthropy Fund at Borealis Philanthropy

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Sunsetting the Racial Equity in Philanthropy Fund at Borealis Philanthropy 

Borealis Philanthropy will sunset our Racial Equity in Philanthropy (REP) Fund in 2025, awarding all twenty-five REP grantees an unrestricted sunset grant with the closing of the fund.

As a social justice intermediary committed to resourcing grassroots movements through values-aligned donor collaboratives, we have arrived at this decision by way of grappling with three tough questions: 

  • What value-add do we bring to our REP grantee partners? 
  • What role do philanthropic intermediaries have in sharing and distributing power? 
  • Does REP’s continued existence provide our partners with unique and necessary resources and/or opportunities needed to meet and grow through the current moment?

Founded by The Ford and W. K. Kellogg Foundations in 2017, the REP Fund has provided capacity-building opportunities and granted over $28 million of dollars to resource philanthropy-serving organizations (PSOs) working toward informing, educating, and equipping funders to integrate racial equity policies and practices into their grantmaking and programs. In 2022 alone, the REP Fund provided $2.16 million in grants to 25 grantee partners at the forefront of advancing racial equity in the philanthropic sector, pursuing cutting-edge approaches, innovative collaborations, and transformative change.

Struggle and Critique

It has always been Borealis’ intention that the REP Fund’s offerings serve as necessary additional resources and relational opportunities allowing our grantee partners to deepen and amplify the impact of their work. And, we’ve come to recognize that—for some of our grantees—our intention has not always matched our impact. 

We recognize that the existence of the REP Fund created new and necessary opportunities for many of our grantee partners, and we understand that the PSOs we serve are not a monolith. 

Borealis Philanthropy believes the shared experience of the few is enough to rethink the experience, participation, and long-term impact of the whole.

While the pursuit of racial equity in philanthropy still has far to go, 2023 is not 2017. Racial equity in philanthropy is no longer an unfamiliar concept or phrase when it comes to developing funder portfolios. But it is still too unfamiliar a practice. Given the level of political retrenchment since the global uprisings of 2020, the volatility of today’s sociopolitical landscape, and the impact of both on philanthropic giving, REP Fund grantee partners no longer need–nor can they afford–for Borealis Philanthropy to stand in, or unintentionally widen, the gap...

Find More By

News type 
Funding Area 
Related Organizations