Racial Equity Working Group

Racial Equity Working Group

The Racial Equity Working Group, a facilitated peer group, will bring together philanthropic professionals who are building practices, shifting power, and changing systems to advance racial equity within their organizations. By bringing together a cohort, we build support for individuals and organizations as they do the difficult work of changing entrenched behaviors and practices in our sector. 

The goals of the Racial Equity Working Group are to: 

  • Build members’ capacity to identify, name, negotiate and affect changes in professional practice in service to more equitable outcomes;
  • Share tools, case studies, and other materials that support members who are advancing equity within their organizations;
  • Cultivate a supportive community that creates space for engagement and reflection that centers equity practice and its implementation; and 
  • Co-create original programming for the funding community that centers equity and inclusion practices.
Who Should Apply to the Racial Equity Working Group?

The group is open to Philanthropy New York members who have committed to and are enacting equity practice, including actions and policies, within their organizations. More specifically, PNY seeks to engage members who are already examining grantmaking, communications, internal operations, and/or other practice shifts in service to equity. 

It is critical that all members have a basic understanding of equity vs. equality, racial equity, and the dimensions of racism before joining the group. 

It is also important that members of the group are authorized and ready to advance action on racial equity efforts within their organizations.  

What is the Expected Commitment?

With a commitment to at least one full year of participation in the group, members who are interested should be prepared to:

  • Meet 4-6 times a year; 
  • Participate in critical areas of discussion, reflection, and action; 
  • Engage in peer-to-peer learning, unlearning, and practice to advance impactful and tangible changes within their roles and organizations; and
  • Collaborate on projects including sharing tools, guides, Insights pieces, programming, and the continuation or evolution of the Food for Thought series. 
What is the Application and Selection Process? 

We are building a cohort of 20 – 25 members that is racially diverse and committed to creating a community that enhances and supports each other and the greater goal of equity in the sector. We will build the cohort with intention around collective knowledge capacity to advance racial equity work both internally and externally.

PNY invites members to apply here. Once your application is submitted, we will be in touch with the next steps. 

Key Dates (These dates are approximate; the schedule may shift as the process proceeds.) 

  • December 1, 2021: Applications Open 
  • January 28, 2021: Deadline for submission of applications 
  • February 28 – March 11, 2022: Conversations with applicants and selection of cohort
  • March 30, 2022: First Racial Equity Working Group meeting 

The Racial Equity Working Group will be led and facilitated by PNY staff: Ariane Cruz, Donita Volkwijn, and Marlon Williams. Should you have any questions, feel free to contact Ariane Cruz.


Background and History 

In 1995, the Philanthropy New York Board created the Increasing Diversity in Philanthropy Committee. In 2015, this Committee changed its name to the Committee for Equitable and Inclusive Philanthropy and mission to reflect the need to revisit PNY’s role as a change agent in the sector. The new mission read: Philanthropy New York’s Committee for Equitable and Inclusive Philanthropy (CEIP) works to inspire and support greater diversity and inclusiveness in all aspects of philanthropy by advocating for equity and equal opportunity. We promote a broad definition of inclusion that respects and actively seeks diversity of perspective and thought on our boards and staffs, and in the communities we serve. As an effort to put the new mission into action, in 2017, CEIP launched its first successful Food For Thought session, a new format designed to invite any member of PNY into the conversation around racial equity, regardless of the member’s professional connection to the work. This format serves as an important opportunity for members to build a critical analysis around equity.

Given the Committee’s continued commitment to ensuring that a structure exists to curate resources and support equity work within philanthropy, Philanthropy New York transitioned CEIP to a working group structure to align with the ongoing and evolving work required to advance racial equity within organizations and the sector, more broadly.