When we named racial equity as a priority in our strategic plan, we also named it a value to start our own internal learning journey as an organization and as individuals. Starting in 2019, each month, we feature a "What We're Reading" section in our Member News that highlights what people in the Funders Together network are reading to expand their understanding of racial equity. This page is an archive of past articles, blog posts, and books that were featured in past editions of the FTEH Member News. We hope this will spur inspiration for your personal or organizational racial equity work and that you'll learn alongside us.
Who's Reading It: Funders Together's Foundations for Racial Equity cohort
Native communities have been severely underfunded by both government and private philanthropy. In fact, just 0.1 percent of philanthropic giving in Colorado was awarded to Native American community organization. Recognizing this Funders Together member, The Colorado Health Foundation launched a new initiative to address this underinvestment by providing a $1.5 million grant to the First Nations Development Institute. This grant will support the creation of a Native American Fund for Health Equity to support Native America community-based organizations who are advancing health equity for Native Americans in Colorado. The initiative is an example of how philanthropy can shift its power to create pathways to advance justice and liberation.
Sean Dollard, Program Officer at the Colorado Health Foundation and a member of Foundation for Racial Equity (FRE) shared that he sees this initiative as a direct result "of being steeped in justice-centered work within Foundations for Racial Equity. This deferred-power pathway to advance Native sovereignty—though not specifically centered on housing—was only possible from internal learning and folks’ I’ve learned from within the FRE cohort."
What We're Reading: Sustaining Support for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders by Don Chen, President of Surdna Foundation
Who's Reading It: Stephanie Chan, Chief Strategy Officer at Funders Together
On the one year anniversary of the murders of eight people in Atlanta, six of whom were Asian, Don Chen, President of the Surdna Foundation, writes that one of his top priorities is to "promote multi-racial solidarity, as well as solidarity with trans people, individuals experiencing homelessness, immigrants and refugees, people with disabilities, and other members of our communities.
Like Don, I am also working to do my part to address the AAPI community's short term needs through co-chairing a local AAPI giving circle that has focused its grantmaking on anti-Asian racism and cross-racial solidarity, as well as tackling structural root causes of injustice through my work at Funders Together. It's been helpful to find ways to meet immediate needs while working on long-term structural change. If you are finding ways to do both, I'd love to hear about it.
Who's Reading It: Funders Together Staff
Our partners at True Colors United recently released their Racial Equity Toolkit. It was designed through the lens of youth homelessness but learnings in this toolkit can "apply to all individuals from all sectors, because no American system or institution is exempt from its history of racial inequity." The intersectional approach True Colors United takes in its work and within this guide is critical to understanding and reconciling how we move through and operate in systems that are designed to further oppress people and communities who have been historically marginalized. The toolkit guides us through the history of anti-Blackness in our housing and homelessness systems as well as its present day forms, and provides concrete actions our organizations and communities can take to dismantle white supremacy, including celebrating and supporting Black joy.
What We're Reading: The Lightmaker's Manifesto - How to Work for Change Without Losing Your Joy by Karen Walrond
Who's Reading It: Katie Mulcahy, The Owens Foundation
Being an advocate can bring us great joy, but it can also lead to emotional burn out. Over the holidays I read this book, which re-ignited my passion and optimism for advocacy and underscored the importance of self-care in this line of work. My personal favorite exercise was writing my very own “Spark” statement or personal mission statement, and in January I had an opportunity to lead this exercise with my peers in Foundations for Racial Equity.
“By unearthing our passions and gifts, we learn how to joyfully advocate for justice, peace, and liberation. We learn how to become makers of light.”- Karen Walrond
o. This is the only America some of us know."