“Demonstrated increases in grantmaking for Black communities by foundations are still not enough in the eyes of some perennial philanthropic critics.”
Have any lives been improved other than the leaders of Black Lives Matter? The amounts involved are insane.
From the Philanthropy Roundtable:
What of the $17 Billion Racial Reckoning in Philanthropy?
As we consider issues shaping philanthropy in 2024, race relations will undoubtedly be a part of the conversation. Given that the Israel-Hamas conflict has exposed antisemitism in the current social justice movement in America, questions remain about whether racial harmony and equal treatment of all people is truly the goal of these groups.
Three and a half years since the murder of George Floyd and the ensuing racial “reckoning” across America, nearly $17 billion earmarked for racial equality has been granted by foundations since 2020. But do dollars equal impact?
Some 78,133 grants valued at $16.8 billion were pledged for racial equity from 2020 to October 2023, according to data collected by Candid. This includes cash grants, employee matching gifts, employee volunteer services, in-kind gifts, matching grants and officers and trustees discretionary grants.
In addition, there have been 206 pledges valued at $11.8 billion. If those pledges are met a total of $28 billion will have been given.
To put these numbers in context, Americans gave a total of $499 billion to charity in 2022 of which $105 billion came from foundations. In 2021, Americans gave $485 billion of which foundations gave $91 billion. Finally, charitable giving totaled $471 billion in 2020 of which foundations gave $89 billion…
Donors have good reasons to oppose diversity data collection, as my colleague Joanne Florino flagged and I wrote about in 2023. Methodology aside, even if just $17 billion was dedicated to racial equity, the question is whether this grantmaking has achieved the intended outcomes.
Assessments of racial justice philanthropy measure dollars granted rather than impact achieved, such as improved educational outcomes for minority children and greater opportunities and economic independence among minority groups.
Demonstrated increases in grantmaking for Black communities by foundations are still not enough in the eyes of some perennial philanthropic critics. They are preoccupied with pushing back against unrestricted grants and grantmaking metrics while pushing for grantmaking only to organizations led by individuals from minority or marginalized communities. Missing are assessments of whether those philanthropic dollars have improved lives for communities and the grant recipients themselves.
In other words, too often this is about checking a box and not cultivating empowerment.
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