From Words to Action: A Practical Philanthropic Guide to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

As communities worldwide are becoming more diverse, they are increasingly tackling the realities of systemic inequity. Philanthropy too must acknowledge its place in the context of transformative demographic changes. Addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) has been an ongoing challenge within philanthropy, and while there has been progress, it requires continual work. This GrantCraft leadership series paper by Barbara Chow dives into those challenges and opportunities to explore how DEI can become more integrated into grantmaking practices and broader foundation ethos.

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What's in the paper?

  • Why this Matters & Defining DEI. It is no secret that rapid demographic transformations are reshaping our society, our politics, and our culture —so where does philanthropy come into the picture? And diversity, equity, and inclusion are more than just buzzwords, so what do they really mean?
  • Where to Begin. While there is no single path to this work, nearly all those experienced with this topic suggest that there is a strong relationship between the internal work that foundations must embark on and their external grantmaking practices.
  • Bringing in Grantees. Whether it's existing grantees or new grantees, advancing DEI is likely to require opening doors to new strategies, conversations, and faces.
  • Measuring Progress. These are complex concepts to measure, so what must a foundation do to make sure it's achieving its mission? Explore how to gather demographic data and common questions asked.
  • Conclusion & Discussion Questions. Finally, we make the case for examining foundations with a DEI framework and offer discussion questions to help you begin to put these ideas into practice.

Through examples, peer insight, and discussion questions this resource provides practical guidance for funders looking to examine their organizational and funding practices to strategically incorporate a DEI framework. It is intended to inspire reflection, and conversation within your organization and among peers to move from buzzwordy theory to concrete action.