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Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

We believe it is imperative that philanthropy understands, reflects, and responds to the growing diversity within our communities to deliver greater impact with our work. While diversity can be defined in many ways, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) focuses specifically on people who have been historically marginalized and systemically disadvantaged, including (but not limited to) individuals of different races, ethnicities, gender identities, sexual orientations, and abilities. Moreover, it is critical that we consider these identities beyond any siloes; we need to understand the ways in which these identities intersect and how that influences outcomes.

Through our DEI work, we promote philanthropy’s ability and commitment to including marginalized populations in decision-making processes, promoting fair and impartial practices, and endorsing the equitable distribution of resources. In 2013, we formed a task force to explore ways to increase awareness of and support for DEI issues in philanthropy. The resulting action plan and an implementation team guided our efforts in this area. In February 2016, Philanthropy Network's Board ultimately approved a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee as a standing committee of the Board.

Highlights of the Network's DEI Activity

Through education, Philanthropy Network encourages members to take voluntary action to promote DEI within their organizations and their work. Below are of some of our efforts.

Setting the Table Series

Inspired by a July 2020 conversation between Sidney Hargro and Marcus Walton on white supremacy, we partnered with Grantmakers for Effective Organizations on Setting the Table, a series of dialogues exploring the intersection of philanthropy, racial equity and social justice. Sessions to date include:

  • Reimagining Wealth & Capitalism with Rodney Foxworth, CEO, Common Future and Erika Seth Davies, Founder, Racial Equity Asset Lab (10.07.20)  View the recording
  • Setting the Table with Dana Kawaoka-Chen, Co-director of Justice Funders  & Erik Stegman, Executive Director of Native Americans in Philanthropy (05.19.21) View the recording
  • Setting the Table: Internal Equity Work with Jason Murray, President and Managing Partner, BIPOC Executive Search Inc. and TeQuion Brookins, Director of Operations, McGregor Fund (09.22.21) View the recording

Equity in Philanthropy Initiative

In 2019, the Network kicked off its Equity in Philanthropy Initiative, which included two key areas of work: (1) the Equity in Philanthropy Cohort which was a year-long deep-dive for CEO-trustee pairs from 12 grantmaking organizations within the region and (2) a Field Impact and Equity Scan to learn about the membership's state of philanthropic practices as they relate to equity.

Board/Trustee Peer Learning Circle

From 2015-2016, the Network hosted a members-only peer learning circle for board members and trustees to explore how foundations can progress diversity, equity, and inclusion in the philanthropic sector. This peer learning circle created a tip sheet for the field: How Board Members Can Advance Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Foundations (Philanthropy Network, 2016).

Continuing Education

Not only is equity an outcome, but it is also a process that requires long-term commitment and action as organizations as well as self-reflection as individuals.  We’ve offered a series of workshops and learning sessions, and will offer more opportunities for funders' ongoing education in the pursuit of equity. Recent sessions have included The Crisis of White Supremacy in America: What’s Philanthropy’s Role? and Community-led Philanthropy during Crisis: How Giving Circles of Color Can Inform Traditional Philanthropy.

For more, see a Timeline of Philanthropy Network’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Work (August 2013 - June 2020).

DEI Resources

Please visit Philanthropy Network's Knowledgebase for more curated resources.


Podcasts for Historical Context & Philanthropy's Continued Systemic Impact

Guides & Tools


Highlights from the Sector

Initiatives & Coalitions

Organizations with Dedicated Focus on Equity & Justice

Identity-based Affinity Groups