Racial Justice Grantmaking: Recommendations and Resources

Racial Justice Grantmaking: Recommendations and Resources

Recently, we shared a letter from our CEO affirming our support for racial justice, and promising to continue the conversation as we work, as individuals and organizationally, to be better. With that in mind, we asked our team to share recommendations on how donors can incorporate racial justice and equity into their grantmaking.

Our team has put together a shortlist of some national and local organizations to give to, along with recommendations on how to incorporate racial justice into a grantmaking philosophy, and a reading list of books and resources to dig deeper into the topic of racial justice and inequity.

Organizations Based in Sonoma County:

  • North Bay Organizing Project (NBOP) is a grassroots, multi-racial, and multi-issue organization based in Sonoma County. NBOP seeks to build a regional power organization rooted in working-class and minority communities in the North Bay centered around one purpose: Uniting people to build leadership and grassroots power for social, economic, racial, and environmental justice.
  • North Bay Jobs with Justice believes that all workers should have collective bargaining rights, employment and housing security, and a decent standard of living that provides equitable access to education, living wages, healthcare, retirement, and safe neighborhoods. They are a grassroots coalition of labor, community, and student voices at the national and local level and believe that communities of color, low-income workers, immigrant families, LGBTQ and youth should be centered in leading efforts to build movements for social, political and economic change.
  • Centro Laboral de Graton (Graton Day Labor Center) is a worker-led day labor center that organizes with domestic workers and day laborers in the west county for the advancement of their rights and dignity as workers, as immigrants, and as members of the broader community. CLG offers a hiring process for employers working with day laborers that is democratic, fair, and transparent.
  • Sonoma County Black Forum helps shape intellectual discourse and dialogue to consider the Black experience. Their goal is to support area youth and the community by creating opportunities for to train, learn, develop twenty-first century skills, and foster agency within Sonoma County and the surrounding Bay Area. Their monthly meetings are opportunities to network, exchange ideas, problem solve, and to be a member of an engaging, inclusive, and informed community.
  • Los Cien advances belonging, trust and equity by engaging with the community, facilitating honest dialogue, and elevating Latinx pride and power in Sonoma County. They host monthly luncheons to learn about and discuss issues impacting the Latinx community.
  • La Luz serves the Latinx community in Sonoma Valley through a wide variety of programs focused on family services, economic advancement, and community engagement. Current initiatives include bilingual outreach and information sharing about COVID; increasing participation in the census; and a microloan program to support entrepreneurs in growing their businesses.
  • Corazón Healdsburg bridges the racial and economic divide in Northern Sonoma County. Corazón offers programs to improve health and wellbeing for all who live and work in our area through innovative partnerships and community driven programming. Working with youth and their families, Corazón aims to break cycles of poverty and improve quality of life for those they serve.

National Organizations Addressing Racial Justice Through Policy & Advocacy:

  • Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation was founded in 2013 in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer. The Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation is a global organization whose mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in ending violence inflicted on Black communities. Note: BLM is fiscally sponsored by Thousand Currents.
  • Color of Change is the nation’s largest online racial justice organization. As a national online force driven by 1.7 million members, they move decision-makers in corporations and government to create a more human and less hostile world for Black people in America.
  • Equal Justice Initiative  provides legal representation to people who have been illegally convicted, unfairly sentenced, or abused in state jails and prisons. They challenge the death penalty and excessive punishment and we provide re-entry assistance to formerly incarcerated people.
  • Campaign Zero created the #8CANTWAIT campaign to reform policing practices. They research and identify effective solutions to end police violence, provide technical assistance to organizers leading police accountability campaigns, and develop model legislation and advocacy to end police violence nationwide. Note: Campaign Zero is fiscally sponsored by We The Protesters, Inc.
  • Brennan Center for Justice is an independent, nonpartisan law and policy organization that works to reform, revitalize, and defend our country’s systems of democracy and justice, including issues of voter suppression and mass incarceration. The Brennan Center advances legal and policy change by conducting rigorous research to identify problems and craft transformative solutions, fighting in court, and working with elected officials to advance legislation.

Becoming a Better Grantmaker: advice for donors and foundations:

Fund Black- and brown-led organizations. Organizations led by people of color receive significantly less financial support, and they are often the organizations who know their communities the best. For example, the unrestricted net assets of Black-led organizations are on average 76% smaller than their white-led counterparts.

Listen. To better understand how to eliminate racism and create greater equity in our community, seek proximity to the issue and listen to communities about what they want and how they need to be served. Listen to staff who are from those communities.

Fund Systems Change. What we are seeing in this moment in time is a deep pain caused by long-lasting and systemic inequalities in our country. We know that there need to be changes in laws and policies to create greater equality and opportunity for all Americans, and not just those with privilege. Supporting policy and advocacy efforts can make a significant difference in turning short-term protests into long-term change.

Advocate for Mental Health Interventions: Some research shoes that at least half of all police shooting victims struggled with some form of serious mental health issue. An important part of saving lives is creating more resources to treat these conditions, especially in poor neighborhoods and Black and brown communities.

Become a Better Anti-Racist: what you can do

(adapted from Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy)

  • Become More Educated. If issues of racial justice are new to you, the best way to begin to learn is to listen, read and watch without asking the people suffering most to do the emotional labor of explaining their own personal experiences of racism. Some recommended reading and watching:
  • Take action. There are many ways to take action right now to support racial justice—from protesting, to signing petitions, to calling and writing government officials to express support for protestors, and support for fundamental change. Here are 26 other ways to be a part of the struggle and 11 things you can do to support Black Lives Matter.
  • Speak out in the places where your voice is heard. Do you have friends, relatives, or colleagues who are in positions of leadership? Leveraging your influence is a powerful way to be an ally.
  • Practice anti-racism. When you hear or see people you know (or don’t know) use words or deeds that advance racism, speak up and challenge their language and their assumptions, even if it makes you uncomfortable. Even if you never change a single mind, you are putting your antiracism into practice.
  • Keep going when this moment is over. The fight against police brutality and racism and for social justice and equity is one that stretches long beyond any of our lifetimes, and is one that many of us, because of the color of our skin, cannot ignore or move past when the current battle is over. Commit to being an ally for the long-term.


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