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Philanthropic toolkit released

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By Ret Boney

Three new tools now are available that aim to help nonprofits and foundations foster greater racial equity and social justice.

Developed with a grant from the Ford Foundation, the tools are designed to lead groups and individuals through processes that can lead to better communication and greater understanding about issues of race and equity.

“The field of philanthropy has been growing for decades,” says Steven Mayer, director of Effective Communities, the consultancy that developed the tools. “On the other hand there is increasing recognition of the gaps in performance of our society’s systems in terms of education, health, wealth and the quality of their performance.”

Those systems seem to do a better job for white people than for people of color, he says.

Conversations about such difficult issues are often acrimonious and heated, says Mayer, and the three tools are meant to make it easier for foundations and nonprofits to engage in constructive conversations.

The first tool, “Moving Beyond Silence,” is a guide for fostering positive discussions.

“Becoming a Catalyst for Social Justice” is designed to help groups incorporate the values of equity and justice into their plans and work.

And “Choosing Promising Ideas and Proposals” is designed to help funders evaluate requests for funding based on a project’s likelihood to narrow gaps or change trend lines.

“There is an opportunity to rise above the limitations of private motivations and government motivations to address the harder questions of what it means for diverse people to live together and share the wealth, power and bounty of what this country offers,” says Mayer.

The tools are available on the Effective Communities website.

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