Diversity, Inclusion, and Racial Equity Matter
Who We Are
The Philanthropy Connection is committed to action that includes addressing systemic racism and identifying improvements to become more equitable and inclusive. This work is particularly important because of the position of power and privilege that TPC holds as a funder in the nonprofit space.
TPC members* have formed a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee with the mission to:
Support TPC in bringing a DEI lens to shape every aspect of our work and live our belief statements.
From member learning events to the Grant Making process, DEI Committee members are involved in TPC’s programming and are working with TPC as a whole to address the systems, structures, and behaviors that contribute to inequity.
For more on TPC’s commitment to eliminating structural inequalities, see our Statement of Solidarity and Action from Summer 2020 and past events, which have included topics such as “How Does Environmental Justice Fit with Racial and Social Justice?” and “Power Dynamics that Lead to Oppression.”
*TPC members include all women who identify as cisgender, transgender, agender, gender queer, and femme. TPC welcomes everyone for whom “woman” is a meaningful identifier or experience.
How We Grow
In order to live up to TPC’s Belief Statements, members must understand more than simply the language of social justice work. It’s important to put those words into a larger historical, socio-political, and economic context.
Members are encouraged to take action to further their own education by engaging with and reflecting on resources such as TPC’s 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge, which offers participants a self-guided journey to examine the history and impacts of racism and other structural inequities. This challenge is offered regularly throughout the year; if you’re interested in joining keep checking the events page for when the next cohort will start!
Other resources include:
- Waking Up White, and Finding Myself in the Story of Race by Debby Irving
- Learning To Be White: Money, Race, and God in America by Thandeka
- Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson
How to Get Started
There is no guidebook for DEI work; creating a more inclusive and equitable organization is an ongoing process. It is something TPC will strive for, but not something that TPC will ever perfectly attain. We are all learners, always evolving to better understand the humanity of all.
However, TPC does believe that we can start from a common foundation. The following is a list of terms that TPC believes are important for members to understand when it comes to this journey. This list is not exhaustive, but aims to provide context to the TPC-specific work at hand.
- Anti-Oppression work seeks to recognize the oppression in our society and tries to mitigate its effects and equalize the power imbalance in our communities. (Modified from Simmons College)
- White Supremacy Culture refers to the dominant, unquestioned standards of behavior and ways of functioning embodied by the vast majority of the world. These standards may be seen as mainstream, dominant cultural practices; they have evolved from a history of a euro-centric worldview. Because it is so normalized it can be hard to see, which only adds to its powerful hold. (Modified from Racial Equity Tools)
- Institutional and Structural Racism: Institutional racism occurs in an organization. These are discriminatory treatments, unfair policies, or biased practices based on race that result in inequitable outcomes for whites over people of color and extend considerably beyond prejudice. These institutional policies often never mention any racial group, but the intent is to create advantages for one group at the expense of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.
Structural racism is the overarching system of racial bias across institutions and society. These systems give privileges to white people resulting in disadvantages to people of color. (Definition from the Ontario Anti-Racism Secretariat, graphic from the National Equity Project)
- Anti-Black Racism is prejudice, attitudes, beliefs, stereotyping, or discrimination that is directed at people of African descent and is rooted in their unique history and experience of enslavement and colonization. (Definition from Centennial College)
- Social Justice includes a vision of a society in which the distribution of resources is equitable and all members are physically and psychologically safe and secure. Social justice means everyone uses their agency and social responsibility to benefit others and society as a whole. (Modified from the National Education Association)
- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Diversity is the representation of various identities and differences. Equity focuses on fair treatment, equal opportunity and equal access to resources. Inclusion is the active engagement of the contributions and participation of all people. (Definition from Diverse City Labs)
What We Can Do
TPC encourages members to go one step further; take the knowledge gained, and put it to use – test it, talk about it, refine it, reflect on it, and grow it. Understanding the language and context of TPC’s DEI work is not enough for TPC to effectively grow into an inclusive and equitable organization; it’s likely not enough for members either. Action is imperative.
- Keep an eye on the DEI Spotlight. This section is part of TPC’s monthly newsletter and offers updates on TPC’s own DEI progress and additional resources for continued member education.
- Attend and engage with TPC at events. Check the TPC Event Calendar and bring your DEI lens to all TPC events and ask the questions that inspire conversation and reflection so we can all learn from each other and move forward individually and as an organization.
- Join a TPC Grant Team, another place for your DEI lens. Think critically about what equitable grant making means and bring those questions to the table. Or if you can’t join a team, when it comes to voting, carefully read the DEI section of every grantee on the ballot, ask questions, and vote accordingly.
- Donate or volunteer. TPC Grantees are doing important and often groundbreaking work when it comes to racial and social justice right here in the Greater Boston Community. Other organizations that aren’t grantees but are doing critical work include: Boston Ujima, YW Boston, and Boston University’s Center for Antiracist Research. Or check out this list of action items that includes, for example, supporting Black bookstores.
Talk with Us
If you’d like to further engage in conversations about, or take action with us toward addressing, racial equity, white supremacy, police brutality, or our personal and philanthropic roles in committing to anti-racism, please contact us directly at: Diversity@thephilanthropyconnection.org.