Silicon Valley funders pledge to re-center their local focus on communities of color

At this moment in history, when our communities are being hit by a global pandemic and the continuous effects of systemic racism, the following pledge has been developed and adopted by Silicon Valley Community Foundation and several of our colleague organizations, in partnership with the American Leadership Forum of Silicon Valley.

A pledge from Silicon Valley philanthropic organizations:

We cannot continue to act as we did before. One more Black life is unjustly taken. A global pandemic is further exposing communities of color. Race matters. Therefore, as a funding community, we will respond differently.

We know:

  • That where we live matters not only for safety and health outcomes but also for having access to tools that help weather storms, including COVID-19.
  • That our communities of color, because of the cumulative impact of centuries of institutional racism and economic and educational inequities that have resulted in residential housing segregation, are more likely to live in densely populated areas. It is harder to socially distance when there is no space in which to do it.
  • That residential housing segregation also limits access to health services, healthy foods, protective supplies/resources, and information – all of which are critical to thriving and, during this pandemic, surviving.
  • That undocumented immigrants do not have access to the economic relief provided to most Americans through public funding.
  • That our African American, Latinx, Pacific Islander, Vietnamese, Indigenous communities and undocumented neighbors disproportionally work in jobs that provide no job security, paid sick leave, or health care benefits. Instead, they disproportionately work in jobs such as health care, grocery stores, and caregiving that have been deemed “essential” during this pandemic – which means that these neighbors cannot work from the safety of their homes, but must be on the front lines, increasing their risk of infection.

We’ve known this. COVID-19 and the recent killings of Black people at the hands of police further expose the inequities that our communities of color and our undocumented neighbors already face and the structures and systems that maintain the inequity. Now we must act.

We pledge:

  • Our funding will place affected communities at the center of our focus. This means we will dedicate significant funding for local communities. We will be guided in our funding decisions by the life experience and leadership of individuals and families in affected communities.
  • Our funding will unapologetically focus locally on those most affected - African American, Latinx, Pacific Islander, Southeast Asian, Indigenous communities and undocumented neighbors - who are not supported by the social safety net but are part of our social fabric.
  • Our local funding will focus on changing systems that have prevented our communities of color and those without documentation from thriving.
  • We will increase our efforts to go beyond funding and help catalyze, organize, and lift up the leadership in our communities to engage with public and private decision makers to build a more equitable and sustainable Silicon Valley.