Thoughts on philanthropy's role in promoting racial equity and justice

After the recent events in Charlottesville, Vikki Spruill from the Council on Foundations gathered thoughts from various philanthropy leaders on how the philanthropic sector can or should play a role. SVCF's CEO and President Emmett Carson, shared these thoughts: 

Emmett Carson
Emmett Carson
CEO and President,
SVCF

The tragic events in Charlottesville, VA, and President Trump's failure to unequivocally repudiate the ideology of neo Nazis/white supremacists/alt right groups and their violence presents American philanthropy with a unique moment to help move our country forward in achieving its promise that ALL are created equally. If military and corporate leaders can find their voice to denounce hatred, racism and anti-Semitism, surely philanthropy can set a higher bar for itself.

Philanthropy must use its voice and financial resources to engage in research, advocacy and lobbying (community foundations) to eliminate the systemic racism and other bias that permeates our policing and criminal justice, housing, healthcare, employment, voting rights and education systems resulting in unfair outcomes. Remaking these systems will provide the fairness that the country has aspired to achieve and start to upend the prevailing narrative that only white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant men are deserving of the American dream.

This will be extremely hard work and philanthropy must avoid political correctness that only certain viewpoints or life experiences are valid. However, the invitation to sit at the discussion table will require a commitment to our country's ideals of diversity and inclusion. A belief in racial superiority cannot co-exist with the belief that everyone is created equally. America has a precious moment to recommit the nation to equally working for all who share its values and philanthropy has the opportunity to help lead the way.


Read more statements from foundations, including the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation, on the Council on Foundations' website.