Our Commitment to Equity

In 2019, our team started to think more intentionally about healing and racial equity. A deeper examination of our shared history of racial injustice calls us to consider how we heal from historical trauma and the hate and bigotry that continues to exist. We spent the year engaged with a racial equity consultant from OpenSource Leadership working with our staff and board to continue to build our own internal understanding and capacity for doing this work.

OpenSource collected 21 survey responses from 16 board members and five staff, interviewed 22 stakeholders (current and former board members, staff, interns, grantees, and peer funders), and reviewed key organizational documents. We received the results from that assessment in February of 2020. Since then, our equity leadership team and board have:

  1. Revised our mission and values and began developing an equity point of view
  2. Examined and updated our grantmaking processes to be more inclusive
  3. Supported the building of the community’s capacity for and understanding of racial equity and justice through supporting the equity offerings at the Center for Nonprofit Management, hosting virtual trainings, and working with other funders interested in racial equity
  4. Intentionally engaged and increased our financial support for nonprofits whose leaders are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color
  5. Launched a Participatory Grantmaking  program in Bedford County and North Nashville in collaboration with grantee partners

In 2020, we funded 18 nonprofits whose leaders are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, totaling $380,330 out of the total awarded $3,919,102.

In 2021, we funded 36 nonprofits whose leaders are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, totaling $1,161,813 out of the total awarded $4,230,721.

Beginning in 2023, we will prioritize nonprofits that are led by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) first, followed by rural applicants, and then all other applicants that don’t fall into those two groups. Applicants that don’t fall into those two groups will be prioritized based on their organizational approach to equity.

We define a BIPOC-led organization as one where:

• 30% of its Board and Staff are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color
• 51% of its clients are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, and
• The CEO is a Black person, an Indigenous person, or a Person of Color

We will partner with and/or fund organizations that:

• represent the community that it is trying to serve
• are working to reduce or eliminate health disparities
• serve under-resourced communities, people who are underinsured or uninsured, and people that are disenfranchised
• are addressing the immediate needs of the community and/or is aimed at root causes
• are anti-racist and are working to advance racial equity
• are engaging with the community and lifting the community’s voice

Learn more about our focus on racial equity in the FAQs below.  We look forward to hearing from you and will continue to update you along the way. Please feel free to contact us if you have additional recommendations.

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FAQs About Equity

Racial equity is the condition that would be achieved if a person’s racial identity no longer predicted how they were likely to fare. When we use that term, we are thinking about racial equity as one part of racial justice and include work to address the root causes of inequities, not just their manifestation. This includes the elimination of policies, practices, attitudes, and cultural messages that reinforce differential outcomes by race or fail to eliminate them.

SOURCE: Center for Assessment and Policy Development