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Foundations Can Do Better on Diversity

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The Chronicle of PhilanthropySo argue Stephen Heintz, Robert Ross, and Sterling Speirn–D5’s co-chairs–in an opinion piece in the new issue of The Chronicle of Philanthropy.

“As co-chairs of the D5 Coalition…we’re proud that so many philanthropy organizations are participating,” they write. “But here’s the rub: For all its weight and acceleration, this effort simply won’t get off the ground unless foundations provide the lift. Foundations can and must do more to make philanthropy more diverse, equitable, and inclusive.

What stands in the way? Heintz, Ross, and Speirn debunk three myths they’ve encountered in their work on diversity: “Diversity is just about skin color and head counts;” “Diversity is about external appearances;” “Diversity is a diversion that foundations can’t afford.”

They then point to three paths foundations can take to improve their work on diversity, equity, and inclusion, with examples from their own foundations: look inside to adopt and improve policies and practices; reshape your grantmaking; and help philanthropy lead the way to a more diverse society.

Even when committed to these issues, the hardest part, Heinz, Ross, and Speirn say, is to make the changes happen.

“We won’t pretend that it’s easy,” they write. “Indeed, helping push our foundations forward on diversity, equity, and inclusion has been among the hardest things we’ve done in our entire careers. Of course, we also count them among the most rewarding.”

Explore tools and resources to improve your organization’s–and philanthropy’s–work on diversity, equity, and inclusion.

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