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7 Principles to an Equitable Recovery

We must act today, plan for tomorrow, and level the playing field for an equitable future.


The COVID-19 pandemic amplified pre-existing health and wealth disparities for communities of color. While it seems like we are on the other side of it, there are continued impacts on the most vulnerable. The road to recovery from any crisis requires philanthropy to address the underlying factors and continue to prioritize them.  

7 Principles

Northern California Grantmakers is committed to connecting government, nonprofits and philanthropic partners to ensure federal stimulus payments meaningfully reach local communities. Our approach is guided by seven key principles that center racial equity.

1. Ensure access to quality healthcare & mental health services for all

Prioritize: Creating access to healthcare services and vaccines based on race and place data, regardless of documentation or insurance status; Ensuring access to trauma-informed mental health services

Philanthropic Role:

  • Harness the knowledge, relationships and trust of community organizers
  • Develop strategies to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines & booster shots
  • Advocate for communities left out of federal plans, including undocumented immigrants
  • Leverage ethnic media, including radio, to educate populations in their native languages. Dispel public charge concerns
  • Advocate for timely data with race and place markers to support data-driven decisionmaking
  • Train public health workers for immediate roles in contact tracing, community outreach, and health education, as well as for longer-term careers in public health and health care

2. Promote economic opportunity for all

Prioritize: Protecting economic viability for essential and frontline workers; Supporting efforts to prioritize stimulus finding for minority-owned small businesses and nonprofit organizations serving communities of color

Philanthropic Role: 

  • Use your networks to amplify the knowledge, relationships and trust of community partners
  • Act as a convener to prioritize access to stimulus funding for Black, Latinx, Indigenous and people of color-owned small businesses
  • Ensure financial lifelines reach non-profit organizations that are led by or serve Black, Latinx, Indigenous and/or communities of color
  • Protect essential and frontline workers at greater risk of contracting and dying of COVID-19
  • Uplift protective factors for essential workers and their families, including reliable childcare, paid sick time, free testing, guaranteed income, EITC, etc.
  • Share promising innovative workforce strategies, such as social enterprises and worker cooperatives
  • Create a new economic model that centers on living-waged green jobs, including those in the care industry

3. Advance housing stability strategies

Prioritize: Preventing evictions and the eviction cliff, Supporting interim housing solutions that bring unsheltered people indoors immediately, Keeping at-risk families stably housed through rent financial assistance, mortgage assistance for small landlords with low-income tenants

Philanthropic Role: Source: All Home CA

  • Invest in innovative interim housing models (e.g. cabin communities, modular construction), or the next phase of Project Homekey 
  • Invest in emergency rent relief and complementary legal assistance for tenants not covered by federal programs
  • Secure existing affordable housing with convenants that are expiring, or augment subsidies and services to serve extremely low- income individuals and families 
  • Advocate for zoning reforms and streamlined entitlement processes that encourage affordable housing development, particularly in low density areas and transit corridors
  • Invest in critical community partners that help communities facilitate housing advocacy

4. Advocate for incarcerated populations

Prioritize: Providing incarcerated populations with testing & vaccines; Recommending compassionate release provisions for elderly, sick people, and those incarcerated for parole violations

Philanthropic Role: Source: California Criminal Justice Funders Group 

  • Harness the knowledge, relationships and trust of community organizers
  • Support organizations led by people directly impacted by incarceration and people of color through meaningful partnerships and long-term investments
  • Support work, policies, and organizations that strive to undo the racism, patriarchy, gender-based violence, transphobia and capitalism that is foundational to the criminal legal system and philanthropy
  • Center and trust the experience, vision, and leadership of people directly impacted by incarceration and the criminal/legal systems
  • Stand in solidarity with the movements to end policing, criminalization, and imprisonment and that mobilizes and redistributes resources to see a more just, equitable and humane world

5. Protect California’s democracy

Prioritize: Providing a variety of safe voting options and protecting the integrity of civic processes; Building political and organizing power in communities of color

Philanthropic Role: 

  • Harness the knowledge, relationships and trust of community organizers
  • Prioritize funding to build political and organizing power in Black, Latinx, Indigenous and other communities of color
  • Fund local and regional redistricting efforts to ensure the process is diverse and inclusive of all Californians
  • Continue to engage Census efforts, and participate in shaping Census 2030
  • Advocate for permanent vote by mail and automatic ballots

6. Defend access to safe learning environments & youth development

Prioritize: Building trust between teachers & families; Identifying and responding to the full needs of every student; Deepening community-based partnerships to meet the needs of students and their families; Including student voices in decision-making

Philanthropic Role: Source: Californians for Justice

  • Address the educational and social gaps that occurred as a result of students not being in a physical classroom setting
  • Include student and family voices in reopening efforts
  • Harness the knowledge, relationships and trust of community organizers
  • Promote restorative justice approaches within the educational system
  • Center whole-student approaches in school reopening discussions
  • Advocate for digital infrastructure in Black, Latinx, Indigenous and low-income communities

7. Secure a healthy and climate-resilient future

Prioritize: Resourcing frontline communities to address multiple and intersectional issues of health, economic, workforce, gender, educational, and climate justice

Philanthropic Role: 

  • Prioritize funding to build political and organizing power in Black, Latinx, Indigenous and other communities of color
  • Build and harness the knowledge, relationships and trust of community and Tribal leaders
  • Listen to local climate priorities and integrate a climate justice lens to all areas of grantmaking portfolios
  • Leverage public dollars to ensure funding goes to communities at highest risk of extreme climate events such as heat waves, drought, wildfires, and floods
  • Support research and data collection on the health and economic risks and impacts of Black, Latinx, Indigenous and other communities of color from climate change and disaster risks, ensuring resources are allocated equitably
  • Advocate for policies that protect the health and safety of communities from environmental hazards



Steve Barton headshot

Steve Barton, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, Northern California Grantmakers

To learn more about how to engage with this work contact: