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The Road to Recovery: A Framework for Philanthropy

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

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Over the last year, we've been using guiding principles to help guide our support and offerings around COVID-19 recovery for the NCG community. We've challenged ourselves to define what an equitable recovery looks like and have used these principles to create a framework centering racial equity. NCG's President and CEO Dwayne S. Marsh spoke with our Public Policy Director Crispin Delgado about this new resource for philanthropy. 

Dwayne: Crispin, why is NCG lifting up an equitable recovery framework? What effect are you hoping this will have in this moment?

Crispin: Over the last year, local communities have had to endure multiple crises, including the pandemic, economic downturn, the reckoning of social injustices and the existential climate crisis. It is critical that we lend our influence and sweat to ensuring every person in Northern California has a fair shot at a long, healthy and prosperous life. In terms of effect this framework can have, I hope we can bring together our philanthropic community to serve the interests of communities of color throughout our region. I understand that by rooting our philanthropic sector in common goals, we are more likely to have a collective impact. Together we can identify and respond to gaps that go beyond government investment strategies, to ensure every community has a voice in the prioritization process and access to resources to maximize the impact of every stimulus dollar invested in local communities. 

Dwayne: There are a lot of frameworks for action floating around; how was this one informed and what makes it relevant?

Crispin: Great question, for the last several months the NCG team has worked to develop priorities that are informed by the broader field. These priorities are rooted in data points and frameworks that highlight the impact the pandemic, economic downturn and calls for racial equity have had on communities of color. One aspect that makes this framework unique is that we highlight specific actions that our members can take to address specific areas of interest within each principle. It is an action-oriented framework that is intended to be both influential and impactful. 

Dwayne: So people have options. Can you say a bit about the best way that members can use this?

Crispin: It is critical that we lift up the voices and interests of those populations most impacted by the events of 2020, especially communities of color and low-income communities. This framework is meant to serve as a guide with ideas of where we think our members can come together to have collective impact. It will be critical to align efforts in support of building a more inclusive economy, expanding reliable access to health and mental health services, securing safe access to education, and protecting residents from being displaced from their homes. We must also not lose sight of the eminent threat of climate change and the effects is already having on our planet.  We must synergize our efforts to improve the outlook for generations to come.

Dwayne: What excites you about NCG devoting significant energy to an equitable recovery framework? 

Crispin: I was very inspired to work on this framework with my colleagues. I know our principles and priorities for the field are ambitious, but necessary. This is the moment to be bold and audacious in our vision for a more inclusive tomorrow. A future where are communities have equitable access to care, jobs, education, voting, and safety. It will only be with these protections that we will be able to fully contain the pandemic and simultaneously recover in a way that builds back better with a clear focus on closing racial disparities in health and wealth.  

Dwayne: A tall order, but worth the effort. If this works, what might we be talking about with regards to the region’s recovery in a couple years’ time? 

Crispin: Ideally, if we are able to serve as a bridge between government, the non-profit and philanthropic sectors, over the next few years we will talk about the billions of federal stimulus dollars going to local infrastructure and social programs. We will talk about the innovative employment strategies that gave communities of color access to sustainable green jobs. We will highlight increased access to housing options at all income levels. We lift up the stories of our movement leaders celebrating wins for local communities that have been disinvested for decades. Lastly, we will see disparities change their trajectories, indicating that through intentional data-based policy changes we were able to begin closing disparities that persisted for far too long.