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Racial Equity Action Institute

NCG's Racial Equity Action Institute centers racial equity with an intersectional framework that recognizes the ways race is shaped and informed by class, gender, sexuality, and ability.


In the past three years, there has been so much momentum and awakening on racial justice efforts. Against the backdrop of a polarizing presidential election, Black-led movement-building, and a global pandemic, organizations across sectors were asked to heed the call for racial equity. Many commitments were made to move resources, power, and money towards actualizing racial equity. Nearly three years later, this momentum has been met with major backlash - the reversal of affirmative action, disinvestment in Diversity Equity Initiatives across sectors, legislative roll-backs of various human and civil rights, along with fragmented internal and institutional change processes. 

What commitments did your organization or workplace make in 2020?  How are you following through on those commitments? Where did your organization imagine itself at this point in the racial equity journey? How are WE integrating the values we hoped to embody in 2020? There have been many ruptures, organizational changes, and transitions in this time of massive awakenings. Which tools, support, and resources do you need to move through this time of change? 

Sustainable change requires collective support. Following through on our racial equity commitments requires us to build courageous relationships with ourselves and each other.  Relationships that allow us to ask hard questions, take risks, and move away from the fear of doing things wrong as we learn new ways of being.

Through Northern California Grantmakers’ Racial Equity Action Institute (REAI), participants will gain knowledge, lessons, and tools for developing actionable strategies in their institutions to advance racial equity with field experts and each other.  One sector on its own cannot solve the challenges of racial inequities.  Our cohort learning program connects specialists in racial equity from philanthropy, business, government, and nonprofits. By deepening our relationships and the connectivity of those in our ecosystem who are committed to change and justice, so much is possible. 

We hope you will join us for this moment in history. 


2021 REAI Particpant

“Connecting with others is healing work for me because it allows me to connect with like-minded professionals and learn from their practices/experiences. I think that our work should not exist in siloes and connections/relationships are a key part of our work."

2022 REAI Participant

“Along with all of the helpful resources, links, and equity templates, the main takeaway I got from REAI is to be comfortable with who I am and what I can offer to this equity work, and not having to be perfect when doing this work. It takes time, energy, effort, there will be frustrations, highs and lows, and all of that is okay."

Cohort Details 

Where: All sessions will be virtual. A Zoom link will be sent to all participants in a reminder email prior to the session.

When: There are eight virtual convenings (10:00 am - 4:00 pm with 90 minutes allotted for lunch and breaks throughout the day) required as a part of REAI. The dates are: September 28, 2023 | October 26, 2023 | November 16, 2023 | December 7, 2023 | January 25, 2024 | February 22, 2024 | March 21, 2024 | April 18, 2024.



The curriculum supports creating a community reflecting and learning from each other to craft approaches to the challenges of advancing racial equity, diversity, and inclusion and building skills to create the conditions for change within our institutions.  

Power of Community | Thursday, September 28, 2023: Build community and develop relationships with cohort members with a focus on defining shared language on racial equity, diversity, and inclusion (REDI) and how REDI is operationallized.   

Power of Reflection and Healing | Thursday, October 26, 2023: Explore how personal and intersectional identities and oppressions based on ability, class, gender, race, and sexual orientation are experienced in our bodies.  Learn practices rooted in radical rest, trauma-informed approaches to healing, and tools for being resilient and avoiding burnout.   

Power of Systems Change | Thursday, November 16, 2023: Learn frameworks, strategies, and tools on how to engage with peers and leaders on making racial equity, diversity, and inclusion change in your institution on a systems level.  

Power of Culture | Thursday, December 7, 2023: Learn how to create a Race Equity Culture in your institution that values and prioritizes racial equity, diversity, and inclusion from Equity in the Center’s Awake to Woke to Work framework.   

Power To Leverage Change | Thursday, January 25, 2024: Identify institutional levers for change and create the conditions for action to advance racial equity, diversity, and inclusion in your institution.   

Power of Communications | Thursday, February 22, 2024: Learn how to frame narratives, use storytelling, and develop messages to make the case for racial equity, diversity, and inclusion in your institution.  

Power of Practice | Thursday, March 21, 2024: Utilize an organizational assessment to develop a Racial Equity Action Plan. Share racial equity, diversity, and inclusion challenges in your institutions, explore strategies, and create solutions to address these barriers.   

Power of Collective Action | Thursday, April 18, 2024: Refine Racial Equity Action Plans with implementation steps and timelines, reflect on the program experience, engage with REAI alumni, and discuss opportunities to work collectively in the future. 

Target Audience

What are we looking for in participants? 

  • Participants are responsible for the implementation of racial equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts at their current institution and have a minimum of 2 years of overall experience working on these issues;
  • Understand their institution’s operations, systems, programs, and leadership structure, and have a level of influence/authority to introduce new ideas, programs, etc;
  • Embrace reflection and are open to being challenged/inspired by new/different ideas on practicing racial equity, diversity, and inclusion; 
  • Seek a space to connect with others for support, to build relationships, and to problem-solve on racial equity challenges.


  • Philanthropy + Corporate: $3,500
  • Member Philanthropy + Corporate: $3,000
  • Nonprofit + Government: $1,750
  • Member nonprofit + Government: $1,500
  • If the cost of participation presents a financial barrier, please contact us to explore alternative options, as we do not want this to prevent interested folks from applying.


Applications are now closed. We expect to notify applicants by Monday, August 28th with an invitation of participation. 


Haewon Asfaw

Haewon Asfaw, REAI Coordinator

If you'd like to learn more about NCG's Racial Equity Action Institute contact:

Melissa Nop headshot

Melissa Nop, Manager of Equity and Practice, Northern California Grantmakers

If you'd like to learn more about NCG's Racial Equity Action Institute contact:


2023 Participants

Alekhya Mukkavilli

Program Manager, Sustainable Finance Program
ClimateWorks Foundation

Anthony Chandler

Senior Relationship Manager
NeighborWorks America

Avani Patel

VP, DEI & Strategic Initiatives
Pacific Foundation Services LLC

Casey Ryu

Program Coordinator, Zoom Cares
Zoom Video Communications

David Lee

Director, APASS Program
Laney College

Gwyneth Tripp

Director of Grantmaking Practice
Stupski Foundation

Kari Simpson

HR Director
Jim Joseph Foundation

Lakiba Pittman

Menlo College

Maya Esparza

DEI Program Manager
Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA)

Mazdak Mazarei

Senior Director of Equity and Health Justice
San Francisco AIDS Foundation

Michelle Fountain

VP, Behavioral Health and Training
Community Action Marin

Monica Quintana

Vice President of DEI Initiatives
Positive Coaching Alliance

Robynn Takayama

Community Challenge Grants Manager
City and County of San Francisco

Stephen Switzer

Director of Finance
Funders for LGBTQ Issues

Tyrone Fleurizard

Senior DEI Program and Operations Specialist
Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

Wendy Todd

Wendy Todd Consulting