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Foundations Facilitate Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Partnering with Community and Nonprofits

Publication date: 
September, 2014

Foundations Facilitate Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Partnering with Community and Nonprofits, a D5 new report by the OMG Center for Collaborative Learning, confirms that foundations can, in fact, facilitate diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) through their grantmaking processes and their partnerships with nonprofits—and identifies eight specific practices for foundations to emulate.

The report takes a deep dive into the work of nine foundations that represent a diverse cross-section of types and sizes, and offers useful lessons about how foundations can better partner with nonprofits to be more effective in their work. Among these lessons are that foundations can advance DEI by:

  • Cultivating a deep understanding of the local contexts in which they invest.
  • Ensuring that their missions reflect the value of DEI and that their leaders are strongly driven by the mission.
  • Targeting, through their strategy, the structural issues that limit opportunities for people in underserved communities, and by bolstering the capacity of grassroots organizations that serve those communities.
  • Selecting nonprofit partners whose missions align with their values of DEI.
  • Engaging nonprofits as partners and forging long-term relationships with them.
  • Building nonprofit partners’ capacity to authentically engage their communities.
  • Convening nonprofit partners to discuss DEI, and encouraging authentic collaboration among nonprofit partners to tackle the structural issues that affect communities.
  • Using evaluation as a learning tool to improve their own—and their nonprofit partners’—practice of DEI.

This year, the D5 Coalition published a series of research reports to explore the opportunities and challenges facing the field as we work to advance DEI in philanthropy—and illuminate some best practices that are propelling the movement forward. This report by OMG is the third and final installment in the series which can be found on the D5 website. The other two research reports are:

Vision and Voice: The Role of Leadership and Dialogue in Advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Philanthropic Paths: An Exploratory Study of the Career Pathways of Professionals of Color in Philanthropy