Catalytic Change: Lessons Learned from the Racial Justice Grantmaking Assessment

Publication date: 
May, 2009

The purpose of this report is to share lessons learned from piloting a Racial Justice Grantmaking Assessment developed by the Applied Research Center (ARC) and the Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity (PRE) with two different foundations — the Consumer Health Foundation, a private foundation in Washington, DC; and the Barr Foundation, a family foundation in Boston, Massachusetts.

ARC and PRE designed the Racial Justice Grantmaking Assessment to help foundation staff and leaders understand the benefits of being explicit about racial equity, and to determine the degree to which their work is advancing racial justice. This report is based on the pilot process, and is intended to share insights into some of the barriers within the philanthropic sector that stand in the way of achieving racial justice outcomes. Itis organized into five segments:

  1. This introduction, which provides brief profiles of ARC and PRE, and of the assessment team;
  2. A description of the assessment process, including definitions, assumptions, and methodology;
  3. An overview of the assessments of the Consumer Health Foundation and the Barr Foundation, including brief profiles of each, summary findings, recommendations, and impacts to date;
  4. Lessons learned from the pilot process by the ARC-PRE assessment team; and
  5. Appendices with more detailed findings, recommendations, and initial impacts for each foundation.
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