Facing Race: A National Conference in St. Louis, MO — November 20-22, 2024

Jessica Berns

Network Vibrancy Director | Philanthropy Massachusetts
Pronouns: she/her/hers

Presentations from Facing Race 2022

It’s Time for Action: a Non-profit Funder Membership Organization Leads a State-wide Strategy to Shift Philanthropy at Scale

There have been numerous calls to action for philanthropy to center equity, and shift power to the community—yet many of these institutions are slow to act to advance their racial equity work beyond public statements. This session will share how Philanthropy Massachusetts, a nonprofit funder-membership organization developed a multi-prong approach to gain insights from a representative body of funders through a working group, staff, and a state-wide survey into the behavioral and organizational barriers funders might be facing in moving from thinking to action. We will discuss how these insights have used these findings to co-create racial equity strategies with their network membership to cultivate mass action at the state level to change systems and shift power to the communities they serve. Philanthropy Massachusetts will draw on its long history of working on race, diversity, equity, and inclusive over the years; participating in the D5 Coalition, a national coalition of funders and PSOs advancing REDI in the field; creating Diversity fellowships for midcareer professionals who transitioned into philanthropy; and convening the Grantmakers of Color network. The panel will also discuss the benefits of co-creating strategies in partnership with funders at different stages of their racial equity efforts, what communication messages were most helpful, and how peer-led action can lead to increase impact for communities that are historically and currently unfunded or under-funded and excluded. Together, the panel will communicate a new vision for a philanthropic state-level approach.

Speakers: Amber Trout, Alex McCray, Jessica Berns