Funder Pledge to Invest in BIPOC Communities

Funder Pledge to Invest in BIPOC Communities

Funder Pledge to Invest in Black, Indigenous and People of Color Communities blog graphic

In 2020, because of the leadership and urging of the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color Executive Directors Coalition (BIPOC ED Coalition), Philanthropy Northwest heeded the call to align our actions to our stated commitment of racial justice. As a convener of funders, we are taking an active role to mobilize our funding partners to sign the pledge

This pledge was created by the BIPOC ED Coalition, a multicultural, cross-sector collaborative of 200+ Black, Indigenous, and People of Color nonprofit leaders across Washington State. The values of the coalition are applicable to all funders in our region and the pledge includes commitments that Northwest community partners have called upon philanthropy to institute time and time again. As it did for us, the pledge can serve as a lens to examine your own grantmaking practices and intentionally direct money to BIPOC-led organizations.

The BIPOC ED Coalition is working at the intersection of action and wellness. Beyond this pledge, the coalition is connecting nonprofit leaders of color to support each other in healing from racial trauma and to develop unified strategies for advancing equitable policies. Healing sessions combined with strategy create a sense of community and help to prevent burnout for leaders of color who are frustrated and exhausted. Through healing and advocacy, the BIPOC ED Coalition is recreating the fabric of society to nourish our collective well-being and generate shared abundance.

BIPOC communities have gone above and beyond to light the path. Now is the time to rethink our roles as funders and commit to working with BIPOC nonprofit leaders in more powerful ways. 

At Philanthropy Northwest, we are committing to be a hub and resource for funders to achieve the commitments stated in the pledge. Specific actions include:

  • Hosting a series of conversations with foundations that are ready to examine your internal practices and make the necessary changes. 
  • Facilitating a trust-based philanthropy cohort, a six-part series for foundation leaders interested in bringing greater humility to their work and advancing equitable, trust-based relationships with grantees. 
  • Holding space to share equitable practices that will move us — individually and collectively — to shift norms, address systemic issues and generate abundance.

In the last year and a half, philanthropy has responded with emergency and unrestricted funding for nonprofit organizations to meet the growing needs for services. The action was swift and almost immediate — showing we know we can move fast when we want to and trust BIPOC nonprofit leaders to direct resources. 

While funders may not yet be able to meet all four commitments, we encourage foundations and grantmakers to sign on and embrace the pledge as a road map to action and measure of accountability to BIPOC leaders. Whether this is a new commitment for your organization or a recommitment, it is an opportunity to take concrete steps, beyond statements of support, to invest in BIPOC-led organizations and BIPOC communities. 

This pledge was created by BIPOC non-profit leaders in Washington State, but the values reach beyond state boundaries. These commitments are relevant to all funders in our region and reflect the sentiments we have been hearing from community partners throughout the Northwest. The pledge can serve as a lens to examine your own grantmaking practices and act to move money to BIPOC-led organizations.

This is the future of philanthropy. By signing on and supporting this work, you are advancing BIPOC-led movement building and systems change for an equitable future. 

Pledge to invest in BIPOC communities:

  1. Increase our annual payout rate to 10% or more.
  2. Designate all the additional funds from the increased payout rate to organizations led by Black, Indigenous and People of Color.
  3. Award the majority of our funds as five-year or more unrestricted grants, to ensure organizational stability.
  4. Financially support BIPOC-led systems-change work, such as changing unfair tax codes, ending voter suppression, and other efforts to strengthen democracy and advance racial equity.

By signing this pledge, we commit to reforming funding practices to be actively anti-racist:

We commit to tracking our own progress on these goals, sharing updates with the BIPOC Executive Directors Coalition and holding ourselves accountable to this pledge.

We will invite other funding partners to join us in signing this pledge and investigate, reform, and rebuild their funding practices to be equitable and focus on communities of color.

We recognize that the commitments outlined in this pledge won’t solve all of the challenges in the nonprofit sector and society, and that this is the baseline that we will build upon to take necessary steps toward equitable funding and racial justice.

By committing to this pledge and advocating for overall change in the sector, we are pushing for a seismic shift, one meant to support communities most affected by systemic injustice, with our funding and actions.