A Call to Accountability and Action: Philanthropy and Anti-Black Racism

Monday, June 15, 2020














WRAG STATEMENT | We continue to see the dangers of resisting and rejecting the history and injustices that Black individuals, families, and communities have faced for centuries, and this moment in time is the most recent one as the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Amhaud Arbery have unleashed a new wave of pain, fear, and outrage across the United States that has escalated to global protests and calls for both accountability and action. 

The Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers (WRAG) envisions an equitable region, filled with prosperity for all where everyone can meaningfully participate. As part of our mission to increase the effectiveness of philanthropy as a sector - while recognizing that everyone is at a different stage in the journey - we commit beyond learning, as a membership, to transforming our sector through the actions below: 

  1. Decentering whiteness. We will ensure that we do not perpetuate or sustain dangerous white-dominant or supremacist values in our work and that we lift up the worth and dignity of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion, which recognizes and values race. For those of us who are white, we must acknowledge that we have benefited from racist systems, that our benefit was at the expense of others, and that it is our responsibility to actively push for change. 
  2. Centering experience. We must listen to those most impacted by structural inequities and ensure that when racism of any magnitude is shown, we denounce it and lift up and amplify the voices of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). We must bring to the front the incredible words and wisdom of BIPOC communities and stand in solidarity by spreading their messages in ways that are authentic and respectful, not extractive.
  3. Building, sharing, wielding and ceding power. We must be actively aware of power dynamics at all times and in all situations, and give up power to ensure that others are able to build it. A redistribution of power is necessary for such change, and therefore it is essential to invest in individuals and movements working to reconstruct systems. 

Our Action and Accountability 

It is the responsibility of WRAG and our members to take learning and put it into action as a sector. As philanthropic leaders, staff, and trustees, we will connect and share the steps we are taking as people and as organizations to embed anti-racism into our funding strategies, policies, and practices. Individual philanthropic organizations can also take actions to fund and support anti-Black racism work and use our power as a sector to advocate for justice, brokering relationships to spur systems change. 

We will be self-reflective and push each other in our work to ensure that racial equity is at the center of grantmaking. We will hold WRAG as an organization and each other accountable. We invite our partners, stakeholders and community members to hold us accountable as well.  

In solidarity,
The Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers Staff and Board of Directors
The Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers Racial Equity Working Group