Racial Equity

WRAG's Racial Equity Working Group

Throughout 2016, a sizable cohort of WRAG’s membership participated in a learning series exploring the dimensions of racism, and a training series on applying a racial equity lens to grantmaking and communicating effectively about race and racism. The initiative was called Putting Racism on the Table. While learning is always ongoing, funders are ready to move toward action to advance racial equity.

In February 2017, WRAG launched the Racial Equity Working Group (REWG). REWG members are dedicated to continuing to better understand how structural racism - particularly anti-Black racism - manifests in our region – and to collectively take strategic actions toward dismantling it. The group has three major areas of focus:

  • Envisioning a Racially Equitable Region
  • Community Engagement
  • Systems & Policy Work

2021 Racial Equity Working Group Co-Chairs:

  • Dara Johnson, Horning Family Fund
  • Laura Burgos, Venture Philanthropy Partners

2017 - 2019 Community Conversation Series
In order to understand how communities across the region experience racial inequities and envision an equitable Greater Washington, the REWG convened four community conversations in different locales across the region. Each convening was co-created with a local partner with deep connections into the community, and each focused on a unique segment of the community. Each conversation brought together roughly 20 funders from the REWG and 20-25 community members, and each was structured around four core components:

  • Disaggregated data from the Urban Institute that revealed current racial disparities in housing, income, and education outcomes in each jurisdiction
  • An examination of the racial history of each jurisdiction and how discriminatory public policies helped to create the current reality
  • A force field analysis of the systems of power perpetuating racial inequities and potential strategies for interrupting those systems
  • The development of collective vision statements for what a racially equitable and just region, free from racism, would look like

The qualitative data collected at each of these convenings can be found here:
Montgomery County (October 2017)
Fairfax County (June 2018)
Prince George's County (October 2018)
Washington, DC (February 2019)

Racial Equity Working Group Members (partial list):

Julia Baer-Cooper, Lois & Richard England Family Foundation & Prince Charitable Trusts
Ayann Johnson Bailey, Greater Washington Community Foundation
Anna Bard, Wells Fargo
Temi Bennett, Consumer Health Foundation
Kara Blankner, Jane Bancroft Robinson Foundation
Sheri BradyDiverse City Fund
Robert Burns, Citi Community Development
B.A. Cockburn, DC Bar Foundation
Leni Dworkis, Weissberg Foundation
Jeanine Finch, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield
Brittany Giles-Cantrell, Kaiser Permanente
Martine Gordon, Washington Area Women's Foundation
Dara Johnson, Horning Family Fund
Edward Jones, ABFE
Miz Kusairi, Candid
Mark Johnson-Lewis, DC Bar Foundation
Annie Mahon, Pink House Foundation
Patricia Mathews, Northern Virginia Health Foundation
Kukua Osei-Gyamfi, Potomac Health Foundation
Yanique Redwood, Consumer Health Foundation
Brigette Rouson, Diverse City Fund
Ayris Scales, DC Mayor's Office of Partnerships & Grant Services
Mike Schwartz, The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation
Sterling Speirn, Greater Washington Community Foundation
Nina Weissberg, Weissberg Foundation
Tonia Wellons, Greater Washington Community Foundation
Claudia Williams, Washington Area Women's Foundation
Nat Chioke Williams, Hill-Snowdon Foundation
Brandi Yee, ACT for Alexandria

Interested in Joining REWG?
REWG hosts quarterly orientations for WRAG members interested in getting involved with the working group. For more information on working group membership guidelines and decision-making structure, click here.

For more information about the Racial Equity Working Group, please contact Dr. Madye Henson.

Read More:

Putting Racism on the Table

In 2016, the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers launched Putting Racism on the Table, a learning and action series for philanthropy. In 2018, we partnered with Leadership Greater Washington to grow the regional, cross-sector network of philanthropic, nonprofit, and civic leaders who understand racism and are committed to working for racial justice. You can learn more here.

Other Resources

Putting Racism on the Table - Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers
This is WRAG's 2016 - 2018 initiative on structural racism, white privilege, and implicit bias. Check out this site to watch the multi-part learning series, access discussion and viewing guides, read perspectives from funders across the region, and more.

Grantmaking with a Racial Justice Lens: A Practical Guide - Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity
This report provides grantmakers with reflections, frameworks and tools built from the direct experience of activists and funders for advancing racial justice in any philanthropic setting.

Racial Inequities in the Washington, DC, Region, 2011-2015 - Urban Institute
Issue brief with data on racial disparities in education, income, employment, and housing across the region.

Glossary for Understanding Structural Racism/Promoting Racial Equity Analysis - The Aspen Institute
This glossary defines the terms used in discussions about racism and racial equity.

Race Implicit Association Test - Project Implicit
This 10 minute test helps to reveal thoughts and feelings outside of conscious awareness and control.

Grantmaking with a Racial Equity Lens - Grantcraft
This guide explores how a racial equity lens can help you scan your field or community, cultivate new leaders, encourage creative approaches, get people talking, and nourish change inside your own foundation.

Racial Equity Resource Guide - W.K. Kellogg Foundation
A comprehensive and interactive compilation of relevant resources for organizations working to achieve racial equity in their communities.

The Case for Funding Black-Led Social Change - The Black Social Change Funders Network
A project of ABFE: A Philanthropic Partnership for Black Communities and the Hill-Snowdon Foundation

"White Fragility: Why It's So Hard to Talk to White People about Racism" - by Robin DiAngelo (speaker on white privilege in the Putting Racism on the Table series)
Robin DiAngelo explains why white people often react defensively in, or avoid entirely, conversations about racism.

A collection of tools, reports, and resources from the Government Alliance on Race and Equity

National Equity Atlas - PolicyLink & USC
An online repository of data to make the case for equity.