Tools & Resources

Embedding Racial Equity Commitments in Organizational DNA

This page features a growing list of strategies by foundations and impact investors to embed racial equity into organizational DNA. If you have a resource to share for this page, please let us know


Annie E. Casey Foundation's Action Guide

In approximately 2007, the Annie E. Casey Foundation began a journey of organizational learning to understand the relationship between racial equity and its mission— to work towards a society in which all children in the United States have a bright future. Through their learning, Casey Foundation began to recognize that all of their work must strive to achieve race equity, at every stage. This sparked a variety of new practices and policies across the organization, including in their impact investing practice. To share their learning, Casey Foundation created an action guide, which outlines 7 steps that other organizations can take to deepen their commitments. Below, we explore the seven steps and share related resources. 
  • Step 1. Establish an understanding of race equity and inclusion principles: The guide provides a brief list of important terms and concepts. Readers can also review MIE's resource on key terms for a brief overview, as well as a broader list of resources providing more comprehensive glossaries.
  • Step 2: Engage affected populations and stakeholders: Who is most affected by racial inequity in relation to your organization's mission? This step explores how organizations can and must include those most affected in the decision-making process— beyond engagement to creating avenues for authentic participation and shared power.
  • Step 3: Gather and analyze disaggregated data: This step outlines the need for data on populations served, disaggregated by race, ethnicity, gender, and other groups affected by inequity. It also explores how that data can be used as a tool for ongoing improvement and insight.
  • Step 4: Conduct systems analysis of the root causes of inequities: What are the root causes of inequity in community, and how do systems, policies, and institutions perpetuate inequity and racism? This step focuses on how foundations can analyze the social context behind the problems they seek to solve in order to develop lasting solutions. 
  • Step 5: Identify strategies and target resources to address root causes of inequities: Based on what you learn from your analysis, what strategies, tactics, and tools can help offer systemic solutions?
  • Step 6: Conduct race equity impact assessment for all policies and decision making: Before moving forward, have you stepped back to confirm that the strategies you propose are inclusive, will positively affect the groups you hope to support, and may not unintentionally cause harms? See below for Race Forward's Racial Justice Impact Assessment for additional guiding questions. 
  • Step 7: Continuously evaluate effectiveness and adapt strategies: As you progress in implementation, consider when and how to monitor progress to ensure your strategies are resulting in intended outcomes. 

Living Cities Maps its Journey of Change

Living Cities has produced a variety of materials walking through how it began to embed racial equity into all of its practices, including its impact investing. You can start by reviewing this essay by Nadia Owusu, which explores some of the cultural and operational shifts that have supported organization-wide progress. At this post is also a longer report walking through steps in detail. MIE members can also log in and view this Virtual Learning Opportunity recording hosted by Living Cities, that explores why an intentional approach to racial equity is necessary in impact investing and how they built their own capacities in this area.

D5 Coalition

Casey Foundation was among several foundations and experts involved in the D5 Coalition, a five-year initiative (2010-2015) to advance equity in philanthropy, which surfaced strategies, stories, and lessons from foundations on their journeys of change. Visit here and see attached below for the D5 Coalition's "Final State of Work," which highlights voices of leaders in the field. Each leader shares a perspective on what has worked and what challenges remain as they lead their institutions through changes to meet the demands of an increasingly diverse America. Topics covered include:
  • Rethinking Grantmaking: Using Data to Inform Investments: The Meyer Memorial Trust uses data to achieve more equitable grantmaking.
  • Engaging Diversity in a Once-Homogeneous City: The Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque takes action to encourage inclusivity and celebrate diversity.
  • Increasing Accessibility in the Arts: The Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council fosters greater access to arts and culture.

Global Endowment Management

In this blog, Meredith Heimburger of Global Endowment Management outlines how this investment firm began to reflect on its diversity and inclusion practices in 2017, prompting it to begin a focused effort to build diversity accross the firm and its investment portfolio.

The Giving Practice's Report on the Role of Investment Committees

This study, based on extensive interviews with foundation trustees, CEOs, investing staff and advisors, and industry advocates, acknowledges the powerful role of foundation investment committees to advance racial, social, and gender equity. The report shares key processes and decision points that investment committees encounter as they center racial, social and gender equity. 


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