How can we in the philanthropic sector contribute to expanding American democracy to include everyone?

Abby Axelrod-Wunderman, Director of Charitable Giving

If we as philanthropists and grantmakers are honest with ourselves, over the past several years, we have faced rising criticism for lack of transparency, the continuation of wealth inequality, and the perpetuation of a broken economic system.

What can we do about it?
How can we in the philanthropic sector contribute to expanding

American democracy to include everyone? What can we do to address inequality and make a meaningful contribution to a changing nation?

Our Community Foundation, and others around the nation, are taking the lead to help their residents, leaders, and decision-makers build diverse, equitable, and inclusive communities for the common good. Our cities are grappling with how to embrace and draw strength from diversity while leveraging the resources diversity provides to help them thrive. A commitment to racial equity work often requires community foundations to think beyond responsive grantmaking and to develop disciplined, long-term strategies for understanding and addressing systemic issues that threaten wide-spread community growth.

What the Community Foundation is doing.
We at the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties want to reinforce and share how we have been taking on our racial equity challenges. We seek to encourage other philanthropists to join us.

  1. Clearly articulated values across the organization to address structural racism, disproportionality, and racial/ethnic disparities.
  2. A baseline recognition that a community engagement component is critical to the work we do each day. Foundation-led efforts with real traction often include nonprofit and community stakeholders working together to plan and implement action.
  3. There is a focus on internal practices and how they link to what goes on outside the Foundation's walls.
  4. A worldview that extends beyond responsive grantmaking, so we can move the needle forward on racial equity.
  5. Sharing of materials with our community. The creation and dissemination of materials may seem like small actions. However, these processes build knowledge that adds value beyond the geographic limitations of the Community Foundation's service region. It is why we have created these resources on our Foundation website.

We aim to see the entire forest and act accordingly. If you are interested in learning more about how the Community Foundation can help you and your community, please contact our Philanthropy Team.