Posts filed under ‘Diversity’

Why racial equity?

2018 Deborah Aubert Thomas blog photoPhilanthropy Ohio has adopted diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) as a core value, declaring:

We believe that greater diversity, equity and inclusion is a matter of fairness and effectiveness in our profession. To have real impact in a diverse and complex world, organized philanthropy must effectively include these voices and draw upon them to intentionally engage issues of diversity, equity and inclusion in an authentic way. We encourage all foundation leaders to sustain leadership commitment, authorization, learning and outreach and strategically and intentionally advance diversity, equity and inclusion in our organizations and grantmaking.

 As an organization, we acknowledge all issues of equity – gender equity, economic equity, health equity, etc. – are of importance and have decided to lead with racial equity and address its intersectionality with other forms of equity.

We recognize that our members may fall along a spectrum on the path to addressing racial equity, from Awareness of Inequity through Understanding Why Inequity Exists to Transforming Toward Equity (see chart below from Forward Through Ferguson).

A path to racial equity

We place our current equity programming between the Awareness and the Understanding positions: to be Aware of race as a social construct and to understand why inequity exists.

At Philanthropy Forward ’17 last October, Dr. Eddie S. Glaude Jr. (Chair, Center for African American Studies at Princeton University) gave our keynote address, “The Value Gap,” which refers to the values that contribute to institutional racism – that white people are valued more than others are. He challenged philanthropy to be in a continual “crisis of racial awareness” as we do our work: to understand what some have to deal with every single day and to confront the ugliness of our history and how we got to now.

The learning, explorations and considerations that are part of the Understanding position can be uncomfortable and we need to lean into that discomfort. To quote Tamara Copeland, Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers president, “Racism cannot be explored in sound bites. There is a depth and breadth to the topic that requires that you listen, reflect, talk with others and then sit with the information for a while to make it your own. It is hard work to truly understand racism.”

Philanthropy Ohio is offering workshops and discussions that will further our individual and collective journeys from awareness through understanding to transformation. We are asking our members, as they engage in this work to reflect on what they are sitting with at any moment – be it hope, apprehension, discomfort or encouragement. And be open to having honest and courageous conversations with peers and in our communities. It is imperative that together we consider if and how philanthropy can shift.

Putting Racism on the Table, developed by the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers, is a six-part video and discussion series examining how race-based preconceptions and actions – whether conscious or unconscious – can shape the effectiveness of philanthropy committed to issues as varied as education, housing, the arts or health care. The series has two cohorts, one for philanthropy CEOs and trustees and the other for program and other staff. The series runs February through July in Cleveland and May through October in Cincinnati with the Central Ohio series yet to be set.

Putting Racism on the Table for Program & Other Staff – May 14
Putting Racism on the Table for CEOs & Trustees – May 14

The Racial Equity Institute’s Groundwater and Phase I trainings are intensive presentations on historical, institutional and systemic racism challenging deeply-held assumptions and revealing the devastating impacts of persistent racial inequality on our nation’s most marginalized populations. According to the Racial Equity Institute, race remains an important indicator of well-being in U.S. society. When other factors, cited as the probable reasons for health or social problems (e.g., income, education, parent involvement, access to health insurance, etc.), are controlled for by statistical analyses, race remains an important, independent predictor of health, social, education, criminal justice and other outcomes.

Participating in these learning opportunities can help prepare philanthropy to be a platform for societal change that goes well beyond financial support.

Racial Equity Workshop – Phase I – May 3 – 4
Racial Equity Workshop – Phase I – May 7 – 8

In order to move to Transforming Towards Equity, we must embrace Dr. Glaude’s challenge to change the frame and invest in the solutions and not the problems. He asserts that we must understand that what we are doing is not charity; it is justice work. And we must not believe that equality is something we have to give.

Deborah Aubert Thomas


February 23, 2018 at 12:38 pm Leave a comment

Working for just, equitable communities

headshot of claudia smilingJust a week has passed since the violence in Charlottesville and, like many others, here at Philanthropy Ohio we are thinking about how we can increase our efforts working with our members toward just, equitable communities. We’ve focused over the past 10 years on diversity, equity and inclusion, adopting a DEI Statement, engaging members in a CEO Circle, educating members about racial disparities and creating the Michael G. Shinn Award for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Philanthropy. Our October conference has a major focus on equity, from the plenary with Dr. Eddie Glaude, Jr. to individual breakout and reflection sessions.

Last month, four of our staff attended the United Philanthropy Forum’s conference, where Dr. David Williams presented sobering data on the inequality in 21st century America, saying that philanthropy should play a leading role in:

  • Raising awareness levels of the reality of racial inequities;
  • Helping to establish a credible voice that is anti-elite, anti-authority and has little trust in social institutions;
  • Convening all relevant stakeholders and experts to establish a coordinated and sustained mass media campaign to re-define race in American culture and society;
  • Raising awareness levels of deeply embedded, subtle forms of prejudice (implicit biases) that are pervasive and unrecognized;
  • Building the political will to address racial inequities in America;
  • Working with the public, private and voluntary sector to identify and disseminate feasible and optimal strategies to dismantle institutional racism; and
  • Developing and sustaining structures that will identify, nurture, and mentor the next generation of leaders to sustain an agenda focused on truth, racial reconciliation and transformation.

David R. Williams is a Professor of Public Health, African and African American Studies and Sociology at Harvard University.

His talk and the hatred that fueled the violence in Charlottesville reinforce that there is so much work to be done and amplify the important role the philanthropic sector can play. Here are just a few of the resources that can inform and guide philanthropy’s work:

Responsive Philanthropy in Black Communities Framework (RPBC) created by the Association of Black Foundation Executives, which builds upon grantmaking with a racial equity lens and tailored specifically to grantmaking in and for Black communities.

Ten Ways to Fight Hate: A Community Response Guide from the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s work around Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation.

The June 2017 webinar from the Association of Black Foundation Executives on The Color of Philanthropy: Southern Leaders, National Potential.

The equity assessment quiz created by CHANGE Philanthropy with questions from the D5 Coalition and the Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity.

The 2017 report from Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees about Supporting Immigrants and Refugees in Volatile Times: What Philanthropy Can Do.

On a related note, one of Ohio’s champions for diversity, equity and inclusion retired last week: Sister Sally Duffy, former head of the SC Ministry Foundation headquartered in Cincinnati. Hundreds of people attended her reception last week to recognize and honor her work, including elected officials, colleagues and nonprofit leaders. She was a tireless advocate and while I will miss her participation in our efforts, I know she will continue her social justice work in her retirement.

Claudia Y.W. Herrold

August 21, 2017 at 4:09 pm Leave a comment

Year of awareness

2016-treye-johnson-blog-photoThis week we welcome Treye Johnson, program officer at the Burton D. Morgan Foundation, as guest blogger.

In the summer 2016 edition of Philanthropy Review, I wrote an article about a racial equity training session Burton D. Morgan Foundation co-sponsored. The article highlighted a few points from the training, which presented an abundance of statistical data to demonstrate the widespread nature of racial inequality in the United States. Since then, Northeast Ohio leaders have continued to explore the topic in conjunction with the Racial Equity Institute (REI). More trainings have been hosted and discussions held about how we might begin moving forward collectively.

Deciding on next steps proved to be challenging as each person had a different opinion on what to do. Additionally, the organizations they represented each had their own goals and motivations, connected back to their missions. The recommendation from REI was to continue building awareness within our community. While introducing nearly 500 Northeast Ohio leaders to REI’s trainings during 2016 was a noteworthy accomplishment, the number still needs to grow significantly before we will be able to meaningfully address racial equity in our region.

reilogoAs a result, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress (CNP) will be coordinating monthly REI training sessions throughout 2017 in Cleveland, meant to increase our shared understanding of racial inequality, foster productive dialogue among community stakeholders and civic leaders and determine strategies. In addition to the REI sessions, the awareness building will include efforts to compile and present local data related to racial inequality. Lastly, individuals and organizations will be encouraged to host their own equity-focused activities for our community.  Events such as movie screenings, book clubs and discussion groups are easy yet much needed ways to further the discussion about racial inequality. This issue is too complex and entrenched to be solved by any singular method. It will take a truly multi-faceted, cross-sectoral collaboration – in which everyone takes some ownership – to create real change.

CNP hopes to raise enough funding that the trainings can be provided at no cost. In the meantime, individuals and/or organizations can pay on a per capita basis to participate in the training sessions. For more information about the 2017 training dates or to support this effort, please visit

Treye Johnsonrei-training-sessions

January 17, 2017 at 4:10 pm Leave a comment

Understanding and responding to the needs of Ohio’s local LGBTQ communities post-Orlando

This week’s column is excerpted from a briefing paper written by Kristi Andrasik (program officer at the Cleveland Foundation) and Brian Schultz (community outreach manager at Foundation Center Midwest).

orlando graphic shapeEarly this summer, LGBTQ communities across the nation were painfully reminded of the many challenges that remain. On June 12, Pulse, an LGBTQ nightclub, was attacked on Latin night during Pride Month. The massacre claimed 49 lives and wounded 53 others, nearly all of them LGBTQ and Latinx young adults. Many in the philanthropic sector have sought information about opportunities to support Orlando. The national philanthropy affinity group, Funders for LGBTQ Issues, released both a statement and resource guide with recommendations for grantmakers interested in supporting the Orlando community. A number of funders across the country have since directed funds to Orlando, launched community fundraising efforts and made statements in support of the Orlando LGBTQ community and LGBTQ people generally.

In March of this year, Funders for LGBTQ Issues announced a new targeted, place-based effort to increase the dialogue about foundation funding for LGBTQ people living in Ohio, naming Kristi Andrasik of the Cleveland Foundation and Brian Schultz of Foundation Center Midwest as the inaugural Ohio LGBTQ Funding Ambassadors.

Kristi and brian posing

Kristi Andrasik, LISW-S, Program Officer for Cleveland Foundation and Brian Schultz, Community Outreach Manager for Foundation Center Midwest are the inaugural Ohio LGBTQ Funding Ambassadors.

Less than three months into our new role as Ohio LGBTQ Funding Ambassadors, we found ourselves working to maintain focus on the needs of Ohio’s LGBTQ community while grappling to comprehend the horrific crime committed against our community in Orlando. Since June 12, we have been in communication with LGBTQ colleagues, LGBTQ-serving organizations, and local funders to understand the impact of Orlando and offer support; yet we know there are still many with whom we have not yet connected, and many who may not yet know that we exist as a local resource.

After convening Northeast Ohio LGBTQ nonprofit leaders to gain a deeper insight into the local impact of Orlando, the issues most important for local funders to be aware of, and the opportunities for local funders to respond, we have compiled a briefing for Ohio’s philanthropic community, which is available on Philanthropy Ohio’s website.

The briefing paper discusses how Orlando has impacted LGBTQ Ohioans and LGBTQ organizations as well as suggesting ways that funders can support their local communities.

To learn more, read the briefing and reach out to Kristi or Brian.

Kristi Andrasik, LISW-S
Program Officer, The Cleveland Foundation
Ohio LGBTQ Funding Ambassador

Brian Schultz
Community Outreach Manager, Foundation Center Midwest
Ohio LGBTQ Funding Ambassador
216.861.1933  x326

August 15, 2016 at 3:38 pm Leave a comment

2015 Award Honorees Announced

headshot of claudiaLast week at Philanthropy Forward ’15 in Cincinnati, we celebrated philanthropy and presented three awards to individuals who are advancing the field and doing some really great things. The annual Philanthropy Awards this year honored a lifetime achievement honoree, an emerging philanthropist and an honoree who celebrates and is dedicated to improving diversity, equity and inclusion.

Philanthropy Ohio congratulates these individuals and we’re delighted to celebrate their accomplishments!

headshot gordon

Gordon B. Wean, Raymond John Wean Foundation chair and Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley board member

Ohio Philanthropy Award

Gordon B. Wean,
chair of the Raymond John Wean Foundation and board member of the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley, has won the 2015 Ohio Philanthropy Award. “Gordon realized early on that grantmaking in the Mahoning Valley had to change in order to be effective and meaningful. His vision transformed the Wean Foundation from one that supported the family’s personal interests to one that now provides benefits to a diverse array of nonprofit organizations and has become a leading force in the Mahoning Valley for building community and facilitating change,” said his nominator.

gordon poses with melissa and glass awardIn his role as board member of the local community foundation, Gordon was instrumental in transitioning the foundation from one focused on attracting funds to one focused on strategic philanthropy and community impact, says Shari Harrell, president of the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley (CFMV). “He led CFMV’s strategic planning process in 2011 and continually brings new ideas and energies to committees and the board,” she noted.

Gordon also served on the Philanthropy Ohio board for nine years, which he chaired in 2012 and 2013. While chair, he led the organization through a strategic planning process that resulted in new membership categories and a name change.

photo of kristi

Kristi Andrasik, program officer at The Cleveland Foundation

Michael G. Shinn Award for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Philanthropy
Kristi Andrasik,
program officer at The Cleveland Foundation, is the first recipient of the newly-established Michael G. Shinn Award for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Philanthropy. The Philanthropy Ohio Board of Trustees created the award to honor Shinn, who died earlier this year. He chaired the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, taking on primary responsibility for guiding the organization’s work in this arena.

kristi, suzanne and Mrs. Shinn pose with glass awardsCleveland-area colleagues who nominated Kristi wrote of her professional and personal commitment to making philanthropy more inclusive and equitable. Since joining the foundation three years ago, Kristi has focused on helping the Cleveland LGBT community mobilize resources and strengthen community infrastructures to prepare for the 2014 Gay Games and improve the well-being of Greater Cleveland’s LGBT residents.

One of her nominators described her impact, saying that she “helped frame Gay Games 2014 as more than just a game but as a movement – one that ushered in a greater level of awareness and acceptance of LGBT issues. In every exchange, Kristi is always mindful of the implications of the work in terms of diversity, equity and inclusion outcomes.” Another peer remarked that “Kristi has made it her mission to strive for equity, which I believe to be a daunting task. I have witnessed Kristi build bridges between philanthropy and non-profit organizations to be inclusive and dedicated to diversity.”

photo of connor

Connor Reed Thomas, sophomore at Goshen High School

Emerging Philanthropist Award
High school sophomore Connor Reed Thomas is this year’s Emerging Philanthropist Award honoree. Connor attends Goshen High School in Loveland, Ohio, where he serves as class president, holds a 4.3 grade point average and is a star athlete in football and track and field. Outside of school, his philanthropic passion is in raising funds to support veterans and the military, most recently organizing a 5K run that raised $10,000 for homeless veterans suffering from addiction. He is also active in programs that send care packages to troops and runs a website devoted to military heroes.

connor poses with glass awardThe Philanthropy Ohio award is just the latest in a long list of awards and citations Connor has garnered so far for his volunteer efforts. The Army Chief of Staff, Governor Kasich and Cincinnati’s Mayor Granley are but a few of those who have recognized him for dedication and accomplishments.

Congratulations to all three recipients for their outstanding contributions to their communities!

claudia signature

Claudia Y.W. Herrold

September 21, 2015 at 4:22 pm 1 comment

Diversity Explosion

headshot of claudiaWhen Philanthropy Ohio adopted Diversity Principles and created a board-level Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee, it signaled its strong intent to help Ohio funders understand the importance of paying attention to diversity defined very broadly. We created a CEO Leadership Circle where foundation leaders learned from each other about the practices and policies that could diversify their staff and boards, grantees and vendors. We were also a founding member of D5, a national project that engages philanthropic organizations in work to grow their diversity, equity and inclusion. D5 has extensive resources on its site, from reports on the diversity of the philanthropic sector to research and tools to advance DEI.

As part of our ongoing work, we invited Robert Jaquay, associate director at The George Gund Foundation, to review Diversity Explosion: How New Racial Demographics Are Remaking America by William H. Frey. The book explains the coming racial diversity in Ohio and the nation, important information that Bob summarizes in this review.

Diversity Explosion bookFast-paced demographic change will dramatically alter American life, according to Diversity Explosion, a new book by widely-respected demographer William Frey. By 2040 – possibly sooner – no racial group will constitute a majority in the U.S. Further, as multiracial marriages become far more commonplace, a significant portion of the American populace will no longer identify with any specific racial group.

William Frey, a University of Michigan Professor and Fellow at the Brookings Institution, recognizes that the massive Baby Boom generation (born between 1946 and 1964) has exerted political and economic clout to shape America in fundamental ways: the evolving role of women and increased suburbanization are but two powerful examples. Yet, due to low immigration, reduced fertility and aging among the predominantly white Boomers, Frey projects that America’s white population will begin to decline in the next 10 years.

Conversely, within the cohort of newborn Americans, 2011 was a very significant year in that for the first time in the history of the country, more minority babies were born than white babies. This is a trend that William Frey sees accelerating in the years to come. Indeed, over the next 40 years, Hispanics, Asians and multi-racial populations in the U.S. are each projected to more than double. As this newest cohort forms and ages, increased racial diversity now noticeable in maternity wards will become apparent in American schools. In turn, the workplace, consumer markets, media, politics and every other aspect of American life will be increasingly diverse.

Robert Jaquay, associate director at The George Gund Foundation

Robert Jaquay, associate director at The George Gund Foundation

Dr. Frey also projects that diversity will spread geographically across the country. He notes that in 1990 only five of the 100 largest metropolitan areas were minority white, all in the south and southwest. By the 2010 census, there were 22. The next census will likely document a continuation of the diversity spread, increasingly toward the north and east.

Numerous references to specific racial group demographic shifts occurring in Columbus and Cleveland appear in the book in context of discussing national trends. Additionally, our state and its counties are depicted in the dozens of maps and charts spread throughout the book. Nonetheless, how the Diversity Explosion will play out in Ohio in the years to come is not entirely clear.

Obviously, Dr. Frey’s book is focused upon race. It is important to note that other characteristics and classes such as gender identity/expression, disability, sexual orientation and veteran status are not the focus of Diversity Explosion.

Nevertheless, despite these limitations, those engaged in Philanthropy Ohio’s vital discussion on diversity, equity and inclusion will find Diversity Explosion to be essential reading. This book prompts necessary questions to constructive discourse in Ohio. Such questions include:

  • Is our definition of diversity sufficiently expansive?
  • In discussing inclusion, are we considering community demographics with a sufficiently long-range view of, say 10, or even 25 years?
  • How do urban neighborhoods, suburbs and rural communities of Ohio properly fit in the conversation?
  • How can we build neighborhoods that allow for real interaction among people of differing age, race and class?

Good ideas in the making

Diversity Explosion also seems to match the spirit of Philanthropy Ohio’s discernment on questions of race and class that are so important to our institutions and the Ohio communities we serve. William Frey writes so that his readers can “appreciate the sheer magnitude of change being wrought by America’s new racial minorities and be prepared to embrace it.”

Happy reading,

claudia signature

Claudia Y.W. Herrold

July 14, 2015 at 2:43 pm Leave a comment

Who will you nominate?

headshot of claudiaWe’re accepting nominations for our annual awards recognizing phenomenal Ohio philanthropists, including a new one created this year to recognize a board member who passed away in March.

mike shinn headshot

Mr. Michael G. Shinn

We are very excited about this new award, The Michael G. Shinn Award for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Philanthropy, which honors Mr. Shinn’s dedication to this important work in modern-day America. The award will recognize an individual who has demonstrated a significant commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in his/her philanthropic practice in Ohio.

Mr. Shinn was the founder of the Shinn Family Foundation and served as secretary of Philanthropy Ohio’s Board of Trustees until his death in March 2015. He chaired our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, taking on primary responsibility for guiding Philanthropy Ohio’s efforts in that arena. The Philanthropy Ohio Board of Trustees created the award to honor his memory and will present it for the first time this year.

Denise San Antonio Zeman won the Ohio Philanthropy Award in 2014. She is the retired president/CEO of Saint  Luke's Foundation.

Denise San Antonio Zeman won the Ohio Philanthropy Award in 2014. She is the retired president/CEO of Saint Luke’s Foundation.

We are also accepting nominations for three other awards. First is the Ohio Philanthropy Award, which honors an organization or individual who has made outstanding contributions to philanthropy by demonstrating long-standing leadership in advancing philanthropy, creativity in responding to societal problems or a significant positive impact on philanthropy.

Shiloh Turner won the Innovation Award in 2014. She is The Greater Cincinnati Foundation vice president of community investment.

Shiloh Turner won the Innovation Award in 2014. She is The Greater Cincinnati Foundation vice president of community investment.

The Philanthropy Innovation Award recognizes someone who has moved Ohio philanthropy forward through an innovation or implemented an idea that led to positive change in how the philanthropic sector operates, thinks or impacts communities. The Emerging Philanthropist Award celebrates someone who – regardless of age – has engaged in philanthropy for the first time during the last few years, either in a career path or as a private individual, and shows amazing potential.

Andrea Timan won the Emerging Philanthropist  Award in 2014. She serves on United Way of Greater Cleveland’s Young Leaders Cabinet.

Andrea Timan won the Emerging Philanthropist
Award in 2014. She serves on United Way of Greater Cleveland’s Young Leaders Cabinet.

Nominations close August 3 so that the Board of Trustees can make selections in time for the award ceremonies scheduled for September 16 – 18 in Cincinnati during our Philanthropy Forward ’15 conference.

Check out the criteria and submission rules and decide who you’ll nominate.

Call us at 614.224.1344 if you have questions and stay tuned for announcements about the winners!

claudia signature

Claudia Y.W. Herrold

June 2, 2015 at 4:28 pm Leave a comment

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