A Renewed Commitment to Racial Equity
Today’s racism is hard for many of us to see. It runs deep, intricately woven into the backbone of our everyday lives. It affects our children in school, colleagues at work and the way we interact — or don’t — with our neighbors.
The board and staff of The Saint Paul Foundation and Minnesota Community Foundation, affiliates of Minnesota Philanthropy Partners, believe that one of our most pressing issues and significant opportunities to make a difference is to face the issue of racism.
We are renewing our commitment to fostering racial equity. Facing race is not new work to us. What is fresh is our approach, which we share here with you. See how our new racial equity framework deepens our commitment to this work and infuses racial equity in all of our roles as community foundations.
Our racial equity framework
In all of our roles, leadership influences how we do our work. We will be bold in our renewed commitment to racial equity. The board of directors, CEO and senior staff of The Saint Paul Foundation and Minnesota Community Foundation will be active and visible in our efforts to promote racial equity. Our goals will be ambitious and our passions fully engaged. We will share our progress and our power, our successes and our stumbles — and we invite the community to hold us accountable.
We commit to building a racially equitable community. We want our actions to be as strong as our words. There will be moments for us to influence action, and instances when we serve best by yielding to others. We will commit resources to deepen our relationships in communities of color across the state and continually model the culture of a racially just organization.
We commit to creating economic opportunities for racially diverse communities. Through the individuals we employ and service providers we engage, we have an impact on the local economy. From our vendor contracts to investment choices to the places we do business, we will adopt policies that assertively align with our commitment to racial equity.
We commit to racially equitable funding strategies. What we fund matters. Across all of our grantmaking activities, we will apply a racial equity perspective. We will ask communities of color to join us at the table as peers. Together, we will make decisions about how we design our programs, set guidelines, measure our progress and share our funding decisions with the community.
We commit to employing a racially diverse workforce. Who we are as an organization and what we believe matters in how we serve the community. From the composition of our board to our staff to our grantmaking, we will invest in efforts that attract, retain and grow racially diverse talent — for our Foundations and throughout Minnesota. A racially diverse workforce prepares all of us for new and changing cultural contexts — and ensures that our words match our actions.
We commit to increasing racially equitable philanthropy in Minnesota. Philanthropy is more than sharing wealth for good. It is a way to shape the vision of a community. We have more opportunity than ever to influence and expand Minnesota philanthropy to include more communities of color and help advance their interests and passions.
Our tradition of racial equity
Racial equity has been a longstanding value of The Saint Paul Foundation and Minnesota Community Foundation and many other MN Partners affiliates. Throughout our histories, we have strived to create a racially equitable Minnesota.
We have done this work through our grantmaking and by offering Diversity Endowment Funds to build resources for communities of color. Most recently, we led this work through a community program called Facing Race We’re All in This Together®. Our goal was to create an anti-racist community in which everyone feels safe, valued and respected. We designed tools to help individuals talk about and face the issue of racism together.
Since 2004, we facilitated thousands of conversations through the Facing Race community program and created a signature awards event — the annual Facing Race Ambassador Awards. The Ambassador Awards are an opportunity to lift up and celebrate individuals who are working to eliminate racism in their communities.
We also knew that this work would not be enough — and that eliminating racism would not be achieved in the lifespan of a foundation initiative. We commissioned a diverse community task force to inform and guide us in our racial equity work going forward. Their work culminated in the racial equity framework that our board of directors unanimously approved in October 2013.
Our new framework is a holistic, deep approach to achieving racial equity. It honors and builds on the work we have done to date and pushes us forward to support racial equity efforts in new ways and with fresh energy and perspectives.