Many people like to discuss the real meaning of the word equity. It can be used as a noun, as part of philanthropy as well as an investment term. It can also be used as a legal term or a way to describe the shares of stock issued from a company. Some people hear the word equity and believe it defines equal outcomes no matter class, gender, race, ability, etc. It also has many more meanings. It can be a struggle for many people to understand all of its definitions.
A funder is a person or organization that provides money to others for a specific reason. There are reasons why funders need to speak on the subject of equity.
*It is possible if funders are not careful, they may end up serving the problem of inequity rather than making important changes within a community. The type of changes that are being created by nonprofits.
*Philanthropic institutions have resources and power. These are two tools that can be used to reverse systems that promote inequity.
*Intention does not equal impact. The best intentions have not been successful. The implicit bias remains a reality for all people including funders.
*Philanthropy may not exist if there was no such thing as systemic financial inequity. Even when funders do their jobs correctly, the problems that exist in many communities may not be eradicated.
*Funders are not usually able to be representative of all the individuals who experience poverty.
*Philanthropy has a responsibility to nonprofits and the public. If there is a lack of accountability from funders to communities affected by systemic inequity, it could do more harm to a community than good.
Many movements have grown over the years in their intersectionality as well as sophistication. They can now embrace many nonprofits as well as organizers who actively contribute to the success being experienced around the country. There are many funders and philanthropic infrastructure organizations that have embraced the principle and language of racial equity. This has resulted in them changing things in a positive way.
It is now important to engage communities and find ways to speak with the staff and boards of foundations. Learning from peers as well as providing support is essential when dealing with the challenges that lie ahead. Quite a bit of work remains to address all the inequities that still exist. They continue to be addressed by all people who are trying to do the right thing in a world that is constantly changing.