The goal of the Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity (PRE) is to increase the amount and effectiveness of resources aimed at combating institutional and structural racism in communities through capacity building, education, and convening of grantmakers and grantseekers.

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PRE Publications

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November 12-15, 2015 New Orleans, LA
WDN Connect 2015

Saturday, November 14, 2015, 9:00am - 9:45am
Renowned feminist thinker and leader Professor Kimberle Crenshaw, who coined the term intersectionality, will join us to discuss the origins and meaning of this important concept. She will also help frame a series of discussions about how we, as a network of progressive women donors, can incorporate an intersectional lens into our grantmaking.

9:45am - 11:30am
In this interactive session, we'll break into groups to delve into what an intersectional approach means for our grantmaking. We'll share our findings and action steps as a group.
Facilitated by Lori Villarosa.

Sustaining Racial Justice Action in Philanthropy: Ferguson & Beyond

Many of us have watched or perhaps even marched, as community members mobilize to keep the nation's attention on the racial injustice so evident in the recent tragic police killings of unarmed Black men and boys, with outrage then exacerbated by the failures to indict the police responsible for the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.

As change agents within philanthropy, as we witness local, national and global action in response to the repeated travesty of justice and societal failure, how do we work to support the current movement and continue to build toward deeper transformational change? How do we sustain attention and build within philanthropy as well? And importantly, how do we fight the tendency of the urgent need to respond that leads to overly simplistic responses?

At PRE, we have been long been focusing on the question of what it takes to strengthen the support needed to combat structural racism, and in the past year have particularly sought to cull lessons from past racialized flashpoints as we work with funders and the field to advance deep transformation. To see some of our recommendations based on a meeting we convened with activists and funders, and others across the country in these past months, as well as other resources from PRE and partners please go here.


October 27- 29, 2015 Los Angeles, California
PolicyLink: Equity Summit 2015

Tuesday, October 27, 2015, 1:00pm - 4:00pm
Convergence Equity Forum: Racial Equity Grantmaking Workshop

Lori Villarosa will lead this workshop on grantmaking to advance racial equity--from problem definition and strategy development to identification of grantees and beneficiaries and grant oversight and administration. This thought-provoking session will allow participants to reflect on progress that has been made, acknowledge missed opportunities, and push us in new ways to step boldly forward!

Thursday, October 15, 2015 San Francisco, CA
Advancing Racial Equity and Transforming Government: A Learning Session for Funders

9:00am - 11:30am

This funder meeting is open to grantmakers who recognize the leveraging role that government can play in achieving racial equity in cities and regions and who are interested in connecting with other place-based funders and learning more about Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE), as well as other opportunities to partner to advance racial justice policy and resources.

We will:
-Introduce GARE's approach of normalizing racial equity as a key value, operationalizing racial equity via new policies and institutional practice, and organizing - both internally and in partnership with other institutions and the community.
-Share examples of successful implementation of models that advance racial equity and transform government. Having elected leaders who prioritize racial equity is critical, but an equally pressing question is the role of front line staff and managers who work across the breadth (all functions) and depth (not just people in positions of power, but all staff across departments).
-Strategize with you about immediate practical ways funders can engage with government, including innovative funding strategies targeted at eliminating structural racism, and opportunities to work in partnerships with government and the community at the regional level.

Meeting Follow-up Resource page

Speakers & Presenters:
Glenn Harris, president of Center for Social Inclusion
Julie Nelson, director of Government Alliance on Race and Equity
Maria Poblet, executive director of Causa Justa::Just Cause
john powell, director of Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society
Lori Villarosa, PRE

September 28, 2015 Baltimore, MD
Maryland Reinvestment Summit

Monday, September 28, 2015, 10:00am - 11:30am

Funding Streams That Strengthen Neighborhoods
Due to Baltimore City and the state of Maryland's increased visibility on the national stage, equitable funding streams can be more plentiful for addressing a range of concerns related to economic mobility. In order to address inequities in housing, jobs, and schools funds must be distributed in a more holistic manner that takes into account supporting a broader range of organizations and improving protocols around funding. This workshop will focus on the role of foundations, banks, and city governments in creating funding streams that tackle the decades of disinvestment in low- and moderate-income communities and communities of color.

Session Speakers:
A. Adar Ayira, Associated Black Charities, Moderator
Jeff Cherry, Conscious Venture Lab
Michael Scott, Equity Matters
Rick Cohen, Nonprofit Quarterly
Lori Villarosa, PRE

September 16-17, 2015 Cincinnati, OH
Philanthropy Forward '15

Thursday, September 17, 2015, 4:00pm - 5:15pm

A Funder's Guide to Racial Justice Grantmaking
How can funders most effectively address racial equity, racial justice in BOTH rapid response and longer-term transformational ways? How can foundations work most effectively in efforts to achieve equity in their grantmaking? Explore challenges and opportunities as you learn about promising practices and tools to deepen discourse and strategies within your institution and community. Join us for this interactive learning session - come with your current experiences or questions as we share and strateqize about the critical moment so many of our communities are facing.

Session Presenters:
Lori Villarosa, PRE
Mary Sobecki, The Needmor Fund

July 14-15, 2015 New York, NY
The International Human Rights Funders Group (IHRFG)'s 2015 New York Conference

Tuesday, July 14, 2015, 1:30pm - 3:00pm

Tools for Racial Justice Mobilization and Solidarity
This session will explore tools funders can use to catalyze a deeper global racial justice movement, including the UN International Decade for People of African Descent. The panel will examine ways that American, European, Caribbean, and South American Black organizations are mobilizing. Funders will explore opportunities, share ways they are engaging both directly for the importance of addressing anti-Black racism globally, but also as an important gateway of understanding and tackling related structural racism. The session will also provide some opportunity to contrast the human rights-based approach and its effectiveness or not, resonance or lack of with racial justice and how greater bridges can be built domestically and globally.

Session Presenters:
Lori Villarosa, PRE, Facilitator
Ejim Dike, US Human Rights Network
Nicole Lee, Lee Bayard Group LLC
Ana Valeria Araujo, Brazil Human Rights Fund

July 8-10, 2015 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
International Convening: Network of Independent Funds for Social Justice

Friday, July 10, 2015, 10:00am - 12:30pm

An Interactive discussion on "Social Justice Philanthropy: Innovations and Transformations"
Session Presenters:
Ana Toni, Gip (Gestao de Interesse Publico), Facilitator
Lori Villarosa, PRE
Chris Harris, Philanthropy for Social Justice and Peace
Ana Valeria Araujo, Fundo Brasil de Direitos Humanos
Amalia Fischer, Fundo Elas
Nilcea Freire, Fundacao Ford
Andre Degenszajn, Gife
Rui Mesquita, Fundacao Kellogg

A Grantmakers in the Arts Racial Equity Forum:Supporting African, Latino(a), Asian, Arab and Native American (ALAANA) Organizations

Tuesday June 2, 2015 Atlanta, GA

Grantmakers in the Arts (GIA) hosts a national dialogue for arts funders on June 2, 2015 on increasing funding and access to funding for African, Latino(a), Asian, Arab and Native American (ALAANA) organizations.

An Introduction to Understanding the Structural Racism Framework

Lori Villarosa, executive director of Philanthropic Initiative on Racial Equity, will present An Introduction to Understanding the Structural Racism Framework, which will outline components of institutional racism that influence our daily lives and affect our grantmaking choices.

April 30, 2015 New Haven, Connecticut
Philanthropy's Role in Empowering Change: Connecticut Council for Philanthropy's Annual Meeting and Philanthropy Awards

Thursday, April 30, 2015, 2:00pm - 3:30pm
The Essential Place of Equity in Philanthropy

Many in philanthropy are recognizing the need to include an equity lens in their efforts to help grantees create positive change in communities. But what does this mean and what does it look like? This interactive session will provide ideas and tools for funders who are navigating the complex and interrelated challenges of racial and economic equity in their grantmaking.

Session Presenters:
Lori Villarosa, Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity
Carolyne Abdullah, Director of Community Assistance, Everyday Democracy
Valeriano Ramos, Director of Strategic Alliances, Everyday Democracy

April 23 - 25, 2015 Napa Valley, California
Empower Philanthropy! ABFE 2015 National Conference

Friday, April 24, 2015, 2:00pm - 5:00pm
Black Organizing for Racial Justice: Change for All Our Communities

There has been a greater awareness of the importance of Black organizing for transformational racial justice change for all of our communities, but what supports are needed to strengthen and maintain this work? What infrastructure does it take to truly build and sustain Black political power and how can funders meet these challenges at local and national levels?

Professional Development Institute Resource Team:
Lori Villarosa, Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity
Erin Dale Byrd, Blueprint North Carolina
William Copeland, East Michigan Environmental Action Council
Ditra Edwards, The Praxis Project
NTanya Lee, Movement Building Consultant
Denise Perry, Black Organizing for Leadership & Dignity (BOLD)

January 15, 2015 Boston, Massachusetts (closed meeting)
Social Justice Funders Network (SJFN) Retreat

Lori Villarosa will present at SJFN retreat, focusing on:

-Racial justice funding nationally, including challenges and opportunities for funders to deepen their partnerships and impacts with communities of color toward more just outcomes for all;

-Grantmaking that addresses structural racism/racialization: What key components must be in place? (including clear racial analysis, power-building, multi-institutional/multi-sector, etc); and

-Potential foundation/community barriers that may exist toward effectively supporting these, using various examples from other cities or states, including Seattle, Detroit, CA, OR, NC & some funding networks/initiatives.

SJFN is a shared learning, shared practice safe space for individuals who work in philanthropy to support each other regardless of family, community, individual donors who identify as "social justice" funders.

November 13-15, 2014 Dallas, Texas
Facing Race 2014 a National Conference

Friday, November 14, 2014, 11:00am - 12:30pm
Moving Foundations Toward Racial Justice Grantmaking

Join us to discuss case studies conducted by PRE on The California Endowment, Woods Fund of Chicago and Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation - each of which has been on a trajectory to move toward greater grantmaking aimed at combatting structural racism to achieve racial justice. The foundations operate at different levels (local, statewide and national) and are at different stages of their evolution. This session will share stories from various vantage points of trustees, staff and grantees - and importantly, will lift up lessons and opportunities where activists were able to engage and influence the institutional change processes to move funding toward racial justice.

Lori Villarosa, Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity; David L. Neal, Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation; Caronina Grimble, Woods Fund of Chicago; Sandra Witt, The California Endowment

October 29-30, 2014 Minneapolis, Minnesota (closed meeting)

2014 Convergence Leadership Institute

Get on Board: Engaging Philanthropic Leadership & Trustees to Support Equity & Advocacy
Establishing a funding portfolio to support equity-focused policy advocacy and build advocacy skills of community residents may be unfamiliar territory for trustees and senior foundation leadership. These investment strategies yield outcomes over a longer timeframe and may not seem as tangible to leaders more familiar with funding service delivery programs. This session will give participants an opportunity to consider how to approach trustees and senior leadership to build stronger organizational commitments to investing in advocacy and equity.

Jennifer Martin, The Seattle Foundation; Lori Villarosa, Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity; Leslie Mikkelsen, Prevention Institute

All-Group Coaching Session & Panel Discussion: Grantmaking with a Racial Equity Lens
Deepening racial and economic inequities coupled with our nation's rapidly changing demographics require greater intentionality to the types and approaches by which philanthropy does its grantmaking. Racial equity can provide a powerful "lens" by problems are understood and strategies are shaped, from what is funded and who is funded to when and how grants are made.

Lori Villarosa, Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity; Chris Kabel, Kresge Foundation; Jasmine Hall-Ratliff, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

For full details on all events, visit our news page.

Remembering Former PRE Board Member and Civil Rights Champion,
Jaqueline A. Berrien

Nov. 28, 1961 - Nov. 9, 2015

The staff and board of the Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity join many others in mourning the far too sudden loss of our friend and former board member, Jaqueline Berrien, who passed away on November 9th after a brief battle with cancer. Jackie had been a close friend and ally of PRE and partner to many of us through various stages of her career as civil rights advocate, then as a program officer at the Ford Foundation, and officially joining our board after she left Ford and rejoined the NAACPF-LDF as Associate Director-Counsel in 2005. She was a valued, generous, wise and humble board member during such a critical phase of PRE's work from 2005 to 2010, when she needed to step down as she was being vetted for the role of Chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Jackie brought such a wealth of insights from her mixed vantage point as a grantseeker and funder, as a leader across decades within civil rights work, but also mindful of how important it was for funders in other arenas to understand the racial equity implications of their grantmaking, regardless of their issue area.

All of us send our deepest condolences to Jackie's beloved husband and partner in all things, Peter Williams, executive vice president for programs for the NAACP, along with her brother, Clifford Berrien and the rest of her family and many close friends.


PRE's Advisory Board and Staff are excited to announce the publication of Critical Issues Forum, Volume 5: Moving Forward on Racial Justice Philanthropy

"Have you seen any progress?" If you work in any social change arena long enough you are bound to be asked this question many times. We ask it of ourselves, and it is asked by our funders or boards or others.

As the Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity celebrated our 10th anniversary last year and engaged allies within the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors to mark the occasion with us, we heard this question repeatedly and knew it was important to take stock of what many of us have been collectively aiming to move for decades.

As with most social justice work, the reality of moving a racial justice approach within philanthropy has been a mix of progress and setbacks. It is important to examine where has there been more or less progress, what has contributed to it and what may have diverted us. And even more critically, we must clarify where we need to go next, ideally building on lessons of the past.

Grantmaking with a structural racialization lens is complex and evolving. Within this volume, we address the concept, the dynamics of structural interventions, the challenges of measurement and the lessons that some funders and activists have gleaned.

The past year, through focus groups, webinars and direct interviews, our team has sought to get a strong sense of both funders' and activists' perspectives on progress particularly over the past two decades. We have heard real frustration, especially as the needs are so critical and the level of urgency among activists and communities is so high. However, in spite of these very real concerns, we have also seen clear commitment and depth of understanding in other quarters. We are pleased that through funder case studies and activist essays about structural racism analysis, intersectionality and media justice, we're able to share real progress, even as each piece recognizes there is still much more to be done.

As with each volume of PRE's Critical Issues Forum, we offer these articles with the hope of sparking deeper discourse and greater learning in the field. Even more so than in the past, we hope that publishing the volume online creates a shared space for others to weigh in. We invite you to join in the dialogue as we reflect and continue building on the work of so many before us, and create new bridges for the many who are taking up this work now and after us.

Please contact us at if you would like to order a hard copy, or download individual articles for free here. We encourage you to share all or the most relevant parts with your colleagues and other networks.