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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Monday, June 6, 2016; 9:00am to 12:00pm - Washington, DC
Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers (WRAG)
presents (open to WRAG Members only):

From Learning to Action: Grantmaking with a Racial Equity Lens (Training)

Building on lessons from PRE's guide to Grantmaking with a Racial Equity Lens, created in partnership with GrantCraft, this training session will provide useful skills and practical tools for foundation and corporate giving CEOs, staff, and trustees to be better able to "see patterns, separate symptoms from causes, and identify new solutions for their communities or fields." Importantly, it will strengthen the ability to apply a racial equity lens to your giving regardless of your funding priorities.
This highly interactive training will allow funders to explore how to overcome existing challenges and begin institutionalizing the practices needed to address structural racialization, implicit bias, white privilege, and more.
Lori Villarosa, PRE
Maggie Potapchuk, MP Associates

Thursday, June 2, 2016; 9:00am to 12:00pm - Philadelphia, PA
Philanthropy Network, Greater Philadelphia
presents (open to Members only; Registration is currently at capacity):

Tackling Implicit Bias and Grantmaking with a Racial Equity Lens

We are in a moment where the nation's racial discourse is more complex and ever-present than most have experienced before, whether with the strongly affirmative Black Lives Matters movement, Dreamers movement or other waves of direct challenges to institutional and structural racism - or negatively, with the rise of overtly racist messages in a troubling campaign season. Yet while so pervasive, for some it may feel even more challenging to effectively navigate and directly engage issues of race and racism. For others, increased volatility can lead to greater racial anxiety and avoidance.
Many funders recognize the imperative of understanding how race impacts their strategies, their engagement with grantees and their communities, and are looking for guidance in how to engage in this work and how to do it well. This session will address:
-How foundations can most effectively incorporate a racial equity lens in their grantmaking
-How our implicit biases impact our decision making, and what steps can be taken to counter these biases individually and institutionally
Lori Villarosa, PRE
Alexis McGill Johnson, Perception Institute


April 7-9, 2016 - Baltimore, MD
Empower Philanthropy! ABFE 2016 Annual Conference

Friday, April 8, 2016, 2:00pm - 5:00pm
Black Organizing for Racial Justice: Intersection of Innovations for the 21st Century
As a society, we are in a moment of both greater possibility and greater need, as Black activism and Black organizing sees a critical resurgence -but is the philanthropic community equipped to respond in ways that will help build and sustain the needed capacity? This workshop will explore the intersections of infrastructure and the innovations of Black organizing to advance racial justice. The focus on the history and innovations of protest, leadership and governance, and their relationship to effective movements will be highlighted. This highly interactive workshop will engage national and local activists, along with funders, to address what support is needed to undergird a leaderful movement, a non-permitted pro-test movement and the new forms of organization. Building leadership and organization demands understanding of the layers of identity, generation, nation status, sexuality and gender. What do funders need to understand in this quickly evolving arena, and what skills do they need to effectively support infrastructure for today and tomorrow? What more do we need to know regarding the points of intersection? What becomes possible?
Lori Villarosa, PRE
Denise Perry, Black Organizing for Leadership & Dignity (BOLD)

Ralikh Hayes, Development Associate, Public Justice Center
Jonathan Stith, Founding Member and National Coordinator, Alliance for Educational Justice
Alexis Anderson-Reed, Senior Director of Programs, State Voices

March 11, 2016 - Sonoma, CA
PRE Latino Funders & Racial Justice Meeting
Following the 2016 HIP Leadership Convening, PRE will facilitate a discussion about the opportunities and challenges for advancing racial justice within philanthropy as Latino grantmakers in this moment of heightened attention, increased polarization and greater complexities across and within so many communities.

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.

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)

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


Facing Race 2016: A National Conference is presented by Race Forward: The Center for Racial Justice Innovation will be held in Atlanta, Georgia November 10-12, 2016. A unique collaborative space for racial justice movement making, Facing Race is the largest multiracial, inter-generational gathering for organizers, educators, creatives and other leaders. Register Here. PRE Advisory Board member Rinku Sen is Race Forward's Executive Director.

Video and transcript from the acceptance speech given by Marisa Franco at Creating Change 2016 in Chicago, IL for Leadership on Immigration with important reflections on what movements need now.
"The way I see it there are some differences of opinion around here about what this movement is gonna move going forward. And who moves a movement. I can tell you that more and more we will be asked a simple question: What side are you on? I hope that we don't look back at this moment and say we watched. I am not asking you to adopt my rage as your own. A strong movement holds multi-plicity, but it must always be rooted in justice. I am asking you to have our back, I am asking some of you to consider using your access to make room. This is not a time to turn down the volume, it's a time to tune in." - Marisa Franco, Director and Co- Creater Not1More Deportation Campaign; Mijente and PRE Advisory Board member.

Remembering Former PRE Board Members
Rick Cohen &
Jaqueline A. Berrien

Rick Cohen
Dec. 17, 1950 - Nov. 17, 2015

We at PRE are stunned and saddened by the sudden loss of Rick Cohen on November 17 at age 64. Rick has been a constant and crucial contributor to our work over the years - as a senior editor of our Critical Issues Forum volumes, a prolific writer, a former board member, a continual and frequent strategist with us on all levels, and most importantly, a consistent friend. There is no one in the nonprofit sector or philanthropic space who matches his unyielding demand for honesty, integrity and expectation that we all ask the hard questions of ourselves and each other to push for greater racial and social justice and accountability within our roles. Our community has gained so much from Rick through his years of meaningful community development and urban planning work in New Jersey and beyond, to his dogged, unapologetic leadership of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (where we first connected with him as kindred spirits pushing for progressive change and accountability), to his recent years as the most prolific and dependendably stringent, conscientiously rigorous watchdog of the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors as a reporter and editor at Nonprofit Quarterly.

Rick's role with PRE went so much further than titles of senior editor or writer could convey - he was a constant partner in our strategiziing and work at all levels and all of the contributors to our publications experienced the depth, wisdom, passion, insights and critical eye he brought to our work. The links below offer a glimpse of the valuable contributions he made to advancing questions the field of philanthropy should be asking itself about racial justice through his partnership with PRE in addition to his ongoing work at NPQ and elsewhere in these past 8 years.

The current and past board, staff and fellow consultants of PRE offer deep condolences to Rick's much-adored daughter Ellie, his partner, Ellen Giordano and her daughter Eve, and all of his family and other friends.

For those who would like to join in the celebration of Rick's life, please go to this link through Nonprofit Quarterly for an invitation, though with the incredible outpouring of appreciation and love we have seen, space may be limited so we would encourage you to reach out soon if you are able to join the gathering here in DC.

In Rick's words from our Critical Issues Forum (CIF) volumes in order from most recent:

-Critical Issues Forum Vol. 5. Moving Forward on Racial Justice Philanthropy, June 2014; Reflections from the Inside: Philanthropic Leaders on Racial Justice and Grantmaking and Data Snapshot on Racial Justice Grantmaking
-Critical Issues Forum Vol. 4. Mobilizing Community Power to Address Structural Racism, September 2012; Intersection of Community Organizing and Racial Justice Funding: Limited Data and Limited Dollars
-Critical Issues Forum Vol. 2 Whose Capacity Needs Building, June 2009; Putting the AB 624 Agreement into Practice and Policy
-Critical Issues Forum Vol. 1 Measuring What We Value, April 2008; Understanding AB 624


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 Civil Rights Champion, 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.


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.

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.