As a grantmaker, you already know the nuts and bolts of effecting long-lasting change. Whether you’re a government grantmaker, a CSR leader, or are managing grants for a large foundation, it’s likely you regularly seek to assess and expand this impact. A potentially overlooked area that can make a huge difference is prioritizing equity. If you’re thinking, “we already strive to be inclusive and representative among our advisors and applicant pool,” that’s a great start. But what if you could take that mission further and do even more good?
Following are three ways in which deepening your focus on equitable grantmaking can serve you as an organization as well as the communities you serve. Give them a read and then download our Equitable Grantmaking eGuide.
Equity amplifies impact. Focusing on equity as a keystone of your work will multiply your impact. Not only will it expand the scope of your reach, it will also begin to inspire your team to ask new questions about who you can serve, and how best to accomplish your goals. Instead of looking to who you have served in the past as the basis for upcoming projects, your previous population becomes a jumping off point for asking, “Who else?” This will shift the mindset of your team, so that they begin to look at projects with a more exacting focus on who may unintentionally be left out. This attention to expanding the pool of who you serve will automatically widen your sphere of influence.
Equity elevates the conversation. When you start considering how to include marginalized populations in your decision making and solution design, you change the conversation. Instead of the initiative working from the top-down, it becomes collaborative. This is true internally as well as externally. Team members are more likely to offer up their ideas when the atmosphere supports shared solution design. Likewise, external relationships are strengthened when you invite those who are impacted by your work to share their opinions. New ideas are brought to the table and inspiration for additional, or even improved, ways to serve begin to present themselves. When all affected parties are asked to share their voices, nuanced, insightful solutions become increasingly more attainable.
Equity leads to advocacy. Engaging all stakeholders and seeking input on program design and priorities from those you serve offers multiple advantages. Not only will you find new advocates for your work, you will also learn new ways to advocate for, and with, those you serve. By focusing on the specific things needed for each group to have access to resources that enhance their lives, you will strengthen the relationship between your foundation or agency and the communities in which you work.
The benefits of prioritizing equity are clear, but the work to get there can be complex. Achieving equity takes organization-wide commitment and a willingness to honestly assess the full-lifecycle of your grant process as well as internal and external relationship structures, among other factors. To help you get started and make both immediate and long-term gains, check out our Equitable Grantmaking eGuide here.