Grantmaking Approaches

Grantmaking Approaches to D.E.I.

Roles of Private Grantmaking Organizations

In developing the Diversity Framework, the Minnesota Council on Foundations found it helpful to frame the discussion around four roles that private grantmaking organizations play in a civil society as funders, employers, economic entities and citizens of the community.

Two values guided the development of this work:

  • The quality of grantmaking is enhanced when grantmaking organizations reflect the cultural diversity of the communities they serve through their grants.
  • Every private grantmaking organization has the responsibility and the capacity to understand issues of diversity and inclusiveness and should take action in each role where opportunities exist.

The four roles and the values that support these roles:

Grantmakers as Funders

Values Statement: Grantmaking organizations are responsible for the prudent management and distribution of charitable funds. In this role grantmakers improve the quality of life of identified groups, respond to community needs and address the root causes of problems. Funding priorities reflect the diverse needs and opportunities of communities served through grantmaking. To better understand and respond to the diverse issues of their constituents, grantmaking organizations need to mirror the diversity of the communities they fund.

Grantmakers as Employers

Values Statement: Increasing staff diversity enriches grantmaking. Without a diverse workforce, we cannot achieve excellence. Grantmakers, like the organizations and individuals they support, are operating in an increasingly diverse society. In order to be accountable to their constituencies, grantmakers have the responsibility to be exemplary: they must have a workforce that reflects the diversity of the communities they serve through their grantmaking.

Grantmakers as Economic Entities

Values Statement: Funders have both an obligation and opportunities to create economic opportunities for all members of the communities they serve through their grantmaking. Through investments and purchasing decisions, funders can support minority-owned businesses and participate in the development of a healthy economic system employing a diverse workforce.

Grantmakers as Community Citizens

Values Statement: As an essential community resource, foundations and corporate giving programs have a responsibility to serve the public good. In their role as citizens, grantmakers must be engaged in and responsive to the communities they serve through their grantmaking. Through this involvement, grantmaking organizations will strengthen their ability to recognize and support diversity. This is a critical component of serving increasingly diverse communities and maintaining the highest quality of life.

This is part of "Principles for Grantmakers & Practice Options for Philanthropic Organizations." Download a copy of the PDF.