Support Beyond Dollars

Source(s): 
Greater Twin Cities United Way

Lifting up the genius and lived experience of Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) leaders is necessary to advancing racial equity and uncovering the solutions to large, systemic problems like disparities in housing, education, healthcare and the wealth gap. BIPOC communities continue to be excluded from, and wholly oppressed by, these systems and continue to experience the highest barriers when engaging with them. Even across the nonprofit landscape, leaders who reflect their communities typically receive only a fraction of funding for their nonprofit organizations, despite better outcomes and superior social capital in the communities they serve. Philanthropic organizations have an opportunity to repair historical inequities that persist today. One way they can do this is by supporting BIPOC leaders by funding and desiging high quality, anti-racist cohort collaborative experiences that bring together and engage leaders in authentic and trusting ways. Cohort models, in addition to robust, multi-year general operating funding, can work to address systemic inequities. The intention behind an anti-racist cohort experience is to value and support collective action by understanding the complexity of work, creating space for collaboration, fairly compensating time and ideas, and elevating grantee work to other nonprofit and funding partners. In 2019, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) awarded the Greater Twin Cities United Way (GTCUW) the Equity Accelerator grant to create a cohort program of grantees that support workforce development initiatives in diverse Twin Cities communities and share a deep commitment to eliminating racial disparities in the field. Now, as the cohort comes to an end, the seven participating grantees and the GTCUW Community Impact team (GTCUW team) reflect on the experience and share eight promising practices for how funders committed to justice and racial equity, can better work alongside culturally specific organizations and design anti-racist cohort experiences with BIPOC nonprofit leaders at the center.

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