Racial Equity Steering Committee

The last few years have made it increasingly clear that the challenges of our education system cannot be sustainably addressed simply through more programs or scaled interventions, no matter how impactful. Education sits within an interconnected set of social, economic and policy systems that are systemically unjust. If we are committed to furthering racial justice in education, educational philanthropists must be part of deeper conversations about what needs to change within systems as well as within grantmaking itself.

GFE hosted a series of deep dive conversations around racial justice in early 2021 to hear more about what our members want and need.

What We Heard

  1. There was deep awareness of the inherent tensions that exist in education philanthropy as an endeavor. We heard a willingness and a desire to grapple with what this should mean for the why, what and how of grantmaking, as well as how funders can hold themselves accountable to the field for helping to transform education and aligned/interconnected systems.
  2. We heard that many members are already engaging in DEI/racial equity work within their organizations and personally. They expressed a desire for GFE’s programming to support them in translating their growing understanding of racial justice frameworks, into concrete skills, dispositions and actions that can help them build and execute on an anti-racist agenda within their organizations. For many participants this includes developing the personal capacity to more confidently engage in the work and in conversations with colleagues, board members and partners who may be newer and/or more resistant to racial justice work.
  3. Above all we heard members reinforce our commitment to the how of this work. Becoming anti-racist is a journey, one which is as much about healing ourselves and our relationships as it is about devising concrete action plans or adapting our grantmaking processes. The entire GFE team is committed to learning alongside our membership in a variety of ways as we work individually and collectively to create a more just educational landscape for young people and communities.

The Racial Justice Steering Committee comprises a group of members who are interested in working with GFE staff to ideate about programming and help host the kinds of substantive conversations that can support members in this work.

Our Critical Race Theory series was the first program to emerge from the steering committee’s conversations. Join us in helping to shape future learning experiences by contacting information@edfunders.org.