One Year Later – Learnings from the Racial Justice Fund
Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF) is celebrating the Racial Justice Fund’s first anniversary. Last fall, the Fund began distributing grants to local nonprofits addressing the root causes of systemic racism.
Beyond grantmaking, GCF applied teachings from Racial Equity Matters, presented by bi3 and Women’s Fund of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation research to understand historical context and applied those learnings to engage with partners.
What we’ve learned in a year:
- The Journey Ahead. This work is a marathon, not a sprint. While we are optimistic and hopeful, we have realistic expectations regarding what can be achieved in a few years vs. what has accumulated over 400+ years. Grants represent just one avenue for action. In addition, we must build trust through convening and storytelling.
- Collaboration. Not one single program, organization or sector will advance racial equity alone. To drive systems change for racial justice, we have to work across multiple sectors and maintain multi-faceted partnerships at all levels.
- Value Lived Experience. We must continue listening to community members to shape an equitable community. This includes impacted populations, vulnerable residents and those closest to the problems.
- Relentless Questioning. Leaning on data from trusted allies (The Women’s Fund of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, Praxis Matters, Ohio Transformation Fund, PolicyLink, et al.) helps us analyze what is and isn’t working. What gets measured ultimately gets done. RJF is in the process of starting with grassroots partners’ goals to project community impact goals and hold ourselves accountable.
- Solidarity, Not Charity. The hardest part of this work is potentially the most powerful. It’s how we shift the culture, mindset and behaviors of individuals as well as influential companies, organizations and businesses.