Commitment to racial equity: Consumer Health Foundation

Written by: Lisa Ranghelli

Date: February 12, 2019

Editor’s note: The following is a Power Moves toolkit Power in Practice example.

“Issues of race and racism dominated the media and political landscape over the past 2 years. During that time, I was heartened that racism was again on the table and that so many in the social sector were talking about it.

“I was proud to be among 11 funders contributing to the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers’ Putting Racism on the Table series.

“As we go deeper into our work, I want to send this note of caution to the sector: This work is not for the faint of heart.

“It requires going against the grain and a commitment to the long haul. We must expect that every victory will send racism scurrying for a new way to carry out its original intent – to privilege whites at the expense of people of color.

“Therefore, this work requires a special kind of clarity and vigilance both personally and professionally.”  – Yanique Redwood, CEO, Consumer Health Foundation

The $23 million Consumer Health Foundation has made a strong commitment to racial equity in its health grantmaking.

Further, CEO Yanique Redwood has used her bully pulpit to exhort and educate other funders about what it truly means to lead with equity.

While it is promising that so many health foundations have embraced “health equity” as a concept, Redwood notes that jumping on this “bandwagon” requires deep, tough and thoughtful work.

As outlined in the foundation’s racial equity impact assessment tool, first, a grantmaker needs to ask the right questions about a proposed policy solution and then fund the groups best equipped to advance an equity agenda related to that policy.

The foundation keeps building on its equity commitment. It has been holding workshops on racial equity for nonprofit organizations to build their capacity; in 2018, it launched a year-long learning exchange so that nonprofits that have participated in training and begun integrating a racial equity lens into their operations and work can meet with a cohort of peers to deepen and institutionalize those efforts.

Lisa Ranghelli is senior director of assessment and special projects at NCRP and primary author of Power Moves: Your essential philanthropy assessment guide for equity and justiceFollow @NCRP and @lisa_rang on Twitter, and join the conversation using #PowerMovesEquity!

This post is part of a series of case examples on building, sharing and wielding power for NCRP’s Power Moves toolkit.