Reflections: Asking the Important Questions

Danielle Johnson explains how we are working to distribute our discretionary grant dollars equitably.

Reflections: Our Personal & Professional Efforts Toward Racial Equity is a monthly blog. Each month, we will reflect on what we are doing either personally or professionally to improve diversity, equity and inclusion in our work. View more

View our Equity Values & Commitment


We understand that dismantling structural inequities in our community takes us one step closer to ensuring opportunity for all. When thinking about the grants that we make, it’s safe to conclude that they are having a positive impact on members of our community. But where exactly, and in whom, are we investing? Are we ensuring that these investments are being distributed equitably? Are our grant dollars going to organizations and projects that predominantly serve communities that have been impacted by systemic racism or other bias?

Historically, we did not have an efficient or comprehensive way of knowing the answers to these questions. As the Community Investment team member overseeing our Community Grant program, I feel a personal responsibility to make sure that our grant dollars are being distributed in an equitable way. In order to hold ourselves accountable, we first had to start collecting the data.

With this in mind, we recently made some changes to our Community Grant application after extensive consultation with our board of directors. The new demographic questions we added are meant to capture the extent to which we are distributing our discretionary grant dollars equitably. The majority of the new questions pertain to the people being predominantly served by the project for which funding is being requested.

We are asking our nonprofit partners to identify who is benefitting from the services and programs that they are providing. There are four racial/ethnic categories to choose from, as well as categories for people with disabilities or members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Two additional questions involve the leadership of the organization, specifically the race/ethnicity of the executive director/lead volunteer and the organization’s board officers.

While we strive to keep our application concise, we believe that these few additional questions will provide us with the information we need to do our part in making sure our community is funded more equitably.

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