Odds are that you’re aware of some of the work to bring diversity and inclusiveness to philanthropy, whether it’s through the “Race Matters Took Kit” of the Annie E. Casey Foundation or even through the grants of the family foundation down the road from you. But how much don’t you hear about?
I’ve been exploring how foundations communicate their work on diversity for a case study that will be published by the Diversity in Philanthropy Project (DPP) at the end of September. The case study examines some of the innovative ways this dialogue is happening at some of the leading national foundations: Ford, Marguerite Casey, Packard, C.S. Mott, and The Denver foundations. But the question about communicating the work at other foundations is wide open: a lot of diversity and inclusiveness work still falls beneath the radar.
As Anastasia Ordonez, Packard Foundation’s senior communications manager, pointed out to me, many foundations like it that way. They’re used to taking a back seat on publicity and working behind the scenes to make things happen.
Another issue is specificity. There’s no shortage of high-minded ideals and vision statements, but what about the heart and soul of the work? Jan Jaffe, the Project Director of GrantCraft, told me that it’s not enough for foundations to tell how diverse they are. They need to show us by interacting with their staff, grantees, and stakeholders to find out why and how diversity is important to us. She said, “They need to ask what they’re doing differently as a result. How is our work different from a Benetton ad?”
The case study is far from an exhaustive list of innovative communications or challenges to communicating. I wanted to open up the dialogue to blog readers:
What innovative communications work about diversity and inclusiveness have you seen?
What should foundations do to become more innovative and effective in their communications?
What would be the advantages or disadvantages of creating a best practices platform?