“Responsive Philanthropy” explores how unconscious preferences perpetuate inequity

WASHINGTON, May 15, 2015 — Today, the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP) released a special edition of its quarterly journal devoted to philanthropy’s role in reducing implicit bias. This phenomenon, broadly defined as unconscious processes in the mind that influence our actions, is of particular relevance given the social justice community’s ongoing fight for equality of opportunity.

This spring issue of Responsive Philanthropy looks at the how implicit bias is often reflected in the philanthropic sector. The authors hail from a range of organizations and perspectives, providing concrete evidence for – and strategies to fight – an intrinsic phenomenon that can passively reinforce inequity.

Implicit Bias and Its Role in Philanthropy and Grantmaking

In the cover story, world-renowned academic and activist john a. powell provides an overview of what implicit bias is, how it exists within philanthropy and how we can work together to overcome it. Professor powell is the director of the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, a professor of African American Studies and Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley and a prominent researcher in the field of mind science and structural racialization.

Implicit Bias and Native Americans: Philanthropy’s Hidden Minority

Native rights champion Crystal Echo Hawk looks at the state of Native American philanthropy, which as of 2011, accounts for less than 0.03 percent of foundation funding, in spite of the myriad challenges Native communities face. Echo Hawk shares thoughts and research from both Native and non-Native nonprofit leaders to provide a comprehensive picture of how this long-marginalized population continues to be overlooked by grantmakers.

Gender Norms: The Missing Part of Gender Equity Philanthropy

Riki Wilchins, executive director of TrueChild, delves into the state of gender justice philanthropy in American grantmaking, which largely ignores the role of gender norms, or what it means to be male or female. As an antidote to an approach that can simply mean funding for women and girls, Wilchins offers the example of the many international funders that have embraced a truly inclusive gender lens in designing and implementing programs.

A More Progressive Approach: Recognizing the Role of Implicit Bias in Institutional Racism

DeAngelo Bester, executive director of the Workers Center for Racial Justice, explores how Americans on different sides of the political spectrum can have such different definitions of racism, depending on the extent to which they recognize the way implicit bias pervades systems and institutions. Bester provides concrete solutions for how those in philanthropy can recognize their own implicit bias to counter its effect in their work.

Member Spotlight: Asian Pacific Community in Action

This edition’s Member Spotlight looks at the work of Asian Pacific Community in Action (APCA), an organization that advances health equity in Arizona. In addition to its advocacy work, APCA helps remove barriers to care by providing medical translation services to 30 discrete language communities in the state.

These articles, along with articles from previous issues, are available for free on the “Responsive Philanthropy Article Archive.” Hard-copy subscriptions to “Responsive Philanthropy” are complimentary for NCRP members and cost $25 for non-members.

The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy in Washington, D.C., is a national watchdog, research and advocacy organization that promotes philanthropy that serves the public good, is responsive to people and communities with the least wealth and opportunity, and is held accountable to the highest standards of integrity and openness. Visit www.ncrp.org.