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"Inside Philanthropy" Explores How We Center Racial Justice

Want to learn more about how we came to put racial justice at the center of our work? Inside Philanthropy's Michael Hamill Remaley digs into our journey in this interview with our President and CEO Cecilia Clarke:

Can a funder be a “model” when it is simply listening to its community and letting those voices guide its actions? This is the question Brooklyn Community Foundation’s president and CEO Cecilia Clarke posed upon the suggestion that her organization’s highly visible and clearly articulated work on racial justice might serve as a prototype for other funders who want to be more vocal supporters of racial equity work, but are concerned about pushback from wealthy white donors.

Clarke isn’t just being modest. While there are some aspects of Brooklyn Community Foundation’s history and community composition that are unique, its investment in the development of a structured “community-led leadership” process that organically produced its focus on racial equity (among four other priority areas), is a journey that many other community foundations are traveling. In fact, there are 16 other such funders across the nation that have joined a network dedicated to advancing equity in their communities.

While Brooklyn Community Foundation may not accept the “model” moniker, it has become an early and widely recognized philanthropic leader centering racial equity work in its long-term organizational strategy and communicating this priority throughout all aspects of its functioning. So how did it get there?

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Photo: A Brooklyn Insights conversation with participants in Bedford-Stuyvesant in 2014

Liane Stegmaier

Vice President of Communications and Strategy