NEFN Peer Call: How Northeast Funders are Advancing Racial Equity & Inclusion

April 3, 2019 @ 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm America/New York Timezone


Promoting racial equity and inclusion are emerging as a central touchstone of 21st century philanthropic practice and a critical priority for The Funders’ Network and its working groups. It is an inextricable part of the Power Forward theme of TFN’s upcoming 20th Anniversary Conference, which asks: How are we grappling with the stark realities of climate change and other environmental threats to our communities and health? How are we confronting systemic inequities and structural racism? How are we creating economic opportunities that allow people and places to thrive, regardless of their zip codes?

These are challenging questions for all funders and much on the minds of Northeast Funders Network participants. At the June 2018 NEFN annual meeting there was a lively discussion of foundation practice around racial equity and inclusion. A post meeting survey showed strong funder interest in keeping that discussion going – in sharing by peer foundation colleagues what they are doing to address racial equity and inclusion in their work, both inside their foundations and with their grantees and communities.

The purpose of this call is to help funders continue the process of learning and sharing stories of their own foundation experiences and practices, examining challenges, successes, and the work ahead. Two foundation executives will open the call with presentations about their foundations’ struggles and achievements, then the discussion will open up for colleagues who have joined the call to ask questions and share their respective experiences.

Jay Espy, Executive Director, Elmina B. Sewall Foundation
Sheena Solomon, Executive Director, The Gifford Foundation

Dion Cartwright, Director of Equitable Initiatives and Leadership Development, The Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities


The Northeast Funders Network(NEFN), a TFN working group, promotes an interdisciplinary approach to building sustainable, vibrant and just small town and rural communities in the Northeast, with attention to the connections between rural and urban environments. Our geographic scope includes the northeastern states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.