Photo Credit: The New Yorker

At the Funders’ Network, we have long adhered to the fundamental values that guide us as an organization: A belief that philanthropy is uniquely positioned to help create communities that are more sustainable, economically prosperous and equitable.

As a non-partisan organization that encourages robust discussion and respect of various points of view, we recognize that there is a place for nuanced debate on the tactics and strategies needed to turn these ideals into actions and outcomes.

But hatred is not a point of view. And there should not—and can never— be any moral equivocation when it comes to denouncing the vile, toxic and dangerous philosophies.

Although the fatal demonstration that shook the nation took place in Charlottesville, no one is immune from the realities of racism and bigotry these hate groups embody—or the strong range of emotions the images of the event provoke: fear, frustration, disbelief, disgust, anger. It would be understandable to feel overwhelmed in the aftermath of such a show of hatred.

But, in the face of an increasingly emboldened element of our society that has taken to public declarations of white supremacy and neo-Nazism, we are heartened by the strong denunciations from many sectors since Charlottesville, including many leading voices in philanthropy. (See a compilation of our members’ responses below).

We are committed to helping our funders in their work to strengthen communities, and engage in practices that are not only effective but equitable.

Equity in grantmaking is the cornerstone of our PLACES fellowship, whose ranks have grown to nearly 100 alumni spread throughout the world of philanthropy. Our PLACES Fellowship gives professionals in philanthropy the tools, knowledge, and best practices needed to embed an equity lens into their work. The deadline to apply for the 2018 PLACES cohort is Oct. 31.

Below are responses to Charlottesville from many of our Funders’ Network members, as well as other resources you may find useful.

James E. Canales, President & Trustee, Barr Foundation

“We at the Barr Foundation add our unequivocal voice to the growing chorus that explicitly renounces the violent expressions of hate and the vile racism and bigotry that we witnessed in Charlottesville last weekend. Of course, such sentiments are not isolated to Virginia, and with a President who increasingly empowers these fringe actors, we will see more of it…”

Bob Ross, President & CEO, The California Endowment

“It is fundamentally clear we have witnessed emboldened levels of hateful, bigoted, racist, anti-immigrant, anti-LGBT, Islamophobic, white supremacist and white nationalistic behavior. And this behavior is not coming from all sides.”

Judy Belk, President & CEO, The California Wellness Foundation

“What we’ve learned is this: The struggle is real, but there are dedicated people working every day to stop violence in our communities and to counter the racism and hate that fuels it.”

Patrick McCarthy, President & CEO, The Annie E. Casey Foundation

“The violence and tragedy of Charlottesville, and the ensuing controversy and debates over the president’s response, are prompting public and private conversations about race, ethnicity and our history. Our children are listening and watching. What do we want them to take away? What do we want them to learn?”

Grant Oliphant, President, Heinz Endowments

“Call this beast what you will—whatever the politicians may say, it is not difficult to name. It is ethnic and racial hatred and bigotry. It is domestic terrorism, white supremacy, violent extremism. It is the damage in the human heart that looks for scapegoats and finds grim solace in the diminishment of others, holding them down, punishing them for wanting to share in the basic dignities we ourselves hold dear.”

Rip Rapson, President & CEO, The Kresge Foundation

“There is no moral ambiguity about the intentionally provocative, hatefully motivated, racist, and violent behavior ignited by white supremacists last week in Charlottesville. These acts of domestic terrorism not only denigrate, but threaten to undermine, the values that men and women have been fighting for since the signing of the Declaration of Independence and that define us as a people.”

Meghan Binger Brown, Board Chair, and Kate Wolford, President, The McKnight Foundation

“In condemning these events, let us not forget the many routine, nearly invisible forms of prejudice our nation must overcome. Even as brazen displays of hatred rightfully appall us, subtle, everyday acts of racism and bigotry need to be rendered just as unacceptable. This is our shared responsibility.”

Sharon Alpert, President & CEO, Nathan Cummings Foundation

“The events in Charlottesville strengthen our resolve to stand in solidarity with those working to build a more just, vibrant, sustainable and democratic future, and to counter darkness with light, and hate with love.”

Fred Blackwell, CEO, The San Francisco Foundation

“The challenges in front of us are about race, but they are also about economics and the need for greater inclusion and equity. There are no simple answers. There are no simple solutions. But all of us can take on the task of speaking up and denouncing acts of hatred.”

Other News and Resources:

• The Communications Network offered a helpful list of what non-profits can do in the aftermath of Charlottesville, which include enrolling in equity-based training, stating your values publicly (as an individual and as an organization) and participating in public gatherings and vigils. ComNet also recommends reviewing “Having an Uncomfortable Conversation,” written by Anusha Alikhan, director of communications at Knight Foundation, another TFN member.
“This call to action is a reminder that our work is never finished,” she writes. “Inclusion is a daily practice that will continue as we strive to remove barriers, close gaps and ensure that equal opportunity is available to all.”

• As The Chronicle of Philanthropy pointed out in a recent story, the “white-nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., provoked a strong response from many nonprofits and foundations, and it wasn’t just organizations like the NAACP and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. A wide variety of nonprofits quickly joined the fray with statements of outrage, hope, and healing.”

Deconstructing the images and slogans on display in Charlottesville: Symbols on display ranged from exact replicas of the Confederate flag to altered versions of a National Hockey League team logo. As well-coordinated and meticulously organized white nationalists converged to rally in Charlottesville, they brought with them chants, banners, slurs, shields and flags. Counterprotesters, including anti-fascist groups and local residents, church groups and civil rights leaders, had their own symbols and slogans. Each of the icons spotted carried its own political context and history, according to this guide in the Washington Post.

  • A CBS news station in Houston, which will be the site of TFN’s 2018 annual conference, hosted a town hall on race relations in response to Charlottesville.

Has your organization issued a response to Charlottesville? Please send any updates to to be added to our compilation.