With communities of color bearing the brunt of the pandemic’s health and socioeconomic consequences, COVID-19 is revealing some deeply entrenched inequities in our society, inequities that are rooted in longstanding structural racism.
Bridgespan, a nonprofit that advises nonprofits and philanthropists around the world on how to improve their social impact, published a report earlier this year that describes “opportunities for philanthropists to address inequities in their response.” The following are some highlights of that report. The guidance is applicable to everyone who has the means to contribute, whether it be $5 or $5,000.
Why you should prioritize racial equity
First things first: Why is it important to prioritize racial equity in your giving?
“In this moment, explicitly naming race as a factor that informs how we assess ‘Who is most vulnerable? Who is burdened? Who benefits?’ will ensure that emergency response practices and policies proactively integrate racial equality into local government responses to COVID-19,” Bridgespan’s report says, quoting a recent newsletter from the racial justice organization Race Forward.
That’s significant for everyone, not just minorities, because the so-called “curb-cut effect” has shown that laws and programs designed for vulnerable groups have positive impacts on others.
How you can do it
How, then, can you prioritize racial equity in your giving?
For starters, make your commitment to racial equity known to the nonprofit you’re planning to contribute to. “Experience tells us that race-silent analyses and strategies often reinforce and exacerbate racial inequities,” an op-ed by Race Forward notes.
If you don’t have an established relationship with a nonprofit (and even if you do), consider donating to a reputable, local organization, Bridgespan says, “especially those that have deep knowledge of, and existing trusted relationships in, communities of color.”
And be prepared to maintain communication with your nonprofit after you’ve made your donation. As we noted above, COVID-19 is exacerbating racial disparities, but these concerns were perpetuated by our society well before the outbreak. The only way that changes is if each one of us is prepared to hold the organizations we influence accountable, “not only to address immediate disproportionate impacts in communities of color today,” Bridgespan says, “but also to support ongoing efforts to transform racist systems that are driving these disparities.”
Finally, keep in mind that “structural racism is interconnected with other systems that also marginalize populations along lines of identity and difference.” In other words, when you’re trying to identify the most vulnerable communities, consider not only race but also gender identity, sexual orientation, and immigration status. A lot of people have been pushed to the margins.
How you can help us
For the last 55 years, NORWESCAP has been helping to support low-income families and individuals across Northwest New Jersey. Today, as our region and country face the threat from COVID-19, that commitment is stronger than ever.
If you’re looking for opportunities to volunteer, donate materials, or otherwise support NORWESCAP’s work during this crisis, call MaryBeth Ringo at 848-459-5882 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Monetary donations may be made here.