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Overcoming Racial Bias in Funding: Breaking Down Barriers to Capital

Jen Driggs May 26, 2021

How large is the racial funding disparity between organizations run by white leaders and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) leaders? What is driving this funding disparity? What can we do about it?

There is increasing conversation about the racial biases that lead funders to systemically overlook, undervalue, and underfund organizations led by BIPOC leaders. As a consequence of these biases, the sector is routinely burning out many leaders who are the best positioned to drive social change. Because dismantling systemic racism is critical to progress on social change goals, changing funding practices that produce these inequities will also better enable funders to achieve their goals.

Adding to the existing body of research on this topic, we will share original quantitative and qualitative evidence identifying the magnitude and drivers of racial disparities in funding and recommend strategies and tactics for funders and practitioners to inspire near-term changes and make their practices more equitable. Importantly, we will create space to exchange ideas on how philanthropy can dismantle barriers that exist across the full arc of fundraising (getting connected, building rapport, securing support, and sustaining relationships).


Fireside Chat

Meta Themes

  • Equity & Inclusion


Racial bias; Funding; Philanthropy

Purpose and Desired Outcome

Attendees will: - Learn about the extent of racial disparities in funding in the social sector - Gain a deeper understanding of the barriers BIPOC leaders face and the effects of repeated bias - Exchange ideas around breaking down barriers to capital in their own practice The session topic draws from our research on “Racial Equity and Philanthropy: Disparities in Funding for Leaders of Color Leave Impact on the Table” which identifies the drivers of racial bias, and underscores why prioritizing racial equity is a strategic imperative for maximizing philanthropic impact. Through this work, we (Bridgespan and Echoing Green) aim to reinforce the work of BIPOC leaders and racial equity advocates who have led the way on this issue for decades.


  • Allocators (Family Offices, HNW Individuals, Foundations)


  • NameCheryl Dorsey
  • TitlePresident
  • OrganizationEchoing Green
  • StatusConfirmed
  • NamePeter Kim
  • TitleChief Learning and Innovation Officer
  • OrganizationThe Bridgespan Group
  • StatusConfirmed
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