Student Dee Bonal studying in a Zoom meeting with her classmates during stay-in-place orders.
Deltilyn Bonal participates in one of many weekly Zoom meetings with her classmates during stay-in-place orders. Photo by Michael Confer from a future issue of Focus Magazine.

I am unapologetic in my beliefs, my thoughts, and my work. Yes, it took some time to get there. It took a commitment to pushing boundaries for racial equality and inclusion. It took remaining steadfast in lifting up the voices of those who aren’t always heard.

Today, as we face a deadly pandemic, lifting up those voices is more crucial than ever. So, I turned to equally unapologetic affinity groups to support and elevate people of color who are disproportionately affected right now.

Just before the COVID-19 outbreak, Lumina Foundation awarded grants to five organizations dedicated to advancing racial equity across the philanthropic sector. Now, as the pandemic worsens, these efforts become even more urgent. Here are the five innovative groups awarded 2020 sector grants and the ways they’ll make progress over the coming year:

  • Association of Black Foundation Executives (ABFE) will advise, train, advocate, and increase investments that lead to better outcomes for Black communities.
  • Hispanics in Philanthropy (HIP) will create a trustee leadership program to improve the influence, voice and skills of Hispanic leaders in philanthropy.
  • CHANGE Philanthropy, a coalition of 10 philanthropic networks, will strengthen bridges across members to create connections, expand leadership, and build knowledge with accurate data.
  • Funders for LGBTQ Issues will provide cutting-edge research and train foundations on the needs of LGBTQ people of color, and the best ways to support them.
  • Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP) will provide racial equity training and workshops through the lens of the needs of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

Responding in a crisis

In times of crisis, fear elevates racism and bigotry. As they say, “that train is never late.” We’ve seen some vicious instances of racial profiling around COVID-19 and after the 9/11 attacks.

That’s why the five organizations awarded grants to fight inequality are acting quickly. As they continue their day-to-day work, they have responded – as philanthropy always does in a crisis – to the broader, pressing needs of communities of color and those that serve them.

They’ve issued these open letters, offering immediate resources, funding, and advice:

  • AAPIP: Statement on COVID-19 and The Cure to Viral Racism is Within our Hands
  • Funders for LGBTQ Issues: LGBTQ Funding Resources in the COVID-19 Response
  • HIP: Funds to Address Census Outreach Efforts and Migration and Forced Displacement
  • ABFE: Federal Aid Plan for Non-Profits Needs More Input from Black-Led Organizations

Just like me and my team’s commitment to equity, these organizations are passionate in their missions – and unapologetic in their zeal to help people of color who are often overlooked. During this crisis and beyond, those passions and partnerships will lead to real results for the people we serve.

Back to News