June 8, 2016

“Want to Support Communities of Color? Stop Trickle-Down Community Engagement”

By Miguel Valdez Soto

As issues around diversity, equity, inclusion and cultural competency have risen to the forefront, many grantmakers are trying to make their processes more equitable, both in terms of dollars awarded and in who receives the money. But, from the perspective of grassroots organizations led by and serving communities of color, common foundation and nonprofit practices can feel disingenuous and even counterproductive to this goal. If grantmakers want marginalized communities to be engaged, they need to fund, trust and support them directly, believes Vu Le. This means resisting the tendency to practice “trickle-down community engagement.” Le will speak candidly about this and other well-intentioned but harmful behaviors in the sector. He’ll suggest ways to make funding more accessible, lift up individuals and communities of color, and demonstrate trust that communities have solutions

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