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Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging

Philanthropy has a vital role in promoting equity and fighting inequality, and Philanthropy Ohio is here to help your foundation on your unique journey. Whether you seek support in starting the conversation; space for learning, sharing and cohort training; or resources to assist you in your work, Philanthropy Ohio is committed to providing the opportunities and space for transformation.

ground in round meeting

Centering equity in philanthropy

For the past 15 years, Philanthropy Ohio has intentionally led and supported philanthropic work to center equity, providing members opportunities to learn and share how to strategically and intentionally advance diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging in your organization and grantmaking. Our focus is on bringing training and conversations to more communities in Ohio, holding space for you to support one another through our regional and statewide Equity Peer Group meetings and by continuing to scan the field and provide resources to assist you in your work. It’s important to note that while we have centered racial equity, we’ve also expanded our equity work to include other marginalized identities and issues like gender, geographic, economic, health and other equities.

Progressing on your personal equity journey 

Each organization is on a unique equity journey, and Philanthropy Ohio provides you several ways to engage and make progress on your goals.

The Putting Racism on the Table series helps funders explore key elements of racism and the role philanthropy can play in addressing racial inequity. Developed by the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers, the series is designed to build awareness with each session featuring a 1-hour video presentation by a nationally recognized expert, followed by an in-depth, facilitated conversation among participants.

Racial Equity Institute Groundwater and Racial Equity Workshop trainings are designed to develop the capacity of participants to better understand racism in its institutional and structural forms. Moving away from a focus on personal bigotry and bias, these workshops present a historical, cultural and structural analysis of racism; help emerging racial equity leaders identify their struggles and challenges; and put tools into practice for your organization.

Equity Peer Groups are professional peer networks that connect funders to others who share similar interests in equity work. Through virtual and in-person convenings throughout the year, you’ll gather for connection and collaboration, peer learning and sharing, and to strengthen relationships and amplify impact.

  • Blacks in Ohio Philanthropy
  • Equity Funders Network

Analyzing how philanthropy operationalizes equity

racial equity report cover

As funders locally and nationally seek to address racial equity internally and within their communities, Philanthropy Ohio launched a Racial Equity Capacity Assessment for Ohio foundations in Spring 2021 with the overview report and executive summary published in January 2022.

Funders on the Journey evaluated 24 funders’ internal racial equity practices, policies and culture as well as external practices related to grantmaking, convening and community partners. The collective data and insights illuminate the efforts, aspirations, successes and challenges of participating funders as they strive toward racial justice. 

Learn more and download the report 

A statement, goals and strategies to guide our work 

The Philanthropy Ohio Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Committee has developed the following statement, goals and strategies to guide our work.


Philanthropy Ohio provides the network, tools and knowledge to help people engaged in philanthropy become effective partners for change in their communities. Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging are among Philanthropy Ohio’s core values. We believe that greater diversity, equity and inclusion is a matter of fairness and effectiveness in our profession. To have real impact in a diverse and complex world, organized philanthropy must effectively include these voices and draw upon them to intentionally engage issues of diversity, equity and inclusion in an authentic way. We encourage all foundation leaders to sustain leadership commitment, authorization, learning and outreach and strategically and intentionally advance diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging in our organizations and grantmaking.


Achieve lasting impact by drawing on the power of diverse staff and boards

  • Appreciate individual differences and encourage the authentic inclusion of diverse perspectives, opinions, backgrounds, abilities and experiences
  • Strive to make our philanthropic community reflective of the diversity of our communities by promoting inclusion of diverse members on the board of trustees and staff

Forge genuine partnerships with diverse communities

  • Support efforts to expand who is engaged in philanthropy both as philanthropists and community partners
  • Actively include diverse vendors, contractors, advisors, consultants, sponsors and investment managers
  • Work with the philanthropic community and grantees to achieve a shared responsibility around reaching diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging goals

Increase access to opportunities and resources for all people

  • Conduct grantmaking and civic leadership that is informed by the principles of Trust-Based Philanthropy and engages the perspectives of diverse community partners and constituency groups

Include diverse, equitable and inclusive practices in organizational operations, grantmaking and other programmatic areas

  • Support accountability measures through data collection (on board, staff, advisor, vendor and community partner diversity) and transparency to monitor progress and promote and sustain changes
  • Recognize and address structural inequities through programs, grantmaking and advocacy
  • Invest in racial equity training, consultation and collaborative learning
  • Screen the organization’s operations and policies with a racial equity lens.

Philanthropy Ohio’s definitions of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging are inspired by D5, a five-year coalition (2010-2015) to advance philanthropy’s diversity, equity and inclusion and by the Othering & Belonging Institute at the University of California, Berkeley.

Diversity refers to those who bring a unique perspective or life experience to the decision-making table and group identities that historically have been – and remain –underrepresented in grantmaking, among practitioners in the field, and have historically been excluded in the broader society including but not limited to:

  • Racial and ethnic groups
  • Religious groups
  • LGBTQIA (Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex and asexual) populations
  • People with differences of ability
  • Gender
  • Socio-economic status
  • Age

Equity means promoting justice and fairness within the procedures and processes of institutions or systems, as well as their distribution of resources. Tackling equity issues requires an understanding of the underlying or root causes of outcome disparities within our society.

Inclusion refers to the degree to which individuals with diverse perspectives and backgrounds are able to participate fully in the decision-making processes of an organization or group. While a truly “inclusive” group is necessarily diverse, a “diverse” group may or may not be “inclusive.”

Belonging describes values and practices where no person is left out of our circle of concern. It means having a meaningful voice and the opportunity to participate in the design of political, social and cultural structures by both contributing and holding accountable those structures.

Awake to Woke to Work: Building a Race Equity Culture Equity in the Center
Change Philanthropy
Continuum on Becoming An Anti-Racist Multicultural Organization
D5 Coalition
Decolonizing Wealth Project  
Disability & Philanthropy Forum  
Funders for Justice  
Funders for LGBTQ Issues
Giving Black Cincinnati report
Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity  
Native Americans in Philanthropy
Philanthropy Initiative for Racial Equality
Race to Lead


Member Statements on Racial Equity

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging Committee

Meghan Cummings
Raphael Allen
Jennie Dawes
Chris Donovan
Tina Kimbrough
Jackie Merkle
Cecilia Render
Heather Clayton Terry
Timothy Tramble
Join/Renew Your Membership

When you become a member of Philanthropy Ohio, you join a community of funder organizations 200+ members strong who are working to improve our communities! Already a member? Make sure your annual membership is up to date and you have access to all the benefits – from members-only peer convenings to public policy initiatives to the latest resources and networking events. 

Need Help?
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Learn more about Philanthropy Ohio’s advocacy work and how you can get involved! Contact Adrienne Wells.