Philanthropy’s Role in Social Justice

Philanthropy’s Role in Social Justice

“Philanthropy is commendable, but it should not allow the philanthropist to overlook the economic injustice which makes philanthropy necessary.” MLK

As explained by the National Center for Family Philanthropy, philanthropists must have “a deeper openness and commitment to fully understand history and our role as perpetrators of injustice, whether we realize it or not.”

Why It Matters to Turn the Mirror on Ourselves (NCFP)


“When pursued strategically, philanthropy and advocacy are like two sides of the same coin. Their practitioners both take action in service of needed social change, seeking to realize visions of a better world, and it’s rare that either set can achieve the goals it seeks without the other.”

Why Strategic Philanthropy (Almost) Always Involves Advocacy (Arabella Advisors)

Nonprofit Quarterly urges philanthropists to “understand that our specific programmatic interventions and strategies must serve a larger collective vision. Our struggle is mutual—and our liberation is mutual.”

Dear Philanthropy: These Are the Fires of Anti-Black Racism (NPQ)

Say Their Names: Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Dion Johnson (NFG)


Philanthropists must consciously work to allocate funding to organizations led by communities of color.

“Many grant makers try to take a colorblind approach to reviewing grants as a well-meaning effort to advance equity. But that is actually the crux of the problem.”

The Chronicle of Philanthropy explains: “Race is one of the most reliable predictors of life expectancy, academic achievement, income, wealth, physical and mental health, maternal mortality, and so much else that make a difference for a person to achieve well-being. Donors who care about supporting social change must take more deliberate action to achieve racial equity.”

The Racial Funding Gap Can’t Continue in the Pandemic (The Chronicle of Philanthropy)

“Looking ahead to 2021, philanthropy will need to address the funding gap—the amount of funding available for organizations supporting women and girls— and the equity gap—the amount of funding available for organizations supporting women and girls of color, and those facing other intersectional disadvantages.”

Philanthropy Needs To Address The Funding And Equity Gaps For Women And Girls (Forbes)

On the Precipice (The Libra Foundation)


Funders must continue the patterns of grantmaking that emerged during the COVID-19 crisis: increased funding, more flexibility, and funding for advocacy.

For info about COVID-19 philanthropy: A Transformative Moment for Philanthropy (McKinsey & Company).

MacKenzie Scott, an emerging leader in the philanthropy world, is changing the landscape of charitable giving. “By disbursing her money quickly and without much hoopla, Ms. Scott has pushed the focus away from the giver and onto the nonprofits she is trying to help. They are the types of organizations — historically Black colleges and universities, community colleges and groups that hand out food and pay off medical debts — that often fly beneath the radar of major foundations.”

Giving Billions Fast, MacKenzie Scott Upends Philanthropy (New York Times)

Funders, this crisis is the time to significantly increase funding (Nonprofit AF)


The National Center for Family Philanthropy encourages philanthropists to create solutions with the guidance of those who have experience with racial inequality.

“Crises demand urgent and swift action. However, moving fast can mean relying on established relationships, tight networks, and top-down decision-making. As a result, leaders of color who have inequitable access to the philanthropic community can be barred entry, and solutions may be crafted without the guidance from the lived experience of those closest to the problem.”

“When responding to urgent need, funders need to pause and consider how their own biases and funding practices may perpetuate inequities, and exacerbate the very problems they aspire to alleviate.”

Make This Moment a Tipping Point, Not a Tragedy (National Center for Family Philanthropy)


In an interview with The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Kerrien Suarez, Executive Director of Equity in the Center urges philanthropists to not only release statements about racial equality but transform those statement into concrete action.

“The question going forward from here is, what will they do in the days ahead to live into those values? Because as of today, the overwhelming majority of organizations that released statements with those words in it do not have a culture where the black people who work there feel that they are valued as equal to white people.”

Statements About George Floyd Are a Start, but How Will Organizations Live Their Values? (The Chronicle of Philanthropy)

Awake to Woke to Work: Building a Race Equity Culture (Equity in the Center)

Tool Kit: How Foundations Can Foster Diversity and Inclusion (The Chronicle of Philanthropy)

Tool Kit: How to Diversify Your Nonprofit’s Board (The Chronicle of Philanthropy)

Woke at Work Blog (Equity in the Center)


Diversity has many facets including race, ethnicity, age, gender identity, sexual orientation, economic status, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, and other ideologies.

We have broken down a few areas of focus to foster an inclusive resource guide for the community:


Following the wake of COVID-19, the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and too many other unarmed Black men, women, and children to name have caused a global uprising against racial discrimination and inequality. The organizations listed below are fighting for racial equity in Chester County.

Black Women of Chester County in Action

Chester County Opportunities Industrialization Center (CCOIC)

Coatesville Youth Initiative

La Comunidad Hispana

Latino Luncheon MeetUp West Chester 

Charles A Melton Arts & Education Center

MLK CommUNITY of the Greater Kennett Area

NAACP (West Chester, PA Branch)

Parkesburg Point

St Paul’s Baptist Church (West Chester)

Voices Underground

CLICK HERE for more resources on racial equity.


“We have made progress together for our communities, but invisibility remains one of our [Asian American and Pacific Islanders’] greatest barriers to investment and action.”Chronicle of Philanthropy

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been an rapid rise in racism and discrimination again Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI). A study by the Center for the Student of Hate & Extremism determined that while overall hate crimes decreased by 7% in 2020, anti-Asian hate crimes rose by nearly 150%. And according to Stop AAPI Hate, Pennsylvania was included in the top five states where anti-Asian hate incidents have occurred in 2020 and 2021. 


  • Send a clear message about your institution’s position on anti-Asian violence and all hate-based actions.
  • Disrupt the “model minority” and “perpetual foreigner” narratives alongside other racial tropes.
  • Support Asian American and Pacific Islander organizations as part of regular grant making.
  • Honor and support cross-racial efforts that strengthen rather than divide the United States along racial lines.

As Violence Against Asian Americans Intensifies, the Moment for Philanthropy to Act Is Now (Chronicle of Philanthropy)

It’s Time for Philanthropy to Address Its Erasure of AAPI Voices and Perspectives (Center for Effective Philanthropy)


While there has been significant progress for gender equality over the decades, many obstacles remain that limit opportunities for women. Women disproportionally experience sexual violence, workplace discrimination, and limited access to fundamental healthcare services including reproductive rights. The organizations listed below provide resources, support, and opportunities for women in Chester County.

Chester County Fund for Women and Girls

Domestic Violence Center of Chester County

Crime Victims’ Center of Chester County


“An important but controversial era in public policy ended with [the] Supreme Court ruling allowing states to outlaw abortion. Philanthropy and nonprofits have played large roles on both sides of the fight over legalized abortion, and they will have even more to do as a new era unfolds.”

Supreme Court’s Abortion Decision Prompts New Challenges for Philanthropy (The Chronicle of Philanthropy)

Here’s How Philanthropy Can Protect Access to Abortion in a Post-‘Roe v. Wade’ World (The Chronicle of Philanthropy)

To Ensure Abortion Access After ‘Roe v. Wade,’ Philanthropic Support Must Shift From National to Local Groups (The Chronicle of Philanthropy)

How Philanthropy Can Unite in Protecting Abortion Access and Reproductive Justice (Inside Philanthropy)

Know Your Rights: Reproductive Health Care


Many people face daily discrimination based on their gender identity and/or sexual orientation. Whether we have been victims or perpetrators of gender and sexual discrimination, the organizations listed below can provide a greater understanding of and support to overcome this type of oppression.

Chester County Fund for Women and Girls

Chester County Network of Care

LGBT Equality Alliance of Chester County

Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians & Gays (PFLAG)

Unitarian Congregation of West Chester

United Church of Christ East Goshen

Phoenixville Area Social Concerns Committee

Additional Resources:

Key Terms and Concepts in Understanding Gender Diversity and Sexual Orientation

LGBTQ+ Financial Support and Resources

LGBTQ+ Financial Guide to Becoming a Parent

Financing & Support for Gender Confirmation Surgery


We are lucky to live in a country that recognizes and respects our religious freedom. Even so, many people face discrimination based on how they pray, who they pray to, or due to their lack of formal religious beliefs. The organizations listed below provide resources and guidance to help us all overcome religious discrimination.

Jewish Federation Greater Philadelphia

Kesher Israel Congregation West Chester

Islamic Society of Chester County

Willow Branch Sangha

West Chester Community Evangelical Church


Here is a list of consultants who have been referred to the Chester County Community Foundation for diversity, equity, and inclusion training. Consultants who specialize in arts and culture nonprofits are highlighted yellow.

To add or edit consultants to this list, please email Beth Krallis at

Check out this Bridges Out of Poverty presentation by Kate Deneker of the Southern Chester County Opportunity Network.