Friday, September 30, 2022


Florida begins a long effort to recover from Ian, an Arkansas school works to attract more students to higher education, and Massachusetts Narcan trainers enlist the public's help to prevent overdose deaths.


Hurricane Ian leaves severe flooding and millions without power in Florida, the Senate passed a spending bill to keep the government running to December, and senators aim for greater oversight of federal prisons.


Baseball is America's pastime, and more international players are taking the stage, rural communities can get help applying for federal funds through the CHIPS and Science Act, and a Texas university is helping more Black and Latina women pursue careers in agriculture.

Foundations: Advancing Equity Also Requires an Inward Look


Wednesday, April 14, 2021   

ST. PAUL, Minn. - The world of philanthropy isn't immune from the need to improve workplace culture as society demands greater equity. One Minnesota organization is among those enacting changes in light of the pandemic and racial reckoning.

Improving communities and helping to foster social justice are common missions for nonprofits, and some groups have said that in order to stay true to their work, their internal operations also must reflect their values.

Nadege Souvenir, senior vice president for operations and learning at the Saint Paul and Minnesota Foundation, said an example includes their information-technology department asking outside vendors to update language routinely seen on staff computer screens that could be deemed offensive.

"Some of the language used in spam vendors - 'black-listing,' 'white listing' - is unnecessarily racist language," she said.

The foundation also has changed its recruiting practices, including no longer having a college-degree requirement for all job postings. Philanthropic groups also have faced criticism from smaller nonprofits over onerous grant applications that restrict spending. Souvenir noted that the foundation has responded in the last year by opening up more funding for operating expenses.

Demetric Duckett, managing director of Living Cities, a collaboration of 19 of the world's largest foundations and financial institutions, acknowledged that staff diversity still is a challenge in this sector that must be addressed.

"If you're going to be able to create solutions," he said, "you have to ask how can you figure out problems in situations that aren't familiar to you?"

He suggested that having a more diverse staff with different perspectives can help foundations address community-level issues without being out of touch. Living Cities has prioritized anti-racism training for its board members, allowing them to share the findings with the groups they oversee.

Disclosure: The Saint Paul and Minnesota Foundation contributes to our fund for reporting on Education, Health Issues, Human Rights/Racial Justice, Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

get more stories like this via email
The number of absentee ballots requested by Michigan voters increased by 73% between the 2018 and 2020 elections, according to the Michigan Secretary of State. (JimCanally/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Voting advocates say more and more Michiganders are choosing to cast absentee ballots to save time and avoid long lines on Election Day. In 2020…

Social Issues

With the election a little over a month away, some say caregiving and long-term care are issues too big for candidates in Oregon to ignore. There …

Health and Wellness

COVID upended many routines, including Texas parents getting kids in for regularly scheduled childhood vaccines. Data from the Texas Department of …

About 75% of the nation's flowering plants and more than 30% of the nation's food crops rely upon animal pollinators to reproduce, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. (Lamar Gore/John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge)


Pennsylvania has a strong commitment to urban agriculture and community gardening, and some groups in the state are working to get more colorful …


Georgia Power is reducing its reliance on coal by phasing out several coal-fired units. However, clean-energy advocates say the company should …

The State of Black Students at Community College report says 70% of African American college students experienced food and housing insecurity or homelessness during the pandemic. (Gorodenkoff/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

A new report on Black students in the community college system found fewer are signing up to attend two-year schools, and the college enrollment …


Greenhouse gas emissions have been potentially reduced by 50,000 tons in the state, with the help of Wisconsin farmers supported by a statewide …

Social Issues

Social Security benefits again could see their highest increase in several decades, but those advocating for beneficiaries say there is still plenty …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021