Taking Action on Racial Justice

August 7, 2020

What a community foundation can do to move from non-racist to anti-racist

The most recent groundswell of anti-racism support has held a mirror to Canada’s history as a country founded on white supremacy, systemic racism, and genocide.

At the time Vancouver Foundation was founded in 1943, white supremacy remained the dominant way of thinking. Today’s policies and conversations may be different, but systemic racism and racial inequities are still pervasive.

Individuals, governments, and organizations are being called upon to do more than just make promises. We must commit ourselves to listen, learn, and act to go beyond being “non-racist.” We must become “anti-racist.” This is what we’re doing, and we’re sharing our commitment with you so we will be accountable to the communities we serve.

Our Commitments to Racialized Communities

In the past weeks, our organization has wrestled with our discomfort in how we, and the systems we work with and within, perpetuate racism. We made five commitments to showing up for racialized communities. We’re now sharing the actions we’re taking in service to those commitments.

Our Actions for Racial Justice

Under each of the five commitments are actions we are already actively delivering or have agreed to move forward on in the next year.

Commitment 1: We commit to ongoing learning about systemic racism.

•    All staff and board members will undergo anti-racism and anti-oppression training

•    A JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) committee will be formed to hold the organization accountable to progress in our actions and commitments

•    We will create spaces for staff and stakeholders to share feedback on ways we can improve

•    We will investigate the history and origin of Vancouver Foundation and how that connects to Indigenous peoples

Commitment 2: We commit to investing in long-term systemic change through our discretionary grantmaking.

•    We are deepening equity in our grantmaking programs and processes

•    We will collect demographic data on grant applicants to help us understand and assess the diversity of applicants and recipients

Commitment 3: We commit to investing in Black, Indigenous, and racialized communities through programs and grantmaking.

•    We will launch a new granting stream focused on supporting Indigenous-led organizations and is co-designed by Indigenous communities

Commitment 4: We commit to advocating for changes to CRA policy that exclude many BIPOC organizations from receiving charitable dollars because they aren’t qualified donees.

•    We will lobby the federal government for changes that would allow foundations to grant to non-qualified donees

•    We will explore ways to provide grants to youth BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour) grassroots organizers through LEVEL Youth Organizing

Commitment 5: We commit to ensuring our staff and board composition reflects the communities we serve.

•    We will add selection criteria to our hiring processes that require us to use an anti-racist and anti-oppression lens in decision-making

•    We will regularly review our Diversity and Inclusion Policy to inform any necessary changes to ensure equity

•    We will conduct regular equity audit on salaries to ensure bias is not influencing compensation

More actions we are taking:

•    We will review HR policies and practices with a racial equity lens to see where we may unintentionally be upholding white supremacy

•    We will regularly highlight stories of BIPOC-led grant recipients on our communications channels

•    We are developing policies and practices with a racial equity lens in how we select and use photos and other images in our communications channels

•    We are developing more equitable practices in what we consider and enable as informed consent for photos

We’ll continue reporting back on our commitments, sharing what we’ve learned and unlearned along the way. Today’s wave of support for racial justice will be far from the last. We commit ourselves to be part of the next one, and many more to come.


If you have any questions or comments, please email info@vancouverfoundation.ca.

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