Earlier this month, we wrote to denounce the killings of George Floyd and other Black Americans, and to express our support for the protests that called for justice – and for change.
More than three weeks later, those protests continue, and they have already ushered in changes that have been advocated for without progress for years. Still, our state and nation must do much more.
That is easier said than done, and we recognize that philanthropy must both speak out about racism and also join and support those fighting to end it. On Friday, Irvine’s board approved exceeding our grantmaking budget so that the Foundation can spend an additional $20 million to support efforts to end anti-Black racism and advance racial equity in California’s systems of economic opportunity over the next 18 months.
The first grants will include approximately $2 million in the next few months to support efforts focused on anti-Black racism in economic opportunity. We will simultaneously develop a strategy for long-term and deeper support for racial equity efforts in our grantmaking initiatives and operations. This, as part of our north star – a California where all low-income workers have the power to advance economically – will guide how we distribute the full $20 million by the end of 2021.
We believe we are building on a strong foundation at Irvine for equity. Our staff and board represent a diversity of backgrounds and viewpoints that enrich our culture and work, and we’re fortunate to support many leaders of color and organizations focused on reducing racial and other disparities.
And while our initiatives and grantees work to increase economic equity in many ways, ending anti-Black racism and racial inequity requires even more. It requires more than we have previously done, as an institution, to explicitly support racial equity and dismantle racism in systems that can enable low-income workers to advance economically. We take seriously the privilege and responsibility we have to do our part.
We will share in coming months the specific anti-racism grants we make and longer-term strategies for racial equity. Meanwhile, we are grateful for the significant efforts our grantees are making for justice, equity, and change.