Helping funders and arts organizations realize their vision since 1996.

Racial Equity in Grantmaking
A Call for Interest in Assessing Progress
From Grantmakers in the Arts and the
Doris Duke Charitable Foundation



How do you define “racial equity?”

We define racial equity as working toward a world in which the distribution of resources, opportunities, and burdens is not determined or predictable by race. An explicit racial equity lens ensures that the particular needs and assets of communities are taken into account and that diversity, while important, is insufficient for addressing the deep-seated power imbalances endemic to philanthropy.

In your criteria, how are you defining “past engagement?”

Past engagement might be demonstrated by active participation in working groups or coalitions whose purpose is the pursuit of racial equity in grantmaking; preexisting efforts to assess how equitable grantmaking practices are; and documentation of progress in addressing racial equity. Examples are reports that clearly document a funders’ progress in addressing racial equity in its funding distribution, creating or restructuring funding programs to address racial equity, or changing funding policies in ways that ensure racially equitable outcomes. Attending trainings and publishing equity statements alone are not sufficient.


What will my organization get from participating?

Cohort members get access to the measurement system, a confidential report comparing your giving to other cohort members, the opportunity to help develop a field-wide standard for measuring equity, and the chance to engage in collegial exchange with other funders that have expressed similar interests and are committed to accountability.

How much time will participation take?

This depends on the number of arts grants that your organization gives and your staff’s level of familiarity with its grantees and past projects funded. To discuss, email

Please say more about the coding process. What does it entail?

After receiving training and a guide from our team, you will provide a spreadsheet of grants made by your arts program over a period of up to five years. You will sort and code your grants across two stages. Refer to Requirements for more details.

Why are you focusing on the years 2018-2022?

Because giving varied dramatically during the height of the pandemic, we have set a range of time that includes years that reflect more typical giving patterns, as well the pandemic years.

Who from my organization should be involved?

GIA and DDF encourage arts leadership to participate in this project. Ideally, Cohort members would involve staff with a full program perspective rather than new staff alone or assistants.

Who else will be in the Cohort?

Past participants are named on the Overview page. Once the group has been selected, the names of all 10 will be shared.

How much of our information will be shared with the rest of the group?

Note that individual Cohort members’ data will not be shared with other cohort members. Reports remain confidential within the Cohort and summarize select findings across all participants.


How much will it cost to participate?

There is no financial cost to participate; however, participating funders are expected to be fully engaged, responsive and timely for the duration of the project.

Is this project limited to foundations?

No. However, in the past, we found that foundations were best suited to this project because they can collect and share select data related to populations served by project in ways this project requires. Some government agencies either gather this information in different ways and/or are not permitted to share it. And regranting organizations may not collect it.

What if I don’t get selected? Can I still participate in some way?

Yes, in several ways! Funders can listen to the existing podcast series about the program. GIA will provide updates on the projects through its regular channels. In 2024, there may be a conference session about it and there is an intention to eventually share the system with the field.