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

Deadline: November 1, 2023

How do we know how much progress we’re making as we work to advance racial equity in our arts funding—
as a funder and as a field?

How do we know what that progress means over time?


Grantmakers in the Arts (GIA) and the Doris Duke Foundation invite arts funders to work with your peers to explore the answers to these questions.

Over the last five years, the Arts Program at the Doris Duke Foundation (DDF), with Callahan Consulting for the Arts (CCA) has been leading Racial Equity in Grantmaking (REG), a project to design and test a system for measuring the racial equity of its grantmaking.

In recent years, REG has been conducted in partnership with Grantmakers in the Arts (GIA). GIA introduced this Racial Equity in Grantmaking project through this blog; and described the experience of participating in the Racial Equity in Grantmaking Coding Project Cohort in this podcast with Susan Feder, (Mellon Foundation); Adam Fong (William & Flora Hewlett Foundation), and Maurine Knighton (Doris Duke Foundation); and this podcast with Eleanor Savage (Jerome Foundation), and Tiffany Wilhelm (Opportunity Fund).

GIA and DDF now seek members to participate in a Cohort of around ten funders that will use the REG measurement system to assess their giving for racial equity, participate in collegial exchange, and provide feedback on their experience.  Funders who participated in the past valued the sense of collegiality that developed among cohort members as that went through the process of coding their grants and discussing results.  Based on their endorsement, DDF and GIA are offering this opportunity to other funders.  And, GIA is gearing up to share this measurement system with the arts field in late 2024, so it can be adapted and used more broadly.

The goals are for arts funders to:

  • move from general impressions of progress to concrete data about the degree to which our grant portfolios are making progress in advancing racial equity.
  • augment our grants data with an agreed-upon set of measures of racial equity (see requirements below).
  • take ownership and control over our data and our story of addressing racial equity.
  • eventually, consider setting goals related to racial equity to which we can hold ourselves and our field accountable.


Cohort members will be required to prepare and submit data about their arts portfolio, as well as attend meetings and review and respond to materials.

Cohort members will commit to participating in the project over an approximate nine-month period, comprising three to four 90-minute meetings, plus additional time to complete project data. See FAQs to learn more about the time involved.

We anticipate the following steps:

  • Provide access to program grant records in a designated format for the designated time period of four years, 2018-2022. REG uses a common data template, which has been adapted from the Candid eReporter template.
  • Code your organization’s grant records. Coding will be done using a Working Guide, a set of measures that were designed with arts funders including DDF, Jerome Foundation, Mellon Foundation, Opportunity Fund and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation in prior rounds of REG. You will sort and code your grants across two stages:

    – Rough Sort.  A quick review to remove grants that are not related to racial equity.
    – Refined Coding. A closer assessment of each individual grant remaining on the list. In this step, program staff will apply ratings (e.g., low, medium, high) across three measures related to the organization, grant activities and beneficiaries and write a short rationale for each code.

    To ensure consistency in the ways that ratings are applied across funders, CCA will review the ratings from each of these phases. Staff may receive questions about the coding of select grants.

  • Review short reports that summarize findings from each of the DDF programs.
  • Attend approximately three to four 90-minute meetings from late 2023 to fall 2024.
  • Sign a confidentiality statement about this project. 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.


Participating arts funders will receive:

  • Access to the measurement system.
  • A confidential report that compares each cohort member’s progress in addressing racial equity, using the measurement system.
  • The chance to engage in collegial exchange with other funders who have expressed similar interests and are committed to accountability.
  • Ideas for how to use the measurement system internally, including the possibility of applying it to other giving areas.  


The selection process will take place in 2023. See below for details on applying and selection. The orientation and grant coding process will take place in 2024. Anticipated dates are:

  • Full grant data (uncoded) will be due in January 2024.
  • The Rough Sort will be completed by late February 2024.
  • The Refined Coding will be completed by June or July 2024.

Selection Criteria

GIA seeks members with:

  • Past engagement with racial equity in their grantmaking through, for example, grants made, programs, decisions, and policies.
  • The willingness to learn about effectiveness in addressing racial equity.
  • The desire to hold themselves accountable in addressing racial equity within their giving.
  • The capacity to participate, as outlined above.

We will select a group of foundations with a range of budget sizes that support the arts in a variety of ways.

To Apply

To express interest, complete the form at this link by November 1, 2023. The questions asked are available separately here. GIA will select a group of 10-15 funders for a short interview in December 2023. A group of about 10 will be selected.

Questions? Email