Racial bias is built into the structure of all our institutions and the fabric of our everyday lives. Implicit bias affects us all, as does the historic trauma of racism. In Minnesota, economists often speak of the “Minnesota Paradox”: we are a state that is frequently identified as the best place in the country to live, while at the same time, Minnesota consistently records one of the greatest opportunity gaps in the country for people of color, and some of the worst outcomes in the country in education, employment, housing and health care for people of color. Our “dominant narrative” tells us that we’re doing great, but that is only true for some Minnesotans.
Over the years, the Board of HRK Foundation has directed funding to organizations and communities not represented by the dominant narrative, in areas such as Reproductive Justice, HIV/AIDs, Housing, Indigenous Rights, Access to Healthy Food and Immigration. However, we had not explicitly connected the dots between those issues and our country’s history of discrimination and legacy of stolen and denied opportunities.
At our May 2017 Board Meeting we agreed that it is time to make that connection, and passed a formal resolution to view all future grantmaking through the lens of racial equity and inclusion. This is not a new program area, but a new approach that will apply to all of our MAHADH Fund grantmaking.
Spring 2019 Update
As we work to implement our Racial Equity Statement and learn more about the far-reaching implications of unequal access to resources in our community, we are adjusting our MAHADH Fund grantmaking to be more inclusive. Our goal is to redirect a portion of MAHADH funding to organizations committed to the work of dismantling persistent patterns of inequity.
As proponents of unrestricted operating support and strong relationships with community partners, the Board recognizes that its new direction means redirecting funds from some long-term community partners to new partners that have not been recognized as part of Minnesota’s dominant narrative. We celebrate the organizations that have long benefited from MAHADH support and look forward to building new relationships as we move forward.
In May of 2017, we formally prioritized equitable funding and this work will guide our ongoing decision making. We are grateful to our community partners already working in this area for their leadership and encouragement as we learn to work differently for the well-being of our whole community.
As a small foundation with limited resources, adjusting our funding toward racial equity will be a gradual and considered process, and the Board is accepting proposals by invitation only at this time.