Joint Affinity Groups Stand in Unity to Address Racism in Philanthropy (click to download) August 14, 2014- In recent months, Dan Snyder, owner of the Washington football team, established the “Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation.” Snyder has said he recognizes the tremendous inequities faced by Native American communities and has pledged to work in partnership with Native Americans to foster “genuine opportunities for tribal communities.” Unfortunately, these laudable philanthropic goals are undermined by the continued use of a racist slur in the name of the foundation and the franchise that founded it. As a coalition of philanthropic networks representing communities of color, LGBTQ communities, women, and young and emerging leaders, we believe that philanthropy can only address long-standing inequities if we work with underserved communities as respected and valued partners. Foundations rooted in tribal communities and some leading national and regional foundations have done exactly that, resulting in powerful philanthropic models for social change and partnership with Native communities. The Original Americans Foundation is treating Native communities disrespectfully, thus failing to follow these best practices from the start. Native Americans in Philanthropy, a founding partner of the Joint Affinity Groups and a leading philanthropic voice for Native Americans, has challenged the field regarding this issue and more deeply about its commitment to inclusiveness and equity. Our philanthropic community can only have a meaningful dialogue about how to advance equity, diversity, and inclusion if we listen to and lift up diverse voices. We encourage you to read and consider the statement below by Carly Hare, executive director of Native Americans in Philanthropy. In unity, Peggy Saika President & Executive Director Asian American and Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP) Susan Batten President & CEO Association of Black Foundation Executives (ABFE) Rahsaan Harris Executive Director Emerging Practitioners In Philanthropy (EPIP) Ben Francisco Maulbeck President & CEO Funders for LGBTQ Issues Carly Hare Executive Director Native Americans in Philanthropy (NAP) Michele Ozumba President & CEO Women’s Funding Network Diana Campoamor President Hispanics in Philanthropy Native Americans in Philanthropy Statement (click to download) Native Americans in Philanthropy strives to power reciprocity and increase investments in Native communities by growing the circle of nonprofits, tribal communities and foundations committed to the beliefs, traditions and values of Native peoples. This includes advocating for more resources and funding for Native communities. While NAP encourages new resources, we must also assess the context in which these ‘gifts’ are given and if they expand our systems of reciprocity or exacerbates the charity/poverty model. On March 24, 2014, Dan Snyder announced the launch of the Washington DC football team’s Original Americans Foundation. With this announcement we encourage you to consider some the questions below that this foundation presents:
- Does using an identifiably racist/stereotypic mascot term really ‘honor’ Native communities?
- Is it exploitive to offer funds or other financial benefits to underserved tribal communities in exchange for tacit permission to continue using that identifiably racist/stereotypic mascot term?
- When does public relations outweigh racism?
- How will the foundation work with existing Native and Tribal foundations and long-term funding partners?
- What is the actual commitment by the foundation and how is that compared to other corporate foundation benchmarks?
- Can philanthropy leverage/increase investments to make foundations like the Original Americans Foundation irrelevant?
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