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Tackling Implicit Bias and Grantmaking with a Racial Equity Lens
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Tackling Implicit Bias and Grantmaking with a Racial Equity Lens

We have reached capacity for this event. If you would like to add your name to a waiting list, please contact Theresa Jackson at

When: Thursday, June 2, 2016
9:00 AM Registration; 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM Program
Where: Friends Center (Rufus Jones Room)
1501 Cherry Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania  19102
United States
Contact: Kabria Rogers, Administrative Associate

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This event has reached capacity. If you would like to be added to our waiting list, please contact Theresa Jackson at



 Tackling Implicit Bias and Grantmaking with a Racial Equity Lens 

We are in a moment where the nation’s racial discourse is more complex and ever-present than most have experienced before. Yet while issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion are so pervasive, for some it may feel even more challenging to effectively navigate and directly engage issues of race and racism.

Many funders recognize the imperative of understanding how race impacts their strategies, their engagement with grantees and their communities, and are looking for guidance in how to engage in this work and how to do it well.

Join Lori Villarosa of the Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity, and Alexis McGill Johnson of the Perception Institute to explore challenges and opportunities while learning about promising practices and tools to deepen discourse and strategies within your institution and community.

This session will address:

  • How foundations can most effectively incorporate a racial equity lens in their grantmaking
  • How our implicit biases impact our decision making, and what steps can be taken to counter these biases individually and institutionally

Breakfast will be provided. 

Philanthropy Network thanks the William Penn Foundation for supporting this event!



Lori Villarosa is the executive director and founder of the Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity (PRE).  Ms. Villarosa has been in philanthropy for more than 25 years. Prior to launching PRE, she was a program officer with the Flint-based C. S. Mott Foundation. She was instrumental in developing the Foundation's U.S. Race Relations grantmaking portfolio, focusing on addressing institutional racism and building appreciation of racial and ethnic diversity. 

Ms. Villarosa frequently serves as an advisor or presenter on a range of issues related to racial justice, intergroup relations, and philanthropy. She has served on the board of directors of several foundations and nonprofit organizations, currently including the Edward W. Hazen Foundation, which focuses on public education, youth organizing and structural racism; the Paul J. Aicher Foundation, which focuses on civic engagement and community dialogue to action; and Asian Pacific Islander American Health Forum, a national health justice organization.  In the past she has also served on the boards of the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation focused on Arkansas and Social Justice Fund-NW, focused on five states within the Northwest. She was active in leadership roles with the Association of Black Foundation Executives and Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy from the mid-1990s through recent years, though remains an active member of both.

She has led or co-facilitated direct in-house racial justice trainings at several foundations, and presented on racial justice grantmaking to a number of foundation boards, including most recently the Minneapolis Foundation and the Coastal Community Foundation of South Carolina. She has been a plenary or workshop presenter at countless foundation affinity group conferences, including from Grantmakers in the Arts, Environmental Grantmakers Association, Neighborhood Funders Group, Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrant and Refugees, Joint Affinity Groups combined conference (as well as many of its separate members’ conferences), and multiple regional association of grantmakers as well.

Alexis McGill Johnson is Executive Director of Perception Institute. She also currently serves as Chair of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. A thought leader and a bridge builder whose work spans politics, academia, social activism, and cultural strategies, Alexis has explored the shifting paradigms of identity and race-based politics in the post-civil rights era, increasing civic engagement among youth and people of color, and the implications for demographic and ideological changes of these constituencies on national politics. Her career and philanthropy have always, at their core, focused on improving the lives of young people, with an emphasis on youth of color. She is a frequent commentator on FOX News, CNN, MSNBC, and elsewhere. Alexis also serves on the board of Revolutions Per Minute, and is a past board member of Citizen Engagement Lab, New York Civil Liberties Union, and Center for Social Inclusion. She is a Founder of The Culture Group.



Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity

The goal of the Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity (PRE) is to increase the amount and effectiveness of resources aimed at combating institutional and structural racism in communities through capacity building, education, and convening of grantmakers and grantseekers.

Since its inception in January 2003, PRE has directly engaged hundreds of foundation representatives (including program staff, management, board members and individual donors) in discussions of racial equity and, in particular, how they can advance the mission of achieving racial equity through their own philanthropic institutions. PRE has conducted local and/or regional events in the Northwest, West, Midwest, Northeast and Southeast, as well as a number of national events.

In recent years, PRE’s work has shifted to much more advanced trainings for some funders, recognizing that even among those with the stated will, there is value in deepening their practice. Or in other spaces, we have been called upon by funder affinity groups who we had helped catalyze efforts that then built through others, but are now reconnecting with PRE as their members seek to move to the next level beyond much of the other crop of intermediaries.

PRE is a project of the Tides Center, a 501(c)3 organization that provides administrative and infrastructure support to new emerging charitable organizations who share its mission of striving for positive social change.PRE gratefully acknowledges major multiyear support from the C.S. Mott Foundation, as well as generous project support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Marguerite Casey Foundation, and Akonadi Foundation.

Perception Institute
Perception Institute is a consortium of researchers, advocates, and strategists that uses cutting-edge mind science research to reduce discrimination and other harms linked to race, gender, and other identity differences. Working in areas where bias has the most profound impact—education, health care, law enforcement and civil justice, and the workplace—they design interventions, evaluations, communications strategies, and trainings. Turning research into remedies, Perception Institute crafts real-world solutions for everyday relationships.

Perception Institute engages in and translates the best mind science research on identity differences into solutions that can be applied to everyday individual and institutional interactions. They design research, trainings, and cultural products that advocate for systemic and societal remedies to discrimination.

They recognize areas in our lives where bias based on identity differences has the most power to create harm or affect opportunity—our schools, our jobs, our hospitals, our justice system—and we design specific interventions to mitigate discriminatory effects.

They work with institutional stakeholders who bring a strong commitment to change, who value innovation, and who can help test solutions and bring them to scale, thereby transforming the lives of those most affected faster and more efficiently. Perception Institute brings its tested solutions back to practitioners and policy makers.