A Guide to Advancing Racial Equity Through Philanthropy

Written By

Crystal Hayling

Executive Director, The Libra Foundation

Chad Bolick

Executive Director, Head of Philanthropy Management,
Morgan Stanley

Beyond Juneteenth, Morgan Stanley continues to reflect on our efforts to advance racial equity.

As we renew our commitment to learning and growing in this pursuit, the Philanthropy Management team created “Mind the Gap: A Guide to Advancing Racial Equity Through Philanthropy”“Mind the Gap: A Guide to Advancing Racial Equity Through Philanthropy” to empower our clients to effectively harness their own philanthropic efforts in this area. This educational resource and call to action features a curated list of nonprofit organizations and new grant opportunities that are working to combat systemic discrimation.

While supporting the listed organizations is a start, there are several strategies that philanthropists can apply to advance racial equity. Mostly, this requires rethinking the way we approach giving. Here are some tactics to consider:

  1. Practice trust-based philanthropy. Trust grantees and expertise derived from lived experience.
    • DO: Apply the best practices noted below to your giving and be vulnerable.
    • DON’T: Shy away from experimentation and revert to what’s comfortable (for you).
  2. Cede power. Adapt and apply the Democracy Frontlines Fund (DFF) modelDemocracy Frontlines Fund (DFF) model to your charitable giving.
    • DO: Consider ways to shift power and decision-making to those with expertise.
    • DON’T: Assume privilege trumps expertise and lived experience.
  3. Align place-based philanthropy and need. Consider funding beyond your local community.
    • DO: Practice being geographically agnostic and focus on areas in which the racial wealth gap is most acute.
    • DON’T: Assume your local community needs more support.
  4. Provide unrestricted funding. Respect the vision, mission, and time of nonprofit employees.
    • DO: Empower nonprofits with the unburdened capital they need to execute their programs.
    • DON’T: Burden nonprofits with unnecessary proposal and reporting bureaucracy to satisfy your needs.
  5. Fund endowments. Stabilize BIPOC-led organizations with predictable funding streams.
    • DO: Trust in BIPOC- led nonprofits to steward assets and thrive with more consistent revenue via endowments.
    • DON’T: Assume upstart, BIPOC-led organizations cannot take on large grants.
  6. Fund, Listen, Learn.1 Remember this mantra, featured in this recent article.
    • DO: Be humble, move the money, listen to the community you aim to serve, and adapt your approach.
    • DON’T: Neutralize, or worse - waste - the precious resources you bring to the table. Donors are not the solution; they fund the solution.

The prevailing racial disparities in nonprofit funding translate to a gap of nearly $20 million between white-led and Black-led early-stage nonprofit organizations. “Mind the Gap” is an effort to help philanthropists more effectively mobilize resources towards leaders who would otherwise encounter significant barriers to capital and adopt more equitable philanthropic practices to remedy racial injustice.

Want more insight?

Download this Report

Swing for the Fences Article

Mind the Gap: A Guide to Advancing Racial Equity Through Philanthropy

If you’re a Reserved client, please log in to download the guide.

Not a Reserved client? We are pleased to make this available to you. Please fill out the following form to access Morgan Stanley's Single Family Office Governance & Compensation report.

I am a(n):

By providing your contact information, you consent to receive informational emails from Morgan Stanley. For more information, see our Privacy Policy.

Download full report
Download full report


The report should automatically download. If it does not download, please click this link.


1 “Transformative Philanthropy for Racial Justice,” Stanford Social Innovation Review,

+ Expand - Collapse
CRC 4784574 08/22