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Ocotber Highlight | Engaging with Donors of Color

30 Oct 2023 2:15 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Engaging Donors of Color Profile photo of Renee Ferrufino

Led by Renee Ferrufino, ILD '16, Vice President of Development, The Women's Foundation of Colorado

To engage with donors of color and build meaningful relationships, organizations must show a commitment to understanding different cultures and their unique values around giving. For example, many diverse donors give to houses of worship or religious groups that play an integral role in their lives and their communities. You may also learn that these donors value and give to organizations that focus specifically on their own race or ethnic group as well universities or educational programs providing opportunities to first-generation college students.

Build authentic relationships with your donors of color and create an inclusive culture among your board of directors to encourage these donors to take leadership roles. In its June 2021 report on board composition and practices, Board Source noted that 78% of board members in its survey sample were white. Similarly, a recent survey by the Center for Effective Philanthropy found that of 218 foundations that responded, more than half (57%) had fewer than 25% people of color representation on their board. Yet, research shows that organizations with more BIPOC leaders on their boards express a stronger commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion internally and to racial justice being incorporated as a programmatic priority externally.

What can you do? How do you "walk the talk"?

  • Let the community drive your program choices and seek donors who align with these needs and your mission.
  • Use tools like "Awake Awoke To Work" from the Kresge Foundation.
  • Allocate the time and resources needed to be successful.
  • Transition your leadership from the mindset that this work can be finished. This is forever work.
  • Create an organizational action plan.

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Institute for Leaders in Development
at University of Denver

University Hall 301
2197 S. University Blvd.
Denver, CO 80208


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