A few weeks ago, we were happy to join several hundred of our colleagues in San Francisco for Hispanics in Philanthropy’s (HIP) 2015 Conference and HIPGiver Gala. The daylong series of events focused on Latino leadership in the philanthropic sector, as well as exploring the needs and opportunities for investing in the Latino community.
The conference raised a number of important diversity and inclusion issues in philanthropy. The Council’s own President and CEO Vikki Spruill recently called for a moment of reflection on our field’s approach to diversity. She wrote, “We must inform ourselves, do our part to develop our field, and begin conversations about how best to build organizations that reflect humanity in all its rich diversity.” Recent data on foundation staff composition has highlighted some of the larger diversity challenges in the field, but more research is needed to paint a complete picture.
From our point view, the attendees and speakers at the HIP conference seemed to reflect an increasing consensus that more can be done to build a more equitable society. The conference highlighted a range of individuals and organizations working on a variety of aspects of this larger effort within philanthropy.
The conference opened with a plenary focused on the personal stories and careers of several CEOs and foundation leaders. Diana Campoamor, the energetic and thoughtful leader of HIP, moderated a discussion with the leaders of the Puerto Rico Community Foundation, the Community Foundation of Greater Buffalo, and the Seattle International Foundation. The plenary provided solid advice about some of the challenges, opportunities, and points of consideration facing aspiring leaders. They highlighted a need to be open to new experiences, but more importantly, they emphasized the need to build partnerships both inside and outside of philanthropy.
The breakout sessions at the conference touched on some of the more specific actions that philanthropy professionals should address.
A session on creating a stronger pipeline of Latino leaders gave important context for understanding the inter-related systems that often hinder Latino career advancement. This isn’t a dynamic that’s unique to philanthropy. The session looked at how industry culture, institutional reputation, and personal challenges are creating an expanding but still narrow pipeline of talent.
A key theme of the breakouts was the need to advocate for all communities, not just one’s own. In order to create a more equitable field, all people must think about the experiences and needs of different communities. In the conversation focused on boys and men of color, a number of panelists reminded the audience of the ways that bias and prejudice can shape the lived experience of racial and ethnic minorities, further driving home the importance of advocating for one another.
The conference closed with the annual HIPGiver Gala, a celebration of Latino leadership in the field. The gala highlighted stories of the extraordinary individuals who exemplify the spirit of generosity and charity within philanthropy. The evening was intended to provide a voice and platform to the communities served by philanthropy. See some of those stories highlighted in a video prepared for the evening.
The President and CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation La June Montgomery Tabron provided the keynote address. She spoke of the need to build inclusive movements of people, from the ground up. Weaving in her own personal story of success and philanthropic service, she spoke of the need to create conditions for children to thrive. “All communities of color,” she said, ”need to work together and make sure that all children succeed.”
Ongoing efforts like this HIP conference are contributing to our field’s understanding of diversity in philanthropy, and we’re grateful to have had the experience of engaging with our colleagues in order to catalyze new action.
Storme Gray is a Program Coordinator for Professional Development, Diversity & Inclusion at the Council on Foundations and a member of the Steering Committee for the DC Chapter of Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy.
Jesse Salazar is Vice President of Communications at the Council on Foundations, a member of the board of directors for the Communications Network, and a member of Hispanics in Philanthropy.