Protocol for Discussing Diversity With Grantees Discussion questions and support strategies

The Ford Foundation articulates its commitment to diversity in terms of the quality it seeks to achieve, both in desired results and the “talent pools” from which it draws. In reviewing proposals, program staff work through a set of open-ended questions with potential grantees on a case-by-case basis to clarify the connection between diversity and quality. Grantmakers may also take certain steps, including providing additional support, to help grantees meet diversity goals.

Questions for Discussion

  • What forms of diversity (gender, racial, cultural, religious, immigrant/refugee background, linguistic, etc.) do you think are important for strengthening the quality of the work proposed and why? Does your organization’s staff and governance reflect this diversity?
  • How do you propose to draw upon diverse perspectives in the community or field that the proposed work will serve?
  • What diversity challenges does your organization face in its work overall?
  • What progress has your organization made to increase its diversity in the last two to three years?

Menu of Support Strategies

  • Establish specific goals for increasing the representation of under-represented groups in the organization’s board or staff
  • Ask the organization to form a project advisory committee that better represents underrepresented groups
  • Make a linked grant to an organization that better represents underrepresented groups to promote its participation and involvement in the project
  • Provide support for staff and board recruitment activities designed to improve the diversity of the organization
  • Work with other grantmakers supporting the organization to establish expectations and support work to improve the diversity of the organization
  • Condition subsequent grant payments on progress toward diversity goals
  • Involve senior foundation leadership in discussions with the organization to highlight the importance of diversity and the inclusion of underrepresented people in foundation-funded work


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