Organization spotlight: William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
In our recent Inclusive Funding Strategies webinar, staff members from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation shared about how they are advancing their diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) strategy.
Buy-in from foundation leadership is the central component of their ability to advance racial equity work, both internally and in their external grantmaking processes. Hewlett President Larry Kramer has been a staunch supporter of our efforts with the InDEEP Initiative and the Presidents’ Forum, demonstrating to his staff the importance the foundation places on the work.
Here’s a look at four other areas where Hewlett is making strides.
Strategy and mission alignment
The Hewlett Foundation has worked to refresh its overall operations, internally and externally, to reflect the value the organization places on DEI. As a result, the foundation has begun tracking grantee demographic data, created its DEI statement and has launched several task forces designed to help move the work along (e.g., the “Building an Inclusive Culture” task force). Additionally, the foundation has worked to engage the leadership of underrepresented groups.
Investment in diversity, equity and inclusion field-building efforts
Hewlett’s efforts to invest and participate in DEI efforts in the field have included their work with KHA and with other DEI-focused efforts, like leadership development training through programs like the Environmental Leadership Initiative and the Community Leadership Project. They’ve also worked to have greater diversity in the speakers they invite to speak, for both internal and external events, with a wider range of themes.
Commitment of staff
The flipside of leadership buy-in, of course, is a committed staff. Hewlett’s staff has made strides toward greater racial equity by rethinking some of the organization’s grantmaking processes, expanding their networks, funding new grantees, and focusing on DEI organizational effectiveness grants and regranting through DEI-focused organizations.
More diverse staff
Finally, Hewlett is seeking to truly walk the talk by seeking diverse representation on its own staff. The organization has engaged expert resources and tapped into new networks to begin building this staff, and it also has begun prioritizing more diverse candidate pools for open positions.
Like any organization, Hewlett Foundation’s racial equity efforts are a work in progress, and their staff are quick to acknowledge that they have more to do and more to learn. Based on the progress they’ve already made, organizations coming along behind them can look to the lessons they’ve learned and the steps they’ve taken as important guidance in their own DEI journeys.