Racial bias is built into the structure of all our institutions and the fabric of our everyday lives. Implicit bias affects us all, as does the historic trauma of racism. In Minnesota, economists often speak of the “Minnesota Paradox”: we are a state that is frequently identified as the best place in the country to live, while at the same time, Minnesota consistently records one of the greatest opportunity gaps in the country for people of color, and some of the worst outcomes in the country in education, employment, housing and health care for people of color. Our “dominant narrative” tells us that we’re doing great, but that is only true for some Minnesotans.
Over the years, the Board of HRK Foundation has directed funding to organizations and communities not represented by the dominant narrative, in areas such as Reproductive Justice, HIV/AIDs, Housing, Indigenous Rights, Access to Healthy Food and Immigration. However, we had not explicitly connected the dots between those issues and our country’s history of discrimination and legacy of stolen and denied opportunities.
At our May 2017 Board Meeting we agreed that it is time to make that connection, and passed a formal resolution to view all future grantmaking through the lens of racial equity and inclusion. This is not a new program area, but a new approach that will apply to all of our grantmaking.