When I stepped into leadership five years ago at the Haas, Jr. Fund, I knew one thing for sure—we needed to keep pushing for a country and a society where we all belong.
The pandemic and the racial uprising of 2020 put a bright spotlight on the inequities and the disparities that keep so many people from finding opportunity, safety, and good health. Today, the tensions and the crises are not letting up as we witness unprecedented global conflicts, deepening political polarization, and divisive, harmful narratives about immigrants, LGBTQ people, and Muslims and Jews.
In the face of these problems, one would hope to see a larger focus on bridging our differences and bringing people together. But across society, the voices for inclusion and belonging are having a hard time breaking through. Even in philanthropy, we are seeing a retrenchment as funders’ support for racial justice and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) has experienced a drop-off from the period following the murder of George Floyd.
For the Haas, Jr. Fund and many of the foundation partners we work with, this is no time to step back. If anything, we believe the current moment calls on us to take a harder look at what we do and how we do it, and to explore new ways to find—and advance—our common humanity.
Here are some of the things we're working on.