Our Commitment to Equity

Our Commitment to Equity

In mid-2020, the vast existing racial inequities highlighted by the pandemic and the murder of George Floyd prompted many in the philanthropic space to reexamine their practices and commitment to equity, the Grunin Foundation included. Acknowledging this work was long overdue, this pivotal moment spurred us into deep, transformative work, engaging at both the individual and organizational levels. We actively gathered resources, participated in racial equity trainings, deeply investigated our own complicity in the flawed philanthropic system, and joined task forces, marking the beginning of a lifelong journey toward a more equitable future. Simultaneously, we invested in building out an Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging (EDIB) framework, with the support of Idea2Form, meant to serve as a lens for all foundation decisions moving forward. This comprehensive effort involved deep interaction with the community, alongside new funding commitments and initiatives aimed at fostering lasting positive change. As a part of our commitment to becoming a more equitable funder, we also took several significant steps. In January of 2022, we added six board members, each bringing extensive knowledge, experience, and diverse perspectives to guide and provide strategic direction to the organization. Four of these new board members were community members, a shift from the previous all family board.

In November of 2022, we hired our inaugural Director of Thriving Communities, tasked with advancing our EDIB strategic framework and Capacity Building programming. In early 2023, we welcomed our seventh board member. To date, we have a total of nine board members (five family and four community members), and we plan to bring on two additional community board members by the end of 2024. In late 2022, we realized not only that our funding and EDIB strategies were operating separately, but also that we needed to be more connected to community to truly fund equitably. We believe it is essential to our mission to find meaningful ways to integrate Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging in everything we do. We have pledged to co-learn and work with our partners, colleagues, and communities to help break down barriers, uplift marginalized voices, celebrate diversity, and champion a more just and equitable society. To achieve this, we took a step back and engaged experienced consultants from the Novalia Collective to guide us through our strategic planning process. It’s important to note that during this pause, the Foundation sustained funding to our existing grantees, grew our capacity-building initiatives, and continued to build relationships in the community. Overall, this journey aims to transform the organization, resulting in a more integrated and comprehensive approach that seamlessly ties all the work together.

In February of 2024, after a year of working in partnership with community and with guidance from our consulting partners, The Novalia Collective, we shared the results of our strategic plan including:

  • reimagined mission, vision, values
  • overall strategic priorities
  • funding priorities
  • grantmaking process

You can learn more here about how we are continuing our journey with more clarity, collaboration, and community as we work towards an equitable, just, and vibrant Central Jersey Shore.