June 4, 2020

Our Commitment to Ending Racism

By Bob Sorge

Madison Community Foundation (MCF) has a long-standing vision: that greater Madison will be a vibrant and generous place where all people thrive. Unfortunately, that vision feels as remote today as it ever has.

Men, women and children should be able to go about their lives free from worry that something as basic as their skin color could mean the difference between life and death on any given day. But we have been reminded, repeatedly, over just the past two weeks that this is not the case in our country, nor in our community. We recognize the intense emotions that have led people to pour onto the streets in the midst of a pandemic to make their voices heard. We want you to know that we are listening – and we hear you.

MCF has a strong history of grants to support diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in our community. In just the last three years (2017 through 2019), we have made 50 grants from our Community Impact fund to support many organizations striving to strengthen equity in our community. And while we applaud the progress made by programs and organizations we have supported, we recognize that we must bring our community together to achieve far more, on a much greater scale.

As the community’s foundation, you have our commitment to always:

  1. Use our voice to denounce racism and discrimination in all its forms.
  2. Use our resources to fund strong DEI initiatives in our community.
  3. Align our systems, policies, and culture to help us think and act in more inclusive and equitable ways.

We know we cannot eliminate racism by organizational commitments alone. Racism ends when hearts change. We all must look inward. So, as your neighbor, you also have my personal commitment to:

  1. Listen carefully – understanding that I need to learn from those most impacted by racism and other forms of discrimination.
  2. Reflect honestly – accepting the fact that what I find may add weight to my shoulders, but will reduce it for others.
  3. Act emphatically – knowing that opportunities are lost for people of color every day.

Racism is not something for people of color alone to resolve – it’s something we all need to commit to ending. The origin of the word "philanthropy" is "humanity, benevolence, love of mankind." Together with our community we can realize this vision to create a place where people don't just live, but rather where they thrive.

Learn more about Madison Community Foundation