Skip to content

Four steps foundations can take to ensure federal funds land equitably in BIPOC communities

Environment, Social Investment Practice

Editor’s note: This article was first published by Nonprofit Quarterly 

Federal legislation passed last year has made a record amount of public funds available. Yes, what made it across the finish line falls trillions short of what President Joe Biden advocated. Even so, the March 2022 $1.9 trillion American Recovery Plan Act (ARPA) (with its $350 billion in flexible relief funds for states, localities, tribes, and territories) and last November’s $579 billion infrastructure bill provide a unique chance for communities to reinvest in themselves.

But whose voices will decide how that federal money moves and where will it land?

BIPOC communities and BIPOC-led organizations have often been excluded from the benefits of federal funding—and indeed have often been directly harmed by federal spending. This time around, how do we ensure these dollars land equitably on the ground in communities with the greatest need, particularly in cities and neighborhoods where Black, Indigenous people, and people of color are the majority?

Ensuring federal infrastructure and recovery funds go where they are most needed requires both organizing in communities of color and smart philanthropic investments. Alongside community partners, it is imperative that philanthropy help reset not only what infrastructure is built, for whom, and to what purpose—but also who designs and builds it, and what systems of accountability are incorporated into the process.

In a Nonprofit Quarterly article, Kresge’s Environment Program Managing Director Lois DeBacker and Social Investment Practice Portfolio Director Joe Evans outline four steps philanthropy can take to help ensure federal infrastructure and recovery funds go where they are most needed.

Read the full article: Making Federal Infrastructure Funding Equitable—What Philanthropy Can Do