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Kresge, partners go InDEEP to integrate diversity and equity in environmental grantmaking


Helping environmental grantmakers better incorporate diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) into their work is the focus of a new professional development initiative supported by The Kresge Foundation.

The Inclusion, Diversity and Equity in Environmental Philanthropy Initiative (InDEEP) will help philanthropic organizations learn from one another and become more responsive to the needs and interests of the sector. The initiative launched earlier this year with a peer-learning exchange at the Hewlett Foundation in Menlo Park, California. Shamar Bibbins, program officer, and Jessica Boehland, senior program officer with Kresge’s Environment Program attended the kickoff.

“InDEEP is part professional development series and part learning network,” said Bibbins. “We believe that a strong analysis around diversity, equity and inclusion is foundational to ensuring that low-income communities benefit from investments intended to help communities prepare for climate and environmental risk. A wide range of philanthropic leaders committed to DEI in environmental grantmaking have been eager to come together and learn from each other. This initiative is a response to this need.”

Through a series of peer-learning sessions, field-building activities, and technical assistance, InDEEP will support environmental grantmakers in developing skills and strategies to strengthen existing DEI efforts and implement new practices. The initiative, funded through Kresge’s Environment Program, is also supported by the William and Flora Hewlett and the Schmidt Family foundations.

The first peer-learning exchange brought together 32 funders representing a broad range of national, regional and community foundations as well as corporate philanthropy. In total, the group reflected nearly $33 billion in philanthropic assets.

Over the next two years, InDEEP will serve as a stimulus for much-needed change in the environmental grantmaking. Future peer-learning series will focus on grantmaking, leadership development, pipeline development and equity as impact.