Philanthropy’s Role in Fostering a Just and Equitable Society

October 30, 2017

Blog post by Deb Dubin, President & CEO, Gateway Center for Giving

Where we’ve been: For more than three years, the Gateway Center for Giving (GCG) has been intentionally engaged in providing our funding community with opportunities to learn and dialogue about the issues of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). In the aftermath of Michael Brown’s death in August 2014, we tracked immediate regional philanthropic responses to the events in Ferguson and provided that information to our Members in order to foster collaboration and identify engagement points. Since that time, we have offered Members a robust series of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Funders Affinity Group programs, exploring DEI within our organizations and in the broader community. Our team developed a new sector tool, the Missouri Common Grant Application Version 2.0, which infuses an equity lens into the grantmaking process in order to foster transformation, spark dialogue and boost accountability. Most recently, we’ve become a community co-signor to a powerful statement calling for policy and decision-makers to deliver swift action on Ferguson Commission’s Calls to Action.

REWG co-chairs, Susan Taylor Batten, President and CEO of ABFE, and Tamara Copeland, President & CEO of the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers.

National implications for this work: As a member of the United Philanthropy Forum’s (the “Forum”) Racial Equity Working Group (REWG), I traveled to Washington, DC last week to participate in two days of conversations about how the Forum can best support a national philanthropic commitment to addressing and eradicating inequity. The Forum network consists of various moving parts, with sector leaders sitting in organizational seats all over the country. Some Forum members are already firmly engaged in substantial programming and activities intended to advance racial equity, diversity and inclusion, while others are newer to the work and seeking a meaningful path forward. The Forum intends to bring together all the groups working in this area to connect, learn and share from each other in a more intentional way.

The Forum’s REWG is being co-chaired by Susan Taylor Batten, President and CEO of ABFE: a Philanthropic Partnership for Black Communities, and Tamara Copeland, President & CEO of the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers. The REWG will focus on the following action items:

  • Identify effective resources, programming and strategies that have been developed and used to advance racial equity in philanthropy;
  • Identify any gaps in what is needed in resources and programming to advance racial equity in philanthropy;
  • Provide strategic guidance to the Forum staff to lift up, adapt and/or develop resources and programming that can be used by Forum members across the network;
  • Provide guidance to the Forum’s Education Committee and Board of Directors on the Forum’s strategic priorities and goals around advancing racial equity in philanthropy; and
  • Evaluate progress over time.

How can we, as philanthropy-supporting organizations (PSOs), foster a more just and equitable society? How can we encourage increased philanthropic investment to support transformative change?

This is a watershed moment. Organized philanthropy is a critical partner in the work, and the Gateway Center for Giving is committed to providing our Members with meaningful support and tools for action.

Gateway Center for Giving is grateful to the Trio Foundation of St. Louis, Commerce Bank, Spire, the Missouri Foundation for Health, and the Clemence Lieber Foundation for their support of our DEI-focused initiatives.


Nominations are open for the Excellence in Grantmaking Awards!

October 14, 2013
The Gateway Center for Giving celebrates the work of our grantmaking community through our Excellence in Grantmaking Awards, by honoring donors who fund programs, efforts, or initiatives that have made a significant impact in the region.

We are once again soliciting nominations from local nonprofits for our annual Excellence in Grantmaking Awards. Nominations are due by October 22, 2013.

How to Nominate a Grantmaker

If you would like to nominate a grantmaker for one or more of the award categories, please submit the below information via email to the Center no later than October 22, 2013.

If your nomination is chosen, you will be contacted to obtain more detailed information about the grant and the grantor.  Further, you and one other representative from your organization will be invited to the Center’s Annual Meeting on January 24, 2014 and will present the award to the grantmaker.

Please submit nominations to Danielle Wallis at For more information about our upcoming Annual Meeting please visit our website, Registration for the Annual Meeting will be available in November.

  1. Name of Nonprofit:
  2. Name and Title of NPO Contact:
  3. Phone and Email:
  4. Name of Grantmaker:
  5. Award Category (see below for descriptions of award categories):
  6. Brief Description of Grantmaker Activity for Selection Purposes:

(The Center will contact you for more information if your submission is selected for further review and consideration)

Awards Categories

At the Center’s Annual Meeting on January 24, 2014, grantmakers from within our community will be awarded from three categories.  They are:

Giving is ON TIME

This category recognizes a grantmaker who either abandoned traditional funding requirements to meet the immediate and/or emergency needs of nonprofits and clients in the community OR worked closely with a nonprofit to help them realign their programs and strategies to better meet the needs of their clients and the community during these difficult economic times.

2012 Awardee:  The Assistance League of St. Louiswon the Giving is On Time Award, and was nominated by Boys Hope, Girls Hope St. Louis.  Brian Hipp presented the award to Sandy Johnson, President of the Assistance League.

Giving is ON GOING

Creating lasting change is the goal of every grantmaker.  There is no better way to leave a legacy than by changing the future.  This category includes either giving that spans multiple years in order to demonstrate systems change OR a grant that allowed a nonprofit to institutionalize a program that is now self supporting and providing a revenue stream for the organization.

2012 Awardee: The Sunnen Foundation won the Giving is On Going award and was nominated by the YMCA of Greater St. Louis.  Gary Schlansker presented the award to Kurt Kallaus, President of the Sunnen Foundation.


In-kind support and volunteerism are critical to helping nonprofits stretch a dollar and strengthen their organization.  Being responsive to community needs often means leveraging resources beyond financial grants.

2012 Awardee: 

Dana Brown Charitable Trust won the Giving is Far Reaching award and was nominated by the Saint Louis Zoo and the Nine Network of Public Media. Cynthia Holter and Jack Galmiche presented the award to Dan Watt of Dana Brown Charitable Trust.


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