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PEAK Grantmaking

Philanthropy’s Long Road Toward Racial Equity

Generosity is as old as humanity. In the modern era, giving became professionalized, scientific, and focused on the underlying root causes of societal concerns, and with that, institutions came to control the largesse and create systems that restrict how money is disbursed. Activists and movement leaders have long fought for changes, but it has only been in the recent past that the field of philanthropy began to acknowledge its flaws and sought to rectify them. Here, our intention is to highlight both obstacles and progress by offering a sampling of some of the historical developments, milestones, and pioneers in the journey. As these examples show, contemporary movement builders have been creating a road map for the change we need to see. Now philanthropy just needs to follow it.   5th Century BC The earliest recorded use of the word philanthropy, which is derived from the ancient Greek for “love of