Walking the Talk for Equity

In a new blog post on the “culture of cultural fit,” Vu Le offers tips on how the social sector can be thoughtful about the issue of cultural fit, a term that gets thrown around but is harmful to equity because it’s ill-defined and poorly used. Vu says we need to “examine ‘cultural fit,’ keep what’s good, and change for the better. Here are a few recommendations”

And his number one recommendation? Values-based. Just as PEAK Grantmaking is talking about values-based grantmaking and the need to articulate your organization’s values and think about what they express, one of the top thought leaders in the sector is on board with that idea. Le continues:

Define your values and give concrete examples: Effective org cultures are based on a strong set of values. Never, ever, EVER use the term “cultural fit” if you haven’t defined your values, including coming up with a list of concrete actions that demonstrate how each of the values is expressed. Having unwritten rules is one of the best ways to perpetuate inequity, racism, sexism, ableism, ageism, etc. Here are my organization’s values and actions. This list is not perfect, but it serves us well. Take time to define your values and talk about what they look like at your organization.

Over the past year, PEAK Grantmaking has conducted a survey of our members, engaged in follow up research, conducted two sessions at our annual conference, and engaged a diverse advisory council to help guide our work on what it means to connect your values to your practices.

We believe that, whether explicit or implicit, all grantmakers have core values that motivate and inform their work. However, those core values often aren’t reflected in their grantmaking practices.
Through grantmaking practices, a foundation reveals to grantseekers the values that inform and guide its view of the world and its aspirations for funded partners and partnerships.

By making the connection of practices to values more explicit, PEAK Grantmaking believes the field can achieve consensus about and begin to adopt a more consistent set of effective grantmaking practices.

We’re presenting our research findings and our tips for aligning values with practices in workshops at PEAK Grantmaking regional chapters and in other venues through the rest of this year and into 2018. Find a presentation near you to learn more.

Nikki Powell

Nikki Powell is PEAK Grantmaking's communications and practices director. You can find her on Twitter @nikkiwpowell.