In 2021, the Town of Brookline and the Brookline Community Foundation launched a Racial Equity Fund to support community organizations and efforts to advance racial equity and racial justice for the Brookline community. The Town of Brookline generously provided a $500,000 investment to seed the fund. The Brookline Community Foundation is now the proud owner and manager of the fund and facilitates the Racial Equity Grant Program.
The Racial Equity Grant Program was created to support community organizations, nonprofits, and other entities seeking funding for projects, programs, and initiatives that advance racial equity and racial justice for the Brookline community. This grant program will provide funding to address racial equity gaps that affect the quality of life for people of color in Brookline.
The Racial Equity Grant Program is the only grant program in our community that aims to address the impact of racism on the health, well-being, and overall quality of life for communities of color, and reallocate resources and power to those members of our community who have been historically marginalized and disadvantaged. We aim to do this by supporting projects that seek to reduce the racial inequities we are seeing in our community and by ensuring that funds go exclusively to lifting and building up members of our community who have been historically and/or are currently marginalized and disadvantaged.
Consistent with the fund’s purpose, a Racial Equity Grant Committee comprised of community members, representatives from the Town of Brookline, and representatives from BCF work collectively to identify priorities for each grant cycle, review applications, and make funding recommendations to the BCF Board of Trustees. To ensure a plurality of perspectives and lived experiences, the Committee includes a majority (more than 50%) people of color.
Values and priorities
BCF’s vision of a better Brookline for all who live, learn, work, and play here means working relentlessly to achieve equity—the condition where the dimensions of one’s identity have no influence on each of us getting what we need to survive or thrive. We recognize that many of the challenges we see across the country and here in Brookline have become more acute this past year and that BIPOC individuals and communities are disproportionately impacted by these challenges.
The Racial Equity Grant Committee’s activities and decisions will be rooted in and guided by the following values articulated by the Committee:
- We stand for the self-determination and empowerment of people who identify as Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC).
- We value BIPOC-led ideas, projects, and movements.
- We value efforts and organizations led by people of color who are working with groups that have been historically and/or are currently disadvantaged or marginalized, particularly those efforts and organizations that the philanthropic sector has traditionally underfunded.
- We value efforts and organizations focused on serving people of color and others who are currently disadvantaged or marginalized.
In alignment with these values, the Committee will consider proposals from all organizations and efforts in Brookline that seek to reduce racial inequities; however, the Committee will prioritize funding to BIPOC-led and BIPOC-serving applicants.
For this grant program, an organization/group is considered BIPOC-led if they meet at least one of the following three criteria:
- The organization/group’s Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer or Board Chair identifies as BIPOC.
- 50% or more of the organization’s leadership staff or program directors identify as BIPOC.
- 50% or more of board members identify as BIPOC.
501(c)(3) nonprofits organizations, Town departments or agencies, including the Town’s Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Relations (ODICR) or Commission for Diversity Inclusion and Community Relations (CDICR), and community groups can apply for funding. If you are a Town department or agency, please see our additional guidelines. Organizations and groups that are currently funded through other BCF grant programs are eligible to apply. BCF cannot make grants to individuals.
Eligible projects may include:
- New projects and innovations in need of seed funding;
- Existing projects or programs in need of ongoing funding;
- Shorter-term projects that address racial inequities by meeting the immediate, individual needs of people of color (Individual needs may present as low-wage jobs, poor physical health, mental health problems, alcohol and drugs misuse, personal financial crises, housing insecurity and instability, emergency medical situations, and experience of the criminal justice system);
- Longer-term projects and innovations that seek to address the root causes of racial inequities and reduce systemic barriers to equity and inclusion (Systemic barriers may involve poverty, inequality, housing supply and affordability, unemployment, access to affordable healthcare, access to healthy and nutritious food, and institutional racism), and;
- Projects that address racial inequities through power-building and movement building efforts.
Please see the Grant FAQs on our website for examples of projects within these categories.
The proposed work must serve the Brookline community, and must do so in a way that benefits the community as a whole rather than any particular individual or private entity’s benefit. We define the Brookline community as those who live, learn, work, or play in Brookline. To learn more about disparities and racial equity gaps in Brookline and in Massachusetts, please refer to the resources below:
We encourage applications from efforts, community groups, and organizations that have not had access to traditional funding sources or have been underfunded by philanthropy.
BCF is unable to provide direct support or scholarships to individuals and our grants cannot be used to cover travel costs, political campaigns, or lobbying.
The Racial Equity Grant Program is currently closed to new applications. Please check this page for updates about RFPs, timing, and and upcoming grantmaking cycles.
Application support & technical assistance (TA)
We encourage applicants to contact us prior to submitting your application so that we may support you, as needed, in your submission. We also welcome you to view the recording of our Virtual Information Session, offered in August 2022, to learn about BCF’s grant programs and application process.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions before, during or after the application process. We are happy to discuss ideas prior to submission.