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Policy & Impact

Equitable Fundraising

We fundraise in radically different ways including advocating for a just funder culture and modeling a different way to fund leaders of color.

At Common Future, we fundraise in radically different ways including advocating for a just funder culture and modeling a different way to fund leaders of color—both as the recipients of grants, and for those who receive grants from us. 

And yet, we are operating in a system that was by design, built to exacerbate the conditions that have extracted from, exploited and harmed the very communities we represent and work in. And that rears its ugly head, even in relationships with donors built on trust and community-centered fundraising principles.

Disparities in Funding for BIPOC Leaders.


Bridgespan and Echoing Green found unrestricted funding for Black-led organizations was 76% smaller than for white-led organizations. What this means is, funders don’t trust Black, Indigenous, leaders of color or organizations run by them.

“46% of grants cost more than they’re worth”

Sometimes the administrative cost of a grant is more than the actual amount awarded to the organization due to extraneous reporting requirements. As Tom Neill explains, when we calculate all-in costs for grants—which includes paying employees or contractors, time spent working on the application, and requirements post grant award—46% of grants are likely a net loss for nonprofits.

Fundraising is Steeped in Inequity.

Can Nonprofits be empowered to present their terms of considerations for funders and hold them accountable to the expectations? 

We’d like to think so.

Often, when a nonprofit is served a grant agreement, it’s a unidimensional document for what is supposed to be a bilateral relationship.

In theory, it should be simple for nonprofits to share their terms of consideration with funders—after all a contract is drafted by both parties. However, when we did our research, we found the opposite: we found an utter lack of templates, examples of clauses, nonprofit agreements for funders, or addendums. 



Adjacent examples we saw were Amelia Garza and Jennifer Holmes’ Fundraiser Bill of Rights—Creating Equitable Partnerships, WISE Fund’s Global Principles for Funding Equity, IVAR’s Open and Trusting Grant Making Commitments, and the ABFE Investment Manager Diversity Pledge

We created the Equity Commitment as an open source tool to be used for this purpose. An upfront way for nonprofits to share their expectations of funders and ensure an equitable relationship for the duration of the grant or contribution.

Equity Commitment FAQ.


Contact Us.

For general inquiries about the Equity Commitment document, the process of making it, or any other questions, fill out this form.