[Covering ABFE Special Session]
On the beautiful campus of Morehouse College, Dr. John Powell of Ohio State University discussed the role of foundations in ensuring that poor communities and race sensitive strategies are considered with regard to the allocation of the Federal stimulus with members of ABFE (Association of Black Foundation Executives). He asked whether the money will be used to maintain the status quo or transform an inequitable system? He made the point that the Federal money that was spent during the Great Depression exacerbated rather than narrowed racial disparities. Dr. Powell noted that current efforts to reform the credit system are not being implemented in a way to ensure that poor communities and communities of color will have fair access to credit. He argued that foundations must play an active role through public policy and advocacy in shaping how the stimulus money is directed. His final point was that universal programs that do not address race will continue to maintain disparities rather than eliminate them. How, when and where will the broader field of philanthropy begin to have these urgent discussions in addition to the affinity groups?