Valuing racial equity requires examining how our organizational practices can
support equitable outcomes by assessing/addressing racial disparities and
inequity. The panel process involves a system of often unquestioned activities–assumed to be inherently impartial-that directly impact funding outcomes.
To address racial equity in the panel process, we must actively investigate
who has access to opportunities and who doesn’t. Put another way, anti-racist grantmakers must design and implement systems and protocols that increase access and decrease barriers for historically under-resourced groups. We must ask ourselves: Who submits applications? Who do we award? How do we train panel moderators, panelists, and facilitators? In what ways can we interrupt racial bias and contribute to systemic change?
By interrogating every step of the process from applicant pool, to the selection and training of panelists, to the panel experience and outcomes, as well as our communication with grant-seeking artists and organizations every step of the way, we can apply a racial equity lens to grantmaking and move from being part of the problem to being part of the solution.