Racial Justice

Through peer-to-peer learning, collective brainstorming, and creative problem solving, WDN creates spaces for members to deepen their understanding of and respond to persistent racial inequity. We believe that together we can find ways to reflect our deepest-held values in our work and our actions.

In 2015, WDN partnered with Class Action to launch an Allies for Racial Justice series to strategize about how progressive women donors can be effective allies, particularly across race and class. Through in-person workshops and online conversations, we are developing practical solutions to help us in our ongoing work to “walk the talk” in our grantmaking, investing, advocacy, and daily lives.

In 2014, WDN joined with other donor and philanthropic networks to discuss how the philanthropic community could support racial justice movement-building, police accountability, and organizing in Ferguson and beyond. WDN partnered with seven other donor and philanthropic networks to develop a pledge page to increase funding of the racial justice movement. More than $1.5 million was pledged by individual donors to support racial justice organizations.

WDN’s Donor Circles incorporate a focus on racial justice in the development of educational programming for our membership, including topics ranging from reproductive justice, to supporting voting rights, to strengthening the criminal justice reform movement.

WDN and seven other donor and philanthropic networks partnered to create a Racial Justice Pledge to increase funding of racial justice movement-building.



In 2008, the Racial Justice Working Group (RJWG), made up of WDN members and staff, was formed to create spaces for members to deepen their understanding of racial justice work and to identify ways to respond to persistent racial inequity through personal, institutional, and systemic change. The RJWG conducted in-depth surveys of WDN members interested in expanding the conversation about race within WDN, through a series of interviews and in sessions at our annual conference.

The working group created educational programming for members and partners linked to the PBS special report “Race: The Power of an Illusion,” hosting screenings and dialogues in WDN in regions across the country. WDN also held a pre-conference program in 2011 called “Critical Connections” that focused on the intersection of race, gender, and sexual orientation. In 2012, the WDN Board of Directors adopted a position statement formalizing our commitment to incorporating a multi-lens focus on race, class, gender, and sexual orientation in all of our work.


Rallying to defeat the voter ID amendment. Photo credit: Take Action Minnesota.