History of our racial equity work

Throughout our history, we have strived to create a racially equitable Minnesota. We prioritize work that seeks to eliminate racial and economic disparities in our grantmaking. We established Diversity Endowment Funds to grow resources for communities of color. Most recently, we developed the community program, Facing Race We’re all in this together®, to create an anti-racist community in which everyone felt safe, valued and respected.

Since its inception in 2004, the Facing Race initiative facilitated thousands of conversations across the state and created a signature awards event – the annual Facing Race Ambassador Awards. The Ambassador Awards are an opportunity to lift up and celebrate individuals who are working to eliminate racism in their communities.

The Facing Race program expanded statewide in 2010 with generous funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. This unique program was designed to meet people and institutions where they were in their journey to learn about race and racism. We provided tools and skills to help individuals take action.

Yet, we knew this work would not be enough, and that eliminating racism would not be achieved in the lifespan of a foundation initiative. In 2012, we commissioned a racial equity task force to guide us forward in our racial equity work. Their months-long review of our past efforts culminated in a set of recommendations that shaped the racial equity framework, which our board of directors unanimously approved in October 2013.

Our new racial equity framework is a holistic, deep approach to this work. It honors and builds on the work we have done to date and pushes us forward to face racial equity challenges in new ways and with fresh energy and perspectives.


Worked with Peggy McIntosh, Ph.D., to author two articles on racism that raised questions around white privilege and individuals’ resistance to conversations about racism.

Developed New Conversations® discussion tools to encourage individuals to talk and learn about racism. Participants learned new skills such as sharing personal histories, assuming good intent and addressing real-life situations.

  • Order the New Conversations About Race and Racism discussion tool by contacting us at 651.325.4265.
  • We partner with the YWCA of Minneapolis to offer facilitation for our New Conversations About White Privilege and New Conversations Uncovering Five Myths That Support Racism discussion tools. Please contact Sarah Super at 612.215.4161 or ssuper@ywcampls.org.
  • Over the years, Facing Race collected and published many personal stories from individuals who participated in New Conversations.