Racial Equity Knowledge Center

Raising awareness about funding for racial equity efforts.

Insight, Impact, and Equity: Collecting Demographic Data

by Kelly Brown

Jul 31, 2018

Grantmakers occupy a powerful space of privilege in the social change sector. As such, they have a unique opportunity—and responsibility—to work proactively toward equity and inclusivity. Increasingly, grantmaking institutions are challenging themselves to live their values through their grantmaking practices.

For philanthropy to advance equity in all communities, especially low-income communities and communities of color, it needs to be able to understand the demographics of the organizations being funded (and declined), the people being served, and the communities impacted. That data should be used to assess practices and drive decision making.

PEAK Grantmaking is working to better understand and build the capacity of grantmakers for collecting and utilizing demographic data as part of their grantmaking. Our work is focused on answering four key questions:

  • What demographic data are grantmakers collecting and why?

  • How are they collecting these demographic data?

  • How is demographic data being used and interpreted?

  • How can funders use demographic data to inform their work?

With the help of Kelly Brown, former Executive Director of the D5 Coalition, and an advisory committee of grantmakers, we have completed an expansive survey, interviews with grantmakers, and field research on these four questions. Read the key findings from our research.