What is Racial Equity?

Racial equity means...

Acknowledging that racism exists.

Working together to fix problems caused by discrimination.

Ensuring People of Color have fair access to resources.

Creating a more inclusive community with opportunity for all.

Donate to support racial equity.

Our Commitment to Racial Equity

We believe that racial equity is essential to the success of our region and its people. We further believe that advancing a more equitable and inclusive community is core to the mission of the Hampton Roads Community Foundation.

Race has long held a defining place in American society. It is embedded in our culture, laws and policies, educational institutions, and economy. The result is a system of racial bias and inequities that limits opportunities for people of color. If left unchallenged, such structural racism threatens our future.

To be sure, this system is bigger than the Hampton Roads Community Foundation and the region. It is nonetheless a powerful force pushing against “a thriving community with opportunity for all”—what our community foundation envisions for the people of Hampton Roads.

Want to learn more?

Get our Racial Equity guide, a six-part email series that explains what racial equity is, why it matters, and how you can get involved.

Sign up.

Owning Our History

(The late Hugh Harrell at a Black Philanthropy celebration at the Slover Library in Norfolk, VA.)

In 2018, the community foundation began looking inwardly at our policies and practices around equity as well as our engagement with residents and community partners. Since then, we have:

  • Worked with a consultant, LM Strategies, to coach staff and board members about racial equity issues, and to create a Racial Equity Statement and plan
  • Hosted the annual Black Philanthropy Month celebration to amplify Black voices often left out of traditional philanthropy
  • Expanded grant guidelines to require nonprofits to report racial demographic data on their boards, staff, and clients in order to get a more comprehensive picture of our community, who we help, and opportunities for support
  • Commissioned the Giving Black®Hampton Roads study to learn about Black philanthropists and giving trends
  • Joined diverse community organizations, including the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Coastal Virginia, Asian Business Association of Hampton Roads, Black BRAND, and others

The work continues with trainings, conversations, research projects, and ongoing assessment of
our internal practices and external actions.

Community Conversations

The community foundation is a convener. We bring together people from all backgrounds to tackle important community issues, such as racial equity. Here’s a sampling:

Beneath the Surface

Beneath the Surface is a collaboration between Virginia Humanities and the community foundation exploring the ways race has shaped this region and to advance personal understanding and community dialogue. It began in 2019 with a community residency with author and former Spelman College President Dr. Beverly Tatum.

It was followed by a series of community conversations called “Unmasking Hampton Roads.” The third and final phase is a grant program launched in late 2020.

Dred Scott Presents

In honor of the National Day of Racial Healing in January, the community foundation, in partnership with Virginians for Reconciliation, hosted Dred Scott Presents: Sons and Daughters of Reconciliation. The event convened a civil rights panel to discuss how United States laws have fostered discrimination. It featured descendants of plaintiffs and judges in two landmark 19th-century U.S. Supreme Court cases – The Dred Scott Decision and Plessy v. Ferguson.

America to Me

The community foundation sponsored an Understanding Hampton Roads civic engagement forum exploring the intersection of race, equity and education. It included a screening of the first episode of the America To Me documentary followed by a panel discussion, which included local school and community leaders as well as student activists.