It Is Not Enough to Be Anti-Injustice; We Must Be Pro-Justice.

A desk features artwork, plants, and a basket with block letters that spell "LOVE."


Renowned Black political activist, scholar, and author, Angela Davis proclaimed, “In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist. We must be anti-racist.” I agree, and I push her words further. In a deeply unjust society, it is not enough to be anti-injustice; we must be pro-justice. Pro-Black. Pro-Indigenous. Pro-queer. Pro-youth. Pro-disability. Pro-climate justice. We must not only combat inequitable systems, but we must also invest our efforts and resources in the people and communities leading the way to justice.

It’s hard to imagine in a field like philanthropy—a tool of power and wealth amassed through exploitative means over generations—that there could be opportunities for both addressing and repairing harm. Yet, there is! Minerva Strategies is privileged to work with Seattle Foundation for years now, supporting the organization through many of its funding initiatives and transitions. One year ago, we had the opportunity to assist the foundation as it launched the Racially Equitable Philanthropy Aimed at Initiating Reparations (REPAIR) framework. REPAIR is Seattle Foundation’s commitment to driving at least $25 million to the Black community over five years to acknowledge and account for the harm that philanthropic underinvestment has caused the Black community for generations.

REPAIR is a unique framework because it is about reparations—not charity. Reparations is about accountability. In an unjust society, we are all accountable to the harm we accept and the harm we enact. Seattle Foundation opens itself up to criticism by acknowledging its participation in the legacy of underinvestment in Black communities. Yet, it also opens itself up for collaboration, learning, and repair.

As the lead architect behind REPAIR, Senior Program Officer Jonathan Cunningham has guided Seattle Foundation’s immense progress towards its commitment to the Black community of King County. In the year since REPAIR’s inception, Seattle Foundation has committed to investing over $16 million in Black-led organizations. Seattle Foundation has also established the Black-led Organizations Cohort (BLOC), a group of Black-led organizations that convenes monthly, builds authentic partnerships, and regularly advises the Foundation. It is with the guidance and partnership of Black leaders and community organizers that Seattle Foundation created the Black-led Joy and Wellness Fund, a fund dedicated to the joy and wellness of Black-led organizations on the frontlines of responding to crises. Exhaustion is unsustainable and ineffective in community organizing—investing in the rest and renewal of Black community leaders is a lasting investment in justice.

In a truly just society, the intergenerational wealth on which philanthropy is built would not exist. All people would have their needs met and no one would experience poverty. There would be no school, neighborhood, or population described as underserved. There would be no gaps to fill. But in our inequitable capitalist system, philanthropy is a reality. The challenge is to harness its resources to build a more just world together.

About The Author

Gaby España

Gaby España

Senior Associate

Gaby puts people first, whether as an educator, researcher, or, now, as a senior associate at Minerva Strategies. In their various roles, Gaby learned clear communication is not only kind, but powerful. When our message is easy to understand and meets the needs of our audience, we empower people and encourage change! Learn more about Gaby.