Commitment to Racial Justice

The Foundation's current strategic direction reflects a desire to:

Peace Walk
Project RIGHT Peace Walk (June 17, 2016)

  • Embed racial equity more deeply into our work;
  • Give more coherence to what we do; and
  • Make more of a difference within the low-income communities we care so deeply about.


Our Racial Justice Journey

Over the past several years, the Foundation has undertaken a deliberate process to understand the underlying causes of the racial disparities it was trying to address using a “structural race analysis”.  As a part of this work, the Foundation adopted its own definition of racial justice, which has since become our “vision” as a foundation.  Applying a structural race analysis at Hyams has involved identifying the multiple institutions, policies and actions that have created racial disparities over time.  With guidance from the Center for Social Inclusion, the Foundation used this approach to assess one of its previous key goals – the long-term success of low-income youth of color who have dropped out of school.  Working closely with its grantees, Hyams pursued a strategy that sought to educate the community about the need for increased state revenue through more progressive taxation in order to provide the financial resources needed to ensure more equitable educational outcomes for these youth.  A focus on racial justice and equity has now become central to the Foundation’s work.

Diversity and Inclusion

At the foundation of our current racial justice work is a long-time commitment to organizational diversity and inclusion.  We try to live these values in multiple ways including by ensuring that the Hyams board and staff are racially and ethnically diverse; promoting diversity within leadership and decision-making roles at the trustee and staff levels; seeking consultants, vendors and investment firms that are minority and women-led or show that they value diversity; placing a strong emphasis on funding organizations led by people of color; and highlighting the importance of board and staff diversity with grantees, with an emphasis on how this diversity increases organizational effectiveness.