Our nation once again is facing crises fueled by its legacy of racial injustice ― both the disproportionate impact COVID-19 has had on communities of color and the inequitable treatment of black people by those in authority, including the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and so many before them. On behalf of the Bainum Family Foundation, we want to convey that we share the outrage, hurt, frustration and weariness that so many in our community are feeling. The thought that has replayed endlessly in our minds, increasing in urgency and volume to a roar in recent days is this: We must do more. Now.
Within our organization, we are coming together as a team to listen to and support one another through this very difficult time. At the same time, we are thinking collectively about how we can move from feeling to action and create much-needed change here in the District of Columbia and in other communities we serve.
We have spent the last several years focusing on diversity, equity and inclusion, with overall goals of promoting an equitable and inclusive environment for our staff, understanding the impact of racism on the communities and families we serve, and prioritizing equity and inclusion in every facet of our work, ultimately to help all children and families thrive. We have individually and collectively committed to understanding and acknowledging the depths and impacts of racism with our heads and our hearts. These discussions have not always been easy, and we are proud that all levels of this team — including our Board of Directors — have been willing to enter them with openness, vulnerability and a commitment to advance equity as a core tenet of our work. We recognize the need to intensify these efforts and work closely with our partners, other funders, community leaders and community members to confront the long-standing, continual impact of institutional and systemic racism on the communities we serve.
As the Foundation’s leaders, we commit to engaging with urgency around racial injustice in our society. As a foundation team, we do not have all the answers. But what we can do in this moment is this: Speak with a voice of solidarity against inequitable systems, renew our commitment to leverage our unique privilege and our resources as philanthropists, and stand humbly in partnership with others to center community voices and catalyze change.
In a recent op-ed, we noted that the truest test of any society is how its most marginalized members fare during times of crisis. At the time, we were primarily addressing COVID-19. But now, with both the pandemic and these current events illuminating the pervasive racial inequities in our country, an opportunity for meaningful, sustainable change lies in front of us. We look forward to engaging in new conversations to explore options for immediate, collective action. With empathy and vulnerability, we stand with our community against all levels of racial inequity. Let us listen, learn and act. Together.
Barbara Bainum, LCSW-C
Chair of the Board
Bainum Family Foundation
CEO and President
Bainum Family Foundation