Moving from transactional to relational: How funders can work in partnership with BIPOC communities

Online Publication Date:
November 11, 2022
Publication Status:
Published Article MUSE Link:
Manuscript PDF File:

**Published in Progress in Community Health Partnerships (PCHP) 17.3. All rights reserved.**


Background: The Racial Equity Coalition (REC) formed to address persistent educational disparities. The coalition was composed of fourteen BIPOC organizations that provide culturally integrative youth services.
Objectives: REC, with support from United Way of King County (UWKC), engaged in participatory research to identify commonalities and shared struggles to inform collective action. Participatory research aligns with REC’s commitment to equitable participatory processes. This article focuses on REC’s experiences with funders. The objective was to understand what creates positive and challenging experiences with funders, and to identify recommendations for funders to become more culturally responsive.
Methods: A research committee was formed including representatives of nine REC organizations and UWKC staff. The committee conducted interviews with each of the fourteen REC organizations and conducted thematic analysis of interview transcripts. Through participatory analysis, the committee drafted narratives that were further refined through a series of research retreats attended by all REC organizations.
Results: Recommendations were to incentivize collaboration, listen to communities to create culturally responsive definitions of success and measurement strategies, arrive at mutually agreed upon approaches with organizations, honor the connections BIPOC organizations have with their communities, and provide unrestricted funding to allow BIPOC organizations greater agency.
Conclusions: A major challenge for BIPOC organizations is navigating white dominant culture that too often shows up in funding requirements. Having to fit dominant culture standards stifles BIPOC organizations’ abilities to meet community needs and the responsiveness of their approaches. REC identified recommendations for funders to be more culturally responsive and community-centered.