Equity Network

Equity Network
The Equity Network is composed of community foundation teams. Isaiah Oliver, pictured here, is part of the team for the Community Foundation of Greater Flint.
The Equity Network is comprised of community foundation teams who are working to advance equity in their communities while also helping to shape the practice and thinking of the broader community foundation field.

The United States faces enormous disparities in all aspects of well-being. Health, education, economic security, neighborhood safety, transportation access, and many other outcomes vary tremendously by race, ethnicity, education and income.

We recognize that these disparities are interconnected and that pursuing equity will take a multi-sector approach with many partners bringing different tools to the table to advance the work. Community foundations — with their local knowledge and relationships, independence, philanthropic assets, and public charity status — are uniquely positioned to help.

About the Equity Network

The Equity Network is a community foundation issue network managed by CFLeads, with PolicyLink as a content partner. Using a proven model of peer learning and community leadership that we have been refining over the past decade, we responded to community and national foundation interest in advancing equity by creating the Community Foundation Equity Network in 2017. This peer network allows for community foundations interested in equity to come together to better understand and make progress on the issue.

Each cohort of the Equity Network is made up of teams from six to ten community foundations across the country, with four- to six-person teams including the CEO, board members, senior staff members, and community partners. These community foundations are already committed to and working on issues related to equity. The Network is designed to help them better understand the issue, advance particular outcomes and build peer connections. To date, we have hosted two Equity Network cohorts with a total of 16 community foundations participating. View more details about each cohort on our Equity Network Alumni page.

Network Structure

Each Network team takes an iterative, problem-solving approach to a self-identified challenge related to equity. The teams meet in-person three times over a year.

These meetings include:

  • Team presentations on their progress addressing their equity challenge;
  • Presentations and technical assistance from outside content experts on relevant topics;
  • Structured peer advising;
  • Team action planning;
  • Informal networking time.

Desired Outcomes

The Network is designed for members to:

  • Increase their knowledge of the historical and contemporary equity context nationally, regionally, and locally;
  • Increase community foundation and community stakeholder awareness and understanding of strategies that increase equity;
  • Build internal capacity to advance equity strategies;
  • Build external competencies to advance equity strategies;
  • Make progress on their equity challenge;
  • Strengthen connections with like-minded peers with whom they can call upon for advice and support.

A fabulous, one-of-a-kind, team-based approach to deepening your leadership work internally and externally. Powerful learning for community foundations of all sizes.
Fred BlackwellCEO, San Francisco Foundation and Cohort 1 Participant


We have completed two cohorts of the Equity Network. The second cohort concluded in February 2020, and we look forward to launching a third soon. Learn more about the Network by visiting our Alumni page below.


If you have any questions about the Equity Network, please contact Angela Brown at abrown@cfleads.org or 617-854-3544.

Equity Network Alumni

Previous cohorts of the Equity Network.

Related Content

A Tale of Two Cities: Advancing Racial Equity in Cincinnati

This story was written as a collaboration between CFLeads and Greater Cincinnati Foundation.

Working Toward Shared Prosperity in Rochester, NY

This story was written as a collaboration between CFLeads and Rochester Area Community Foundation.