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"While we have tried, we have not tried hard enough."

A letter to the community from Paul Grogan and Sandy Edgerley

June 1, 2020

Editor's note: This message was sent to the Boston Foundation community on Sunday evening. It is a follow-up to Paul Grogan's message to staff posted on City of Ideas on Friday.

Dear Member of the Boston Foundation community,

We are shocked, saddened, and heartbroken by the recent incidents in Georgia, Minneapolis and New York’s Central Park that exhibit racism and racist violence on an intimate and brutal scale and by the ensuing week of violence wracking cities across the country. But being shocked, sad and empathetic is not enough. Leaders everywhere, not just those from organizations that focus on equity and social justice, must speak out clearly, emphatically, and, most importantly, follow their speech with action. We are reaching out now to the larger Boston Foundation community to express our anger at the killing of George Floyd, our support for those protesting systemic racism in policing and society, and our hope and determination that we can navigate our way through this pain and anger and reach a better place.

Almost 20 years ago, we created a Values Statement for the Boston Foundation that reads: “In everything we do, we seek to broaden participation, foster collaboration and heal racial, ethnic and community divisions.” We still deeply believe in those values, but at a time like this it can be hard to see hope and progress through the hatred and violence.

The protests throughout our country this weekend should make it abundantly clear that institutional racism in recent years has willfully devalued and dehumanized our Black friends and neighbors, as it has done for generations.

The protests throughout our country this weekend should make it abundantly clear that institutional racism in recent years has willfully devalued and dehumanized our Black friends and neighbors, as it has done for generations. We have identified the issues, but we have not solved them. We have called for equity and justice, but we have not committed to them. While we have tried, we have not tried hard enough.

What can we do as a community foundation?

We will continue to use a racial equity lens in our COVID-19-related grantmaking, as well as in all of our programmatic work.

We will continue to commission, produce and publish research that exposes the severe racial disparities in health, wealth, education, law and political representation, and support bold policy agendas to address those disparities.

We will also continue the Boston Foundation’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) work with an even stronger conviction and dedication.

Most of all, we will speak in support of the Black community. We must make their fight for justice and full humanity our fight, and we must never accept a status quo that sees any member of our community as "lesser than" or "less worthy.”

The path of progress isn’t clear or simple. But moving forward on that path today is more critical than ever. It requires boldness and humility — relentlessness and patience. We ask for your help and support as we move forward. Our communities deserve nothing less than our full commitment.

Paul S. Grogan
President and CEO

Sandy Edgerley
Chair, Board of Directors