Equity Training Program for Tech Professionals in Philanthropy Fills Important Gap

Apr 6, 2023

Kresge Foundation grant to the Technology Association of Grantmakers (TAG), along with sponsorship from Submittable, helped establish the first-ever Equity Essentials for Philanthropy Tech program in 2022, providing much needed equity training for more than 65 professionals who work in operations, IT, data analysis or grant operations in the philanthropic sector, or for an organization helping grantmakers with these critical responsibilities.

The Equity Essentials program was born out of a 2020 survey of tech professionals working in philanthropy. The results showed that tech staff have a strong interest in diversity, equity and inclusion training but have less access to these courses than their co-workers.

To address this problem head on – and to ensure that tech staff are not left behind in receiving equity training – TAG developed a learning and support series in partnership with Resilia, an online social impact platform that provides coaching and capacity-building.

TAG’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Working Group – co-chaired by Kresge IT Managing Director Wendye Mingo, The Tow Foundation’s Nadia Alia and TAG’s Hugo Castro – co-designed the program with technology professionals in mind, making sure the curriculum was guided by voices from the field.

The Equity Essentials pilot program launched in August 2022. The four-month program included six self-guided online courses, four virtual learning events and a peer learning forum. Sessions progressed from introductory topics such as structural racism and using shared language to advance equity to tech professional-oriented lessons regarding inclusive design techniques and using data equitably.

In the first cohort, 69 participants took part with 71% earning a full certificate of completion. Foundation tech professionals gave the program top marks for being engaging and applicable to their work.

As one participant shared: “The Equity Essentials course was exactly what I was looking for; something that pushed my thinking and was targeted enough that I had the resources to apply the content directly to my work.”

Participant fees for the program were designed to be accessible, using a sliding scale based on foundation asset size.

“All of this speaks to our mission at TAG of cultivating the equitable, strategic and innovative use of technology in philanthropy – while centering community and being data-driven in our program design and development,” said TAG Executive Director Chantal Forster.

With that, TAG is incorporating lessons learned from the 2022 pilot program to develop and launch another round of Equity Essentials in August 2023. Fundraising is currently underway for the second cohort.

equity essentials overview

Learn More About the Program 

TAG and Resilia held an information session on July 14, 2022 to provide an overview of the program. Current members of TAG are welcome to watch the recording to learn about the curriculum, sliding scale fee structure, time commitment, and benefits of participation. 

Those who completed the program are now included in TAG’s directory of “Equity Essentials” certified participants.  

Visit the Equity Essentials for Philanthropy page for additional information about the program.

About the Technology Association of Grantmakers

TAG is a 501(c)(3) non-profit membership organization that promotes the strategic, innovative, and equitable use of technology in philanthropy to solve problems and improve lives. With over 2000 members in 300 foundations throughout North America and beyond, TAG is the voice of technology in the philanthropic sector, providing technology professionals, tech funders, and “accidental techies” with knowledge, networks, mentoring, and educational opportunities.

Since 2008, the Technology Association of Grantmakers (TAG) has built a global community, conducted groundbreaking research, and become an advocate for investment in tech infrastructure throughout the charitable sector. For more information, visit tagtech.org.