Our community and our country are having a reckoning. It’s not comfortable. It’s not convenient, but it’s not unexpected. And quite honestly, it’s overdue.
As Northeast Florida’s community foundation, we know that institutional racism exists and that a blind eye is turned all too often. With our donors and through our partners in the nonprofit community, we work to support those whose daily lives are made more difficult because of that reality. The inequities our neighbors face drive many of our funding decisions, our community initiatives, and our efforts to learn alongside our fundholders. They also motivate us to enlist others to learn and invest in search of solutions.
But we need to do more.
We must find a way to harness today’s energy—and outrage—to focus on solutions. The greater injustice would be to not move beyond acknowledging the problem, and thus lose the momentum that is fueling this mandate for change.
We at the Foundation must redouble our efforts to counteract the decades of bad practices and poor leadership that have contributed to where we find ourselves today. We will work harder to transform pockets of change into a pattern of change. We promise to be a voice—and a convener of voices—for progress.
We don’t have the solutions. First, we must ask ourselves and each other some very tough questions. Then we will press harder for solutions that have the potential to usher in a new era of equity in our community.
But first, we vow to listen.
Martha Frye Baker, Chair
The Honorable Brian J. Davis
Deborah Pass Durham
George M. Egan
Robert E. Hill, Jr.
Dr. Solomon G. Brotman
Ryan A. Schwartz
Richard L. Sisisky