Equitable Recovery

Creating more resilient, inclusive communities to combat structural racism, inequality, and the COVID-19 pandemic.
A man bends over to mark a woman's forehead as a greeting.
Grantees funded by MacArthur’s Equitable Recovery Initiative convened in Accra, Ghana for the Advancing Justice: Reparations & Racial Healing Summit. Hauwa Kazeem, a Program Associate at MacArthur, is greeted during the welcoming ceremony at Assin Manso, where enslaved Africans took their last bath.

Our Strategy

An initial $43 million of the bond proceeds was deployed to fund urgent recovery work addressing systemic inequalities, discrimination, and racism in America, including election mobilization and protection strategies.

We implemented an expedited yet comprehensive, process to identify approaches for the remaining $82 million in funds. We invited a group of external advisors to guide us in setting priorities. An internal advisory group, drawn from Staff across the Foundation, assisted the President and Board in developing priority concepts, identifying grantees, and processing the awards.

Staff teams formed around the priorities that emerged: Racial Justice Field Support with a focus on combatting anti-Blackness, Self-determination of Indigenous Peoples, and Public Health Equity and COVID-19 Mitigation and Recovery. The places where we work—North America, Nigeria, and India—are the geographies of focus. One opportunity cuts across the Racial Justice and Public Health areas to support a housing demonstration project designed to reduce the risk of incarceration.

Why We Support This Work

The global COVID-19 pandemic has exposed deep racial and socioeconomic disparities and inequalities that take a disproportionate toll on Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian people. In this context, we identified an opportunity to improve the critical systems that individuals and communities need to thrive. We issued $125 million in social bonds to fund a one-time set of grants that support an equitable recovery by addressing the twin pandemics of COVID-19 and structural racism.

Funding Priorities

Through consultation with and guidance from our external advisors, experts in the field, and Staff, each focus area developed an approach for deploying remaining bond proceeds.

Racial Justice Field Support With a Focus On Combatting Anti-Blackness

  • Build Black power through supporting Black-led and Black-focused organizations.
  • Take a leadership role in positioning reparations and racial healing as issues that philanthropy meaningfully helps to address.

Self-Determination of Indigenous Peoples

Uplift Indigenous communities by providing support to enable their autonomous pursuit of a recovery that is guided and informed by their priorities, culture, and practices.

Public Health Equity and Covid-19 Mitigation and Recovery

Improve equitable access to resources for immediate health-related challenges while simultaneously advancing new models, policies, and infrastructure for greater public health equity and resilience in the future, with a focus on community engagement, vaccine confidence, and accountability—including data, research, and advocacy.

Equitable Housing Demonstration Project

Reduce incarceration and housing instability and restore communities by generating an array of solutions that can permanently end the use of jails and prisons as housing of last resort.

Our goal at the outset of this process was to allocate 50 percent or more of Equitable Recovery grants to organizations that are led by and serve Black, Indigenous, and People of Color communities. All available grant funds have been committed to supporting our special, one-time Equitable Recovery Initiative, and no grant funds remain.

Evaluation for Learning

Evaluation of our work is a critical tool for informing our decisionmaking, leading to better results and more effective stewardship of resources. We develop customized evaluation designs for each of our programs based on the context, problem, opportunity, and approach to the work. Evaluation is not a one-time event. It is an ongoing process of collecting feedback and using that information to support our grantees and adjust our strategy.

We are committed to evaluating and learning from the work supported by the bond funds to advance an equitable recovery from the pandemics of COVID-19 and structural racism. The evaluation framework will include learning questions about the landscape, implementation, and the value-add of our grantmaking and non-grantmaking activities. We will use a mixed-method approach, including collecting and analyzing both qualitative and quantitative data.

Annual reporting is a requirement of the bond proceeds terms and conditions. Grantee reports will be one input into a larger set of evaluation and learning activities that are being conducted by Creative Research Solutions and Become, the evaluation and learning partners of the Equitable Recovery initiative.

Findings and analyses from evaluation activities are posted publicly as they become available.