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racial equity and justice

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, increased awareness of violence against Black people and events surrounding the presidential election, ECCF began to intentionally dialogue about ways to more deeply understand longstanding racial inequities that have prohibited society from moving forward together and are pervasive right here in our own back yards. We also began to explore the role ECCF could play in advancing a more racially just and equitable Essex County.

The result is a thoughtfully crafted plan that involves a continuum of work that we seek to incorporate into all of our efforts as a community foundation. The strategy includes the following pillars, which will serve to ground the work we do every day – both internally, and externally in our cities and towns:

listen, learn and reflect

ECCF, as part of its learning process, continuously reflects on why and how racial inequities exist to inform our work and spur action and change within the organization and throughout our region.


Staff, board and volunteers build their knowledge, skills, and capacity to advance racial equity and work effectively across difference.

Staff, board and volunteers learn and understand how commu­nity foundations can contribute to advancing racial equity and racial justice.

Staff, board and volunteers deepen their understanding of nonprofits and other organizations advancing racial equity and racial justice and authentically listen to the needs and opportuni­ties that our work can support.

organizational action

ECCF and its work are grounded in equitable and inclusive practices, creating conditions and modeling actions that advance racial equity towards a racially just world.


Ensure that racial equity and inclusion are core values of ECCF’s organizational and workplace culture.

Recruit and support diverse staff, board, and volunteer leaders that represent the communities of Essex County.

Review ECCF programmatic work (e.g. community leadership, grantmaking, scholarships, nonprofit services) with a racial eq­uity and inclusion lens, making changes and expanding where needed.

Review ECCF operations and administrative practices (e.g. finance, communications, development, donor services) with a racial equity and inclusion lens, making changes where needed.

systemic change

ECCF, in its role as a community leader, inspires philanthropy and influences efforts that result in more equitable systems and structures, giving greater access and opportunity to all in Essex County.


Educate/engage donors, fundholders and external stakeholders on systemic racism and racial inequities and inspire philanthropy and other efforts that advance racial equity and racial justice.

Use our resources and competencies to engage in advocacy and public policy efforts that advance racial equity and racial justice.

ECCF funds and donors invest in leaders, communities, organizations, and programs that advance racial equity and racial justice.


The work to stop racial injustice has no expiration; it is not an initiative with a predetermined end date or a fixed set of actions that exist in a single silo. Rather, the effort will live in perpetuity and become foundational to all of ECCF’s work moving forward.

This work has already begun in numerous places throughout the foundation, including:

  • A 2021 Institute for Trustees racial equity track for nonprofit board leaders to learn ways to incorporate racial equity into their work,
  • New racial equity data available on ImpactEssexCounty.org that helps us all to better understand our communities,
  • A racial equity capacity-building series for nonprofit leaders to learn and strategize organizational changes,
  • ECCF board, staff and committee learning sessions during which participants began the dialogue about race and structural racism,
  • The start of an internal learning resource library for board and staff to access for personal learning and growth,
  • Bi-weekly meetings with an internal racial equity working group that defined our commitment and plan,
  • And the launch of a new, permanent racial equity committee, comprised of community leaders who are knowledgeable and committed to this vital work.
racial equity committee

ECCF’s Racial Equity Committee, made up of a diverse cross-section of local leaders, is charged with helping ECCF design and implement its current and evolving racial equity effort. Its mission is to identify opportunities to improve ECCF’s capacity to act as an equitable and inclusive organization and guide ECCF in leveraging resources and relationships to advocate for racially equitable systems, structures and practices that will create a more racially just Essex County.

Ana Colmenero, Chair
Karen Ansara
John Colucci
Noemi Custodia-Lora
Claudia Fox Tree
Bob Goldman
Dean Marsh
Christine Ortiz
Felicia Pierce
Elsabel Rincon
Pedro Soto
John Wang
Anita Worden

“It became clear that it was time for the foundation, as a leader in the community, to step up and take action.” 

– Beth Francis, ECCF President and CEO

racial equity news

We Must Breathe – Together

Last night, when Derek Chauvin was led into a Minneapolis courtroom to learn the outcome of his trial, we collectively held our breath. And when the verdict was read, we exhaled. Because when a White ex-police officer is held accountable for the murder of a Black man, we must breathe.

Column: During Black History Month, let’s do more than observe

The events of the past year have been historic, particularly for Black Americans. We’ve celebrated the election of our country’s first Black, South Asian and female vice president, but we’ve also been harshly reminded that in the pursuit for racial equity and justice, there is still a steep hill we must climb.

about ECCF

get in touch

Hehershe Busuego

Hehershe Busuego

Director of Programs & Racial Equity
(978) 777-8876 x128

ECCF Logo in White Overlay


500 Cummings Center, Suite 5450
Beverly, Massachusetts 01915