The Quest for Equity: How far out of reach is it?

Rear view of young guy with backpack standing outdoors with arms spread open against seascape. Man enjoying the view from the top of the mountain.Equity means being fair and a whole lot more.  In an equitable society, people have access to the necessities of life with no obstacles based on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, or gender to name a few.  In an equitable society, people can go as far as their talents and abilities will allow.  It sounds quite simple.  Why isn’t this our reality? 

Here in Milwaukee after millions of dollars and countless programs and initiatives, we remain the most segregated city in America.  Disparities abound due in large part to systemic racism, xenophobia and all the other isms and phobias.  Our nonprofit organizations put forth a heroic effort to help people overcome barriers, but with limited resources, we are left with the realization it is never enough.  Sometimes we cannot help but wonder if our effort is like throwing a marshmallow against a brick wall hoping it will fall.  Despite it all, as professional fundraisers, our dogged optimism, and determination keep us moving forward.  

There is reason to believe equity can flourish.  In our profession we see how our organizations are making a difference and we have the testimonials and the data to prove it.  We ask our donors to join us and create a better life for people who have lost hope, or health, or home, or job, and the list goes on.  For the sake of the common good, neighborhoods, donors, and nonprofits work together to coax the growth toward a more equitable community.  Our organizations help equity grow not only through service but also through advocacy by making room at the table for voices to be heard so that people can be empowered to build a better life for themselves, their families, and their community.  Yes, somedays it feels like our efforts are not amounting to much and we will never reach a more equitable world.  Thankfully, we do not stay in that space for long because our AFP chapter colleagues remind us we are not alone in the work we do.  When we think about the collective good produced by our nonprofit organizations, perhaps the equity for which we are striving is within reach.