Meet our members! AFN’s greatest asset is our members—a diverse network of national, regional, and community-based foundations, financial institutions, and grantmakers—investing in advancing equitable wealth building and economic mobility. Check back each month and meet your peers!
1: What is the mission of your organization and how is advancing equitable wealth building and economic mobility incorporated into the work?
The Walmart.org Center for Racial Equity was founded through a $100 million commitment over five years to address the drivers of systemic racism in society and accelerate change. The Center’s initiatives will fund research, advocacy, innovation of practices and tools, stakeholder convening and non-profit capacity building with a focus on four systems: finance, healthcare, education and criminal justice. The mission of the center is to complement and extend the societal impact of Walmart business initiatives to advance racial equity within these four systems, and our work extends the overarching philanthropic work of Walmart.org.
2: What are some of the permanent pivots you have made as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the current moment emphasizing the critical need for strategies that provide a range of support to women and Black, Latinx, Indigenous and Asian people and communities?
The challenges of recent years, from the COVID-19 pandemic to racially motivated tragedies in the U.S. and around the world, shed light on inequities and caused many corporate leaders to reflect on how business can create change. While advancing equity has been core to Walmart and the Walmart Foundation’s mission for years, we also examined our own culture and redefined our practices and systems, in addition to continuing to embed diversity, equity and inclusion into our funding portfolios and launching a more specific philanthropic focus through the Walmart.org Center for Racial Equity.
We provided support and training for associates on the Walmart.org team to grow their understanding of diversity, equity and inclusion. We redesigned our grant application process to add questions about DEI strategies at organizations. We also recommitted to listening, including by gathering regular feedback from our grantees on our DEI efforts.
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation committed $43 million of cash and in-kind to support organizations on the front lines responding to COVID-19 to strengthen the global public health response, bolster food security, and support the needs of local communities in the U.S. and internationally.
3: Is there a question you would like to raise to your funder colleagues?
How are you measuring impact? In philanthropy, we have all made a commitment to measure our work, but it can be more effective if we articulate our work in a similar framework across our sector.
4: What is the last book you read?
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
About Monique Carswell, Director, Center for Racial Equity at Walmart.org
Walmart.org represents the philanthropic efforts of Walmart and the Walmart Foundation. By leaning in where our business has unique strengths, we work to tackle key social issues and collaborate with others to spark long-lasting systemic change.
Serving as a leader within Walmart.org’s Center for Racial Equity, Monique is responsible for inspiring the company’s culture of giving and community engagement by developing tools and programs to complement and extend societal impact of Walmart’s business initiatives to advance racial equity.
As part of this commitment, Monique leads the philanthropic strategy and investments that aim to reduce the racial wealth gap. This is done primarily by partnering with entrepreneurial support organizations across the country to advance financial inclusion and equity for Black businesses, with a specific focus on entrepreneurs with ties to retail.