Justice, Equity, and Humility

Apr 30, 2021 | Sandy Herz, President of Sobrato Philanthropies

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Last week, like many of you, I anxiously waited to hear the verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd. About a year ago this incident sparked a worldwide protest against racism and police brutality. After just ten hours of deliberation, the jury came back with a guilty verdict on all counts. And while I felt relief, I was grounded by the voices and reactions of Black and other communities of color leaders who came forward to remind us that this is not a victory, because a victory would mean that George Floyd would still be alive. And although this case has come to a conclusion, the enduring trauma of this and so many other acts of racism continue to occur with unfailing consistency.

At Sobrato Philanthropies, while we have a long history of investing in communities of color through our core programs, the last year has led us on our learning journey to address racism directly and uplift the experiences and voices of leaders of color. In particular, we invested in the Democracy Frontlines Fund, an initiative spearheaded by The Libra Foundation to support the country’s most impactful racial justice groups led by and for Black communities. Through that experience, we have learned from many remarkable leaders at the forefront of the fight for racial justice, including the strong work of local organizing and solidarity building between Asian American and Black communities to combat racism throughout the country.

We continue to learn through our Economic Mobility program, where local partners teach us about the importance of supporting a combination of direct services, increased nonprofit capacity, and widespread systems change, and that communities of color must be engaged and empowered to address their own needs. With the San Mateo Immigrant Relief Fund, where we supported cash assistance to undocumented communities, we learned the importance of not just singling out one organization but investing in a combination of partners close to the ground with deep networks and trust in the community. We are committed to continuing this learning and challenging ourselves to do more, and will continue to update you on our progress.

The Sobrato family’s deep commitment to justice, equity, and humility stems from their immigrant roots and animates all we do at Sobrato Philanthropies. This commitment guides us particularly in these critical moments of change in society. The team and I stand together in remembering that the road to justice will require those of us with privilege and power to step back and center those whose voices are too often silenced. We must follow those who have been leading this long march toward justice and stand ready to be an ally.

In partnership,