Marillac Mission Fund's Position on Racial Injustice

July 1, 2020

Creating a more Compassionate and Just Society Through Words and Action

The Marillac Mission Fund (MMF) believes in the innate dignity of all people. As a program of Ascension, we join Ascension’s President and CEO Joseph R. Impicciche, in denouncing racism and intolerance. “There is no roadmap on how to end centuries of systemic racism and discrimination. As a nation we’re finally ready to engage in the serious conversation needed to end this chapter once and for all and Ascension will be a part of the solution. As a ministry of the Catholic Church, the nation’s leading Catholic health ministry, we have an obligation to do no less
than everything we can to foster a more just and compassionate society in both our words and deeds, as we are called to in our Mission.”
MMF has renewed our commitment to justice and equity based on the truth that all people are created equal and deserve respect.

Recent events have invited everyone to reflect on standards of humanity and the grace and respect we give one another. At MMF, we have looked within our own organization and our role as philanthropists, considering the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “Privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily.” We have asked ourselves: Is this the case within the field of philanthropy? Are we willing to listen to the community and to our grantees, particularly nonprofit organizations led by people of color and serving our Black and Brown communities?

We are devastated by the most recent public examples of unjust police treatment of Black and Brown people, just one aspect of the myriad of ways systemic racism impacts our society. COVID-19 has presented yet another situation where the disparate impact of systemic racism is visible. Unequal treatment and its impact have been felt for far too long; now is the time to dismantle systemic racism once and for all in order to be in alignment with our Catholic faith.

This is not the time for any of us, including those of us in philanthropy, to be complicit. Silence and inaction are luxuries we cannot afford if we are serious about ending racism. This starts with listening to those with the most lived experience because, as Dr. King stated, “Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

In 2018, the MMF Board of Directors unanimously agreed to make a strategic priority the addition of a racial equity framework in our grantmaking policies and practices. As our plan to operationalize this priority continues to evolve, we commit to real action including:

1. Focusing resources to strengthen the capacity and networks of Black/Brown-led nonprofit organizations.
2. Integrating a racial equity lens into every fiber of our work.
3. Listening to and working with Black and Brown communities to address structural and systemic racial injustices.
4. Developing a plan with clear measures to promote social justice advocacy.

Dismantling racism is hard, but we are committed to making a meaningful and lasting difference. Today there is a greater reception to change than ever before, and I pray that we work together so the field of philanthropy can meet the challenge of this decisive hour.

“Let us all hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away and the deep fog of misunderstanding will be lifted from our fear-drenched communities… ” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


Claire Hundelt

Executive Director