The D5 Coalition

Comprised of 18 infrastructure organizations, the D5 Coalition was a five year effort organized in 2010 to create a strategic agenda and help philanthropy become more diverse, equitable, and inclusive. It has become a growing collaboration of foundations large and small, individual donors, regional and national associations, and organizations that focus on diverse communities.


  • Collecting data allows funders to understand who receives grantmaking dollars and track how the field is advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion.


  • Peer learning is critical to helping foundations understand what works well and how philanthropy can become more equitable and inclusive.

As the U.S. population becomes increasingly diverse, the D5 Coalition understood the need for funders to reflect their constituencies and their rich variety of perspectives. In order to achieve greater impact, the D5 Coalition believed that change needed to come from within and that philanthropy needed to best represent the people that it was supporting. Back in 2006, the Greenlining Institute report found that less than 8% of funding was given to organizations of color. As a result, legislation was introduced to encourage foundations to report their demographics.

In 2010, the D5 Coalition was created to allow philanthropic institutions to more effectively increase diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). The D5 Coalition had a goal to increase the number of people of color at the senior level, increase funding granted to diverse communities, improve data collection for the field, and highlight best practices. In the beginning, many foundations did not know where to start as it related to data and DEI. Therefore, D5 developed a roadmap to which foundations could refer and facilitated peer learning so foundations could share stories of what was working well. The Coalition recognized that the sector needed systematic data collection to better evaluate the number of people of color in philanthropy and to understand to whom grantmaking dollars were given.

For five years, the D5 Coalition discovered best practices and disseminated them to the sector. While 2015 marked the formal end of the Coalition, D5 has for the past two years conducted a formal evaluation and assessment of its work. The Final State of the Work report used storytelling to share the state of philanthropy, discuss foundations’ experiences, and give advice to peer organizations. Although there are gaps in capacity, change is happening. The sector now has concrete data that it can use for benchmarking and evaluating progress towards change. There is also increased will among philanthropic institutions to collect data and use it to inform grantmaking.  Furthermore, diversity, equity, and inclusion has become a part of the discourse in philanthropy.

For those looking to replicate this work, the D5 Coalition tells its peers that effective change comes with collaboration, guidance, and proper communication between the sector and the communities it serves. The Coalition encourages others to approach philanthropic organizations where they are, not where they should be because every organizations’ DEI journey is unique. Organizations should just dive in because this work and its impact is not optional. If you’d like to learn more about the D5 Coalition and its work, contact Director Kelly Brown at