Racial Equality & Equity

Heritage Fund Board United in Taking Steps  for Racial Equality

Recent national discussions and protests have highlighted the unresolved racial issues that continue to divide our country. Corporations and local and state government, including police departments, have stepped forward to make changes that demonstrate that the status quo should not stand when it comes to racism.

Heritage Fund’s leadership is adding its full support to the call for change. We are proud to join and acknowledge the many other organizations in Bartholomew County that also have efforts underway to study, understand and take actions to create a more equitable community. A partial list of these organizations includes United Way of Bartholomew County, Community Education Coalition, Bartholomew County Juvenile Court, Bartholomew County NAACP, African American Pastors Alliance, Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation and Columbus Regional Health.

At its recent August meeting, Heritage Fund’s Board of Directors shared touching stories of their personal experiences confronting racial issues in their lives. The pain of some of those memories opened doors for others to want to pursue issues further, and the board came together with one voice to continue the journey of learning and seeking opportunities to make a positive difference.

The Heritage Fund Board unanimously approved a motion to “spend the next 24 months studying and reflecting on the issues of racial equality and equity and determining how Heritage Fund can make a positive impact on the community.” 

The Board will:

    1. Prioritize Progress over Comfort
    2. Engage in Courageous and Respectful Discussions
    3. Learn before Acting and Share the Journey with Others
    4. Identify Areas for Action


The board will spend the next two years reviewing materials and exploring ways to eliminate prejudice, discrimination and systemic barriers in Bartholomew County. With the board’s consent, areas identified for action will be executed within these two years. The board believes that in order for Bartholomew County to become the welcoming community it is striving for, the entire community must be proactive in addressing racism and equity. It is important to first learn, then reflect, then act. It is the board’s hope that Bartholomew County can be used as an example and encourage other communities to take a similar journey.

Heritage Fund has a long history of investing in the growth and well-being of our community. Through this initiative, we are seeking to help catalyze courageous conversations within our board and eventually with the larger community to recognize and address racial inequities. As one board member put it, “In order to discover new oceans, we need to lose sight of our familiar shores.”

Time will be designated at each quarterly board meeting to discuss pre-reading materials so that we first learn, then reflect, then act. It is our hope that others in the community will be interested in taking a similar journey, and we are happy to share our resources and key learnings.


Resources: These are the resources Heritage Fund Board has reviewed thus far.  This list will be continually updated.

Books-These titles are available at Viewpoint Books Please support this Columbus, Indiana local business with your purchase of these titles.

  • Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together In The Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race by Beverly Daniel Tatum
  • Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor
  • White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo
  • The History of White People by Nell Irvin Painter
  • The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
  • The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
  • Between The World And Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • Me and White Supremacy by Layla Saad








The Women’s Giving Circle, a program of Heritage Fund, is hosting a Book Discussion for members on the book, White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DeAngelo. The discussion is being held via Zoom for six consecutive weeks beginning on Wed, Sep 2, 7-8 PM. Tracy Heaton de Martinez & Brooke Hawkins are co-facilitating the discussion.