Pursuing Racial Justice for Healing and Equity


We’ve listened and learned so much about racial equity, justice and healing over the past 16 years, and each new conversation reveals the growing urgency of funding this work.

On this page, we will share our funding approach, in hopes that it will inspire other donors in this work. It is possible to catalyze real, personal, and systemic transformation in racial relations.

Racial Justice Giving Over Time

While the Embrey Family Foundation is currently utilizing a time-limited strategy to spend down the foundation’s assets, we are allocating more and more to Racial Justice projects.

Giving with Increased Urgency

$7.89 Million over 16 years

Our Approach

Our foundation mission transitioned as our growth and learning did. We sought to attract programs and projects of racial equity that energized the exploratory nature of the work. We reframed our mission to “Explore Possibilities, Expand Awareness, and Elevate Consciousness.” We also refined our values to say what we felt about how to do the work; “Promoting Love, Seeking Balance, Pursuing Passion, Connecting Community, Uncovering Truth, and Supporting Artistic Freedom.”

Over time, we’ve learned that we can influence change by spreading investment across three main categories:

Artistic Exploration

Elevate consciousness around racial justice, equity, and healing through creative expression and storytelling.

It’s not about the performance, it’s about the process. The process is the healing.
- Clyde Valentine




Theatre Grants


Film Grants


Visual Art Grants


Dance Grants


Journalism Grants

Example Projects

Bricks & Bones brings Maryland-based Dance Exchange and Dallas community members together to weave dance, song, and storytelling into an intergenerational investigation of how race shapes the landscape around us….

Implicit Bias Thumbnail

The Embrey Foundation developed a series of documentary abstract dance short films to bring awareness to the subconscious perceptions we all carry regardless of race, gender, status, or orientation.

Truth in Translation, Dallas, TX USA

The Truth in Translation Project brought to light stories of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission as told from the point of view of the Commission’s young interpreters.
The founders of the project intended to only tour post-war international conflict areas, but after seeing the play in Kigali, Rwanda, Lauren Embrey suggested that there was plenty of conflict in the U.S. as well. This led to the American premiere of the production at SMU’s Bob Hope Theatre in 2007, after which the cast and production traveled to Flint, MI, Colorado Springs, CO, Jackson Hole, WY, and Washington, D.C.

Community Learning, Relationships and Healing

Collectively reimagine and change thought through racial equity training and organizational capacity building, collaborative connections and guided racial healing conversations.

Embrey was also fundamental in convening over 200 plus non-profit organizations across Dallas County. ...and really to ask them to find their work in the work of racial justice.
- Chantel Jones
We created all kinds of things just by having a personal connection, and then making personal connections to other people
- Jerry Hawkins




Dallas Faces Race


Racial Healing Grants

Example Projects
Dallas Faces Race Logo

Dallas Faces Race was the beginning of a sustainable forum on race in Dallas. The forum brought together organizations to actively build their capacity to address racial equity and make change.

Dallas Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation Logo

Dallas TRHT is a community-driven vehicle for change to transform the community and eventually the country. The TRHT approach examines how the hierarchy of human value became embedded in our society, both its culture and structures, and then works with communities to design and implement effective actions that will permanently uproot it.

Hear Diane and Lauren Talk About this Work

Systemic Transformation

Developing leaders for a reimagined future, initiating and defending policy to create institutional change and providing access to previously excluded equitable opportunity.

It's always been true that our communities deserve investment and deserve infrastructure, not just in short sprints, but in the longterm. I mean, that's what organizing is all about.
- Briana Brown




Developing Leadership Grants


Advocacy and Organizing Grants


Seeding Equitable Opportunity Grants

Example Projects
Embrey American Indian College Fund thumbnail

In 2010, The Embrey Family Foundation launched a prestigious 4-year fellowship program in partnership with the American Indian College Fund. The program is designed to support 20 American Indian women attending tribal colleges, women who have a high potential for future leadership and a desire to earn a bachelor’s degree. Through individual community projects, group training, retreats, and annual scholarship funding, participants develop leadership skills while they obtain their higher education.

Texas Organizing Project Logo

Embrey Family Foundation consistently supported the general operating budget of Texas Organizing Project.

Funding Details

Click page numbers at the bottom to view more entries.

Our Learnings

Racial healing is in everything
  • Racism is the root cause of most social injustice in the United States
  • Learning how to recognize our White power and privilege is never ending
  • Telling our history and truth is just as important as supporting the work
  • Reconciliation and Transformation are not the same
We relied on intuition
  • Give with no pre-determined outcomes
  • Learn as you go, but learn faster – to give faster
  • Invest in unproven ideas
  • Seed opportunities
  • Give boldly
Give explicitly and intentionally
  • Be explicit with your language on racial justice (no code language)
  • Place Racial Equity front and center
  • Streamline giving guidelines for quicker response time
  • Trust smaller local BIPOC (black, Indigenous, and people of color) led organizations
Engage Personally
  • Give time, not just money
  • Share influence from board involvement
  • Be in it for the long run
  • Be an ally and friend
  • Get feedback and learn from it
  • Elevate and promote grantee stories
Cultivate True Partnerships
  • Develop learning communities with grant partners through relationship-based collaborations
  • Reach out for partners-don’t wait for them to come to you
  • Listen and respect historical perspectives
  • The work is relational and personal
  • Share power and relationships
  • Step in and step out

Books and Readings

  • The Accommodation – (to be re-published September 2021) – Jim Schutze
  • An American Sunrise – Joy Harjo
  • As the South Goes – Philanthropy and Social Justice in the US South
  • Caste – Isabel Wilkerson
  • Chasing Utopia – Nikki Giovanni
  • Citizen – Claudia Rankine
  • Decolonizing Wealth – Edgar Villanueva
  • Fire in Beulah – Rilla Askew
  • Head Off & Split – Nikky Finney
  • How to Love a Country – Richard Blanco
  • Just Mercy – Bryan Stevenson
  • Just Us – Claudia Rankine
  • Minor Feelings – Cathy Park Hong
  • My Grandmother’s Hands – Resmaa Menakem
  • The Night Watchman – Louise Erdrich
  • So You Want to Talk About Race – Ijeoma Oluo
  • The Souls of Black Folk – W.E.B. Du Bois
  • Stamped From the Beginning – Ibram X. Kendi
  • The Sum of Us – Heather McGhee
  • The Warmth of Other Suns – Isabel Wilkerson
  • White Fragility – Robin Diangelo


“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”
- Desmond Tutu

Racial equity, healing and radical transformation is created by many doing their “bits of good”, individually and collectively.

To the organizers, artists, activists and community vison carriers leading the way-thank you.

To the collaborators, funders, board members and professionals who devote their time and resources to creating a more equitable Dallas landscape-thank you.

To those who are waiting-we all need you.

-Embrey Family Foundation board and staff