Members of the Inatai team visit with Chinook Nation leaders in Bay Center. Photo: Amiran White
I’m proud to share Inatai Foundation’s 2022 Grantmaking Report, which chronicles our progress and the story of our third full year of grantmaking. Since 2019, we have committed a total of $200 million to hundreds of organizations in Washington state. We achieved our full grantmaking capacity last year, contributing nearly $64 million to powerful communities fighting for equity and racial justice in every corner of our state.
2022 was a year of evolutions, a series of changes to better reflect who we are today and who we aspire to be in service to grantee organizations. We clarified our values to help us play our best role as a foundation. We introduced a new mission statement: to transform the balance of power to ensure equity and racial justice across Washington and beyond. And we sought and received permission from the Chinook Nation to use the Chinuk Wawa word inatai as our new name. Inatai means “across” or “other side” and communicates our belief that powerful communities working together will move all of us to a place of greater equity and racial justice.
One thing that has not and will not change is who we support. Consistent with previous years, most of our grants in 2022 went to organizations led by and for people most affected by inequities and injustice. Their work impacts all 39 Washington counties. In our history as a foundation to date, more than 80 percent of the organizations we fund are led by Black, Indigenous, and people of color. Our worldview is straightforward: Equity and racial justice are not possible without communities having the power to determine the policies, institutions, and structures that affect their daily lives.
We have made the conscious choice to collect and report data that will help us make decisions in alignment with our values and mission and with communities’ visions for the future. This information also helps us hold ourselves accountable to being a truly statewide organization. As you dive in, we’d like to share three themes from our 2022 data that show how we can best support grantee organizations.
Expansion of multiyear grants
Ask any leader of a nonprofit and they will tell you that the best way for a funder to sustain the long-term work of equity and racial justice is through multiyear grants. Inatai also favors this approach because it allows us to build trusting relationships with organizations and more time to understand the communities they serve. To date, 60 percent of our grant dollars have been multiyear commitments. As leaders have shared with us time and again, the issues their communities face outlive the news cycle. Multiyear grants are necessary for the decades it takes to effectively strategize and organize.
Deeper investment in 501(c)(4) work
While all nonprofit organizations can participate in the electoral and political process to some extent, 501(c)(4) organizations are allowed greater latitude to pursue a range of advocacy, power-building, and political activities. In 2022, 20 percent of Inatai’s grant dollars were directed to 501(c)(4) organizations. As a 501(c)(4) organization, we prefer to make grants to reflective, accountable, community-rooted 501(c)(4) organizations. Our average grant to a BIPOC-led 501(c)(4) organization is significantly larger than the average grant to a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Inatai resources have supported many organizations to expand their policy and advocacy work, including hiring political directors, organizers, and lobbyists.
Our systems and processes could use refining
A third-party evaluation of how grantee organizations experience our foundation showed that while people appreciate our approach to grantmaking and our emphasis on trust and relationship-building, we have room to improve how we communicate our grantmaking cycles and opportunities, so their structure and expectations are clearer to organizations seeking funding. In response, we invested time and energy into improving our internal processes and infrastructure, and we hope the organizations we support feel the payoff of that effort. As we continue to develop funding programs and strengthen our capacity, we will
keep the experiences of organizations and leaders at the forefront of each decision we make.
On behalf of every team member at Inatai, we enjoyed getting to know you in 2022 and we look forward to even more connection ahead. Until then, we hope you find this report helpful in understanding our work, including areas we are striving to improve. Thank you for reading.
Nichole June Maher
President & CEO