Through their meaning and connotations, words have immense power—they can create unity, shape perception, and perpetuate harm. A significant part of how we show up in community is through the words and language in our communications and interactions with partners.


We also strongly believe that developing a shared language and vision with our partners is critical to building trust-based partnerships and advancing our Foundation’s mission. Since 2017, we have curated and developed a list of terms we frequently use when talking about our grantmaking approach, strategies, and stewardship.


This list is not static, nor are the definitions. Language is fluid, and as we learn about our region and evolve in our grantmaking practice, we commit to reflecting on these terms and continuously refining this list.


Read why we no longer use the term “officer” in titles of staff that closely engage with community.

ACCOUNTABILITY (in philanthropy)

When philanthropic organizations hold themselves to the same standards as their grant seekers and recipients. For us, this means the inherent responsibility we have to fulfill our purpose as a grantmaking institution, show respect and responsiveness to all of our stakeholders, and be transparent about our decision-making, processes, and outcomes.



We use the term “BILPOC” (pronounced “bill-pock”) as a tool to center how Black, Indigenous, Latinx and/or any People of Color have experienced structural racism, cultural erasure, and discrimination in our region. For us, it is a more inclusive term than simply saying “people of color”. Yet, it is not without its flaws. We recognize the limitations of using this and other “umbrella” terms as they fall short of referencing our region’s diverse racial and ethnic communities. We also acknowledge how gender, racial, ethnic, and political identities are fluid, complex, and personal.


As identities and social contexts evolve, we remain committed to being in right relationship with our region’s communities. Because “BILPOC” is not appropriate in all instances, we explicitly name communities when we refer to individuals or issues that affect specific groups of people. We look to current demographic and population data to learn more about residents and refine our use of language to be as representative and inclusive as possible.


This refers to all the communities within our 27-zip code service region and all people who call these areas home.


As a health conversion foundation, our role is to steward the financial resources that belong to the communities of our region. Organizations based in and closely interacting with these communities are the experts in their experience and know what they need to thrive and create healthier communities. When we grant funds to organizations, we enter a partnership to achieve health equity in our region. Knowing that power dynamics inherently exist between a funder and a grant recipient, we use the term “grantee partner” to reflect our community-centered, trust-based grantmaking approach.

HEALTH conversion foundation

A philanthropic entity formed when a nonprofit hospital or healthcare system is sold and converted to a for-profit enterprise.


A health difference that is closely linked with social, economic, or environmental disadvantage. Health inequities are reflected in the different lengths of life, quality of life, disease rates, disability and death, disease severity, and access to treatment for individuals.


This is achieved when every person can “attain his or her full health potential,” and no one is disadvantaged from achieving this potential because of some socially determined circumstance.


Recognizing and eliminating all barriers to health.

latino/latina, latinx, latine

We prefer to use these terms instead of “Hispanic” and, when appropriate and confirmed by the individual, we use “Latino” or “Latina”. While not all individuals refer to themselves as “Latinx” or “Latine”, we use this gender- and LGBTQIA+-inclusive term when we generally talk about groups and communities. We also acknowledge how gender, racial, ethnic, and political identities are fluid, complex, and personal. As identities and social contexts evolve, we remain committed to being in right relationship with our region’s communities.


This is a framework to analyze how race and ethnicity shape our experiences with power, access to opportunity, treatment, and outcomes.


We use this term based on the definition by the Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity.

RACIAL justice

Acknowledging history and creating a shared affirmative vision of a fair and inclusive society so we can build civic, cultural, and political power by those most impacted. Racial justice should also emphasize transformative solutions that impact multiple systems.


The conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age that impact health outcomes. These circumstances are shaped by the global, national and local distribution of money, power, and resources. They reflect community’s well-being and the factors that guide an individual’s everyday life.


The systemic forces, such as laws and policies, that shape what our communities look like, how they function, and people’s health and quality of life in these communities.


The normalization and legitimization of an array of dynamics – historical, cultural, institutional, and interpersonal – that routinely advantage Whites while producing cumulative and chronic adverse outcomes for people of color.


We use this term based on the definition by Racial Equity Tools.


Addressing the systemic conditions (including the policies, practices, institutions, culture, and power) that have historically created inequities and continue to hold them in place, which contributes to advantages for white people and disadvantages for Black, Indigenous, Latinx, People of Color.


We use this term based on the definition by the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy – Power Moves.


Referring to a person whose gender identity or gender expression differs from the sex assigned at birth. We use “transgender” as an adjective and also use “trans” as a variant of this term. For example, we use “the transgender community,” “transgender individuals,” “person of trans experience.”


An approach to philanthropy that is rooted in shifting power, advancing equity, and building mutually accountable relationships. It’s about HOW we show up as a partner, moving away from transaction-oriented grantmaking toward more collaborative and effective ways of working.


Read about our approach to trust-based philanthropy.