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.



We use the term “BILPOC” (pronounced “bill-pock”) as a tool to center how Black, Indigenous, and Latinx people have experienced structural racism, cultural erasure, and discrimination in our region. For us, it is a more inclusive term than “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 in referencing the diverse racial and ethnic communities of our region. 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 the use of “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.


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 of their experience and know what they need to thrive and create healthier communities. In our view, when we grant funds to organizations, we enter a partnership with the common goal of achieving 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.


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


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.


A framework for using law and policy to eliminate unjust health disparities.


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.


The conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age that impact health outcomes. These circumstances are shaped by the distribution of money, power, and resources at global, national, and local levels.


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.


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.


As a health conversion foundation focused on health equity, we understand that making a significant impact in our region and work has to go beyond grantmaking. It has to do with HOW we show up as a partner, moving away from transaction-oriented grantmaking and aligning with the core components of our strategic plan.


Read about our approach to trust-based philanthropy.