2021 Program & Grantmaking Report Spotlight: Embrace Race

2021 Program & Grantmaking Report Spotlight: Embrace Race - Proteus Fund

Supporting a Movement to Improve Racial Learning for Young Children

Melissa Giraud and Andrew Grant-Thomas founded EmbraceRace in 2016 after realizing that their own struggles to find resources to support their two children in developing healthy racial sensibilities was a challenge shared by many others. With the backlash to the Obama presidency, the murder of Michael Brown, and other racially-motivated incidents bringing race to the forefront of the national consciousness, the couple knew a lot of parents and educators who wanted to move beyond teaching kids to be colorblind but needed practical support to do that work.

EmbraceRace provides action guides, articles, books, and other resources for parents, family members, educators, and other caregivers who want to raise young children who are thoughtful, informed, and brave about race. Andrew and Melissa collaborate with researchers and other child-facing professionals to create the resources, while also lifting up strong existing content from other sources. EmbraceRace also seeks to create a color-brave community through its webinar series, social groups, and other opportunities to connect, share, and learn with and from others.

With the death of George Floyd and the racial justice protests that followed in 2020, the small, still relatively new organization experienced a huge increase in its online community. In one week, more than 15,000 people registered for webinars, up from a previous average registration of about 1,000 people. Melissa described that period of catching up to demand as “a bit of a scramble,” but says they were well positioned thanks to an already fully online presence that included 40 archived webinars. As partners to EmbraceRace, Proteus Fund supported the organization through this growth period in multiple ways, including financial management for the unexpected influx in new funding, establishing a one-time grantmaking process, and creating job descriptions and advising on processes and policies for new hires. EmbraceRace now has five core employees and a team of consultants. With this organizational support, Andrew and Melissa are able to focus on working toward their long-term vision of building a field of racial learning, brightening the future of multiracial democracy in the United States one child at a time