We Cannot Be Silent: Dodge’s Commitment to Anti-Racism

Tanuja Dehne

June 2, 2020

We cannot be silent, and we will not stand on the sidelines. 

The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation stands for racial justice, social change, and equity. We condemn violence and oppression in all forms, especially racism and white supremacy.

For more than 400 years, racism has been a pandemic that has infected our systems and institutions with purposefully designed racial inequalities and disparities. At a time when we are already challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic, we must continue to bear witness and respond to new attacks and violence against the Black community and call for justice. 

For anyone who has not been paying attention or taken action, it’s time.

Justice for the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery – and the many other Black people who our society fails to protect the way it cares for others – is necessary but not nearly enough.

Despite the heartbreak, grief, and outrage, I am inspired and motivated to action by my colleagues, Trustees, friends, and family who have engaged in courageous conversations with loved ones about race, supported transformative organizations, and protested in cities and communities across the country and right here in our home state.

At the Dodge Foundation, we are channeling our energy and using our power, influence, and voice to publicly commit to prioritize anti-racism in our organization and in our work. Equity is a core value at Dodge, and we believe an equitable New Jersey is only possible when our systems and institutions are free from oppression and reflective of and invested in our Black, Indigenous, and people of color neighbors regardless of their gender, sexuality, religious, and cultural identities. It is clear we must reimagine and rebuild our systems and institutions to ensure that all people and communities have the resources necessary to live quality lives. The recovery from this pandemic must be equitable.

Over the last four-plus years, we have made a lot of progress centering our work on equity, increasing our individual and collective intercultural competency, committing to investing a majority of our resources to support people and communities of color, developing equity theories of change, and getting to the point where becoming actively anti-racist is the next logical phase of our equity journey.

We know that we have a great deal of work ahead of us – beginning with addressing anti-racism within ourselves. This is enduring long-term work that we will approach with commitment, humility, and transparency.  We expect that you will hold us accountable.

We believe New Jersey is resilient and that if we work to build trust in movements invested in and with organizations that have long been committed to undoing racism and that if we continue to negate dominant narratives, everyone in America will benefit.

We call on our philanthropic peers, grantee partners, and others in the social sector in New Jersey and beyond to use their voice, influence, and power to actively undo racism and oppression in their organizations, communities, and the systems in which they operate.

Every journey begins with a single step, and we share below several resources that might help guide you on your own path.

Thank you.


Tanuja Dehne

Tanuja Dehne is President & CEO of the Dodge Foundation where, alongside her team, she is leading the Foundation’s transformation into an anti-racist organization dedicated to realizing a just and equitable New Jersey.