By Sarah CR Clark
Amelia Corl is senior strategy officer at GHR Foundation. She previously worked at USAID and the US Institute of Peace.
A native of Washington, D.C., Corl graduated from Macalester College in 2006 and then attended the University of Minnesota’s graduate program in sociology. She identifies as white and lives in St. Anthony Park with her spouse and two young children.
Q: Can you describe GHR Foundation’s work?
A: GHR Foundation is based in Minneapolis and is the legacy foundation of Gerald and Henrietta Rauenhorst. We “exist to be of service to people in their limitless potential for good.” The foundation focuses its grant making in the areas of international development, education and Alzheimer’s prevention.
Q: Has your work at the foundation changed since George Floyd’s murder?
A: I think most foundations have changed their work over the course of 2020. The compounding crises of COVID-19, economic destabilization and the widening spotlight on racial injustice have forced us to reflect on our role in changing the systems that concentrate these impacts on the most vulnerable and marginalized.
At GHR, we increased our grants budget this year by 20 percent and have launched new place-based partnerships to anchor our foundation more firmly in the work of racial justice in Minnesota.
This year has been a time for more significant reflection. We find ourselves reckoning with 400 years of deeply baked racism and exploitation in a whole new way since George Floyd was murdered in our community. For me, it has been a time of simultaneous grief and optimism. There is so much that needs to change. But every week I am meeting new people and organizations who believe this change is possible.
Q: What steps have GHR’s staff taken to become more anti-racist?
A: We are undertaking work individually and as a team to build our capacity around racial consciousness and dismantling unjust systems. We have had the tremendous benefit of working with one of the most outstanding leaders in this work—Tony Hudson of Racially Conscious Collaboration.
I have also been grateful for all of the resources staff and partners are sharing from well-known guidance to philanthropy such as “Power Moves,” which is a self-assessment guide for equity and justice put out by the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, all the way to podcasts like Nice White Parents, 1619 and Seeing White. I’ve been excited that the energy isn’t waning even six months after George Floyd was killed.
Q: What hopes do you have for the future of GHR’s impact on dismantling local racism?
A: I’m most definitely an optimist, so I truly believe that change is possible in our community. My single greatest hope for the future is that all of the involvement from philanthropy, the private sector and the government prioritizes guidance from BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) community leaders in the design and implementation of programs.
We must listen to individuals and communities where funding and programs are directed.
Sarah CR Clark is a St. Anthony Park resident and regular Bugle freelance contributor. Know of someone who would be an interesting subject for Voices, a column devoted to expanding our roster of community contributors? Please email Sarah at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.