Our Commitment to Anti-Racism

The events of 2020 have highlighted the racial inequities that are pervasive across all facets of our society, with the behavioral healthcare system being no exception. In response, Trustees of the Woodruff Foundation have adopted the following statement affirming the Foundation’s commitment to anti-racism and its future work to understand how it can help dismantle the systems and structures that contribute to poorer behavioral health outcomes among Black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC).

  • Since its founding in 1987, the Woodruff Foundation has strived to support access to behavioral health treatment for all residents of Cuyahoga County. The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown into sharp relief the fact that Black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) have unequal access to a range of resources that enable optimal health, including nutritious food, safe housing and neighborhoods, education, jobs, primary healthcare and behavioral healthcare. As the U.S. Surgeon General reports, BIPOC have less access to mental health services than do White people, are less likely to receive needed care, and when they receive care, it is more likely to be poor in quality. In addition, systemic and structural racism have influenced the evolution of a behavioral health care system that is both underfunded and fragmented.

    Trustees and staff of the Woodruff Foundation denounce racism in all its forms and recognize that racism, spanning systems from medical care to housing to hiring, adversely affects health in myriad ways. The Woodruff Foundation is committed to helping to dismantle racism with a special focus on the impact it has had on behavioral health. We recognize our responsibility to work to understand how our future grants can help rectify the historic disparities in care faced by BIPOC.

    We welcome your feedback on this statement and your suggestions for how we can best convert our commitment to anti-racism into action moving forward. To share feedback, please reach out to Karen Thompson-Shaheen at [email protected]