Our History


What began over ten years ago with the development of the Race Matters Toolkit within the Annie E. Casey Foundation (AECF) has grown into the Race Matters Institute, now a program of Just Partners, Inc. (JPI) , in collaboration with the Association of Black Foundation Executives (ABFE)Initially designed to support AECF’s programmatic work, the practical value of the Race Matters approach soon was recognized beyond the foundation.

To enable the reach of Race Matters to expand, the Race Matters Institute was created in 2011 with support from AECF and with leadership from several former Casey employees – Susan Batten, current CEO and President of ABFE, Delia Carmen, Founding Director as Executive on Loan from AECF, and Paula Dressel, now Vice President of JPI.  Casey consultant Arvenita Washington, CEO of Phoenix Cultural Resources, Joanna Shoffner Scott, then Vice President of Policy and Equity Programs at Voices for America’s Children (the original home of RMI), and the late Ben Butler of Community Development Associates rounded out the original RMI Leadership Team.  The late Barbara Sugland of CARTA also contributed meaningfully to early thinking about the Race Matters approach.

Joanna Shoffner Scott is RMI’s current Director and a Senior Consultant with JPI.  The Institute provides services and products under both the Race Matters brand offered through JPI and its customized brand, Responsive Philanthropy in Black Communities, offered through ABFE.