Key Points

The mission of the Michigan Fitness Foundation is to encourage and facilitate active lifestyles and healthy food choices through education, environmental awareness, community participation, and policy leadership. The article shares how a three-year engagement with the Equitable Evaluation Initiative led the foundation to see its grantmaking, programming, and evaluation practices anew through an equity lens.

Through naming and noticing the ways in which traditional grantmaking has contributed to the inequities that philanthropy seeks to address, the foundation was able to change its own way of working — specifically by going beyond the standard written grant proposal to actually sit with prospective grantees and members of the communities they serve and listen as they describe a vision for a healthier future and how to make it a reality.

With a grounding in the EEI principles, we were able to share ideas, problem solve, discover what worked and, maybe even more importantly, what didn’t, which helped shape our journey, actions, and evolving successes more intentionally. We hope our story will inspire others to take steps toward equity in their work.

Open Access