Mike Gonzalez: Address the Causes of Disparities, Don’t Engineer Outcomes

Mike Gonzalez’s family escaped communist Cuba when he was a child in the 1970s, first fleeing to Spain and then eventually to the United States. But even in Spain, he says his family benefited from American kindness. It was cold there and his family couldn’t afford coats, yet help came from Cuban-American charities that sent coats from New York.

In a new Philanthropy Roundtable video, Gonzalez notes such charitable relief could be curtailed because of diversity mandates in philanthropy — stipulations that donors must help certain races, ethnicities and additional categories, to the exclusion of others. Those attacks on philanthropic freedom hit close to home.

“With mandates like this, I might not have been given the coat,” Gonzalez says.

Today, Gonzalez serves as a senior fellow with The Heritage Foundation, where he has written at length about challenges in the nonprofit sector, including the effects of boxing individuals into groups based on physical characteristics.

Watch the video below to learn more about Gonzalez’s story:

Gonzalez encourages Americans to view disparities in society through a broader lens than categories such as race or ethnicity. Instead, he recommends studying additional factors, such as poor schools and family structure, and addressing those types of issues through policy and investments in institutions that support civil society.

Gonzalez embraces the Philanthropy Roundtable’s True Diversity initiative, calling it a “beautiful concept.”

“It returns the emphasis to the individual rather than a racial category,” he says.

True Diversity is an equality-based, holistic framework for embracing diversity. It values every person as a unique individual and empowers charitable organizations with the freedom and flexibility to advance their missions and help those in need. Learn more here.

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