HCF President Maria Pesqueira Speaks at 2022 SXSW Conference

SXSW 2022 Logo

HCF President Maria Pesqueira Speaks at 2022 SXSW Conference

On March 13, 2022, our President Maria Pesqueira was joined by Angelique Power (The Skillman Foundation) and Beth Swanson (A Better Chicago) at this year’s SXSW Conference in Austin, TX to discuss and reflect upon the Mapping COVID-19 Recovery Project.
The panel discussion, “Mapping Equity to Drive Impactful Philanthropy,” was moderated by Natalie Moore (WBEZ Chicago) and covered lessons from the Project, effects from its findings on investment patterns, and looked ahead to how other cities could employ strategies from the Project.
In 2020, the Foundation partnered with local foundations to launch the Mapping COVID-19 Recovery Project. The project team placed different data overlays over the Chicagoland area to show the past and current impact of inequitable policies and structural determinants of health on BILPOC communities, including past and present housing discrimination, school closures, access to healthcare providers, and more.
“The maps have given us a historical context, and a snapshot in time of the health state of communities,” Maria Pesqueira said during the SXSW discussion. “But it [has] also given us an opportunity to hold ourselves accountable to communities historically overlooked and disinvested because of racist policies and systems.”
While maps and data do not tell us the whole story, the Mapping COVID-19 Recovery Project was launched with the goal of encouraging organizations to apply a racial/ethnic lens to their data and processes to spur systemic change.
The Project also examined the intersectional nature of disinvestment, inequitable policies, and health/social conditions in the Chicagoland area. From these maps, one can see how these systems further deepened health, social and economic inequities during the COVID pandemic and how needs can be different from one community to another.
“The opportunities that these maps have offered has helped us truly see how the social determinants of health play a role in how COVID has deepened these inequities,” Maria said. “It’s offered us a cross-sector opportunity to deepen relationships with communities and understand the hyperlocal needs.”
Audio from Maria Pesqueira at the 2022 SXSW Conference
The Mapping COVID-19 Recovery Project amplified inequities that have been widely known and experienced by BILPOC communities for decades. But in order to create change, we must learn from this history.
As the pandemic proved the interconnected nature of our health, it also emphasized the need for philanthropic sector to do its part to respond to its effects and to community’s growing and evolving needs. At the Foundation, it reinforced our community-centered approach to our grantmaking and relationship-building with grantee and other community partners.
“We had one particular board member who said, ‘This is the moment. We are here to respond to community,’” said Maria. “Most boards across the country, even the most conservative ones, felt this moment and this need [and thought] how can we respond?”

Share This Article

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *