Member Highlight: Rev. Shantell Hinton Hill
The ongoing integration of SECF’s Equity Framework will depend in part on member leadership – in particular, the voices on the Equity Committee and its four subcommittees, including a group focused on Reimagining Equity-Focused Grantmaking.
One member of that subcommittee, the Rev. Shantell Hinton Hill, says she is excited to bring a variety of perspectives to the table as the group begins its work.
“It excites me to use my knowledge and embodied experiences to inform what innovative solutions could look like,” she says. “Equity-centric grantmaking is the only response in a world that teaches us scarcity above sustenance. Without this necessary reimagination of what philanthropy could be, funders will remain a part of the problem.”
Those embodied experiences go beyond her work as an equity officer at the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation in Little Rock, Arkansas. Shantell is also an ordained minister.
“Everything I know about meeting people where they are and building them up to become their highest selves, comes from my upbringing in the Black Church,” she says. “Just as the pandemic has caused everyone to shift their ‘normal’ ways of going, being, and doing in the world, I believe philanthropy is called to do the same.”
Shantell’s work with the Equity Committee is a natural extension of her day job, where she helps lead the foundation’s implementation of its AR Equity 2025 strategic direction. The foundation has placed a particular focus on a group of people described by the acronym A.L.I.C.E. – asset limited, income constrained, employed.
“My priority for this year is to change the conversation and, hopefully, begin to observe a change in behavior concerning the hard work and wealth in Arkansas,” Shantell says. “Though the commonly held belief is that people earn what they deserve, the data reminds us that our economy is the problem, not our people.”
Shantell’s experience as a faith leader will come into play as well.
“Currently, I am preparing to launch a faith leaders cohort, the Micah Fellows Program, which will develop a faith-rooted network engaged in advocacy and moral leadership to advance the narrative of economic equity in Arkansas,” she says.
On the subcommittee, Shantell hopes to see the emergence of tools inspired by leading work already being done in the field that will help guide other foundations as they put equity at the center of their grantmaking.
“I sincerely hope the subcommittee is able to both deeply listen and intentionally elevate the equity work that is already being done in local communities because there are models to equity-centric grantmaking that work, and are working, well,” she says.
In her spare time, Shantell loves coloring, writing, and science fiction – much of her work can be viewed on her website or social media feeds.
“I am deeply invested in writing the stories and truths that will liberate and uplift the varied experiences of Black women,” she says.