Public Infrastructure for an Equitable Future

Public infrastructure is the connective tissue that enables – or impedes – so much of the societal good that philanthropy hopes to foster. Robust infrastructure should facilitate health, well-being, education, social connections, and economic opportunity for everyone. Instead, America’s deteriorating, and in some cases absent, infrastructure prevents children from doing homework, plunges families already on the margin further into poverty, hinders travel to jobs, interferes with access to healthcare, and pollutes communities. These high social and economic costs of infrastructure are not borne equally. Due to a long legacy of discriminatory policies, today’s infrastructure perpetuates and enshrines in concrete and steel longstanding racial, economic, and geographic inequities.

In this report, commissioned by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Onside Partners presents six solutions for philanthropy to address the converging crises of COVID-19, racism, climate change, and economic inequality through improved public infrastructure that provides all members of our society the opportunity to thrive.

Download the executive summary

Download the full report:

Cover page of infrastructure report

Our report was part of an exploratory body of work looking at the intersection of public infrastructure and health equity commissioned by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. To read more about health equity and specific infrastructure sectors, like water and broadband, visit RWJF’s Public Infrastructure page.

Watch a webinar based on our report, featuring experts from philanthropy, government, finance, and equity discussing the role of philanthropy in public infrastructure.