The founders of Race2Dinner, a progressive supper club that charges white women up to $5,000 to harangue them about what the founders describe as latent racism, is speeding all the way to the bank.
The group, which uses nonprofit catchphrases like “community” and “transparency” and includes a “community fund” icon on its website to “talk boldly about race and racism,” is a for-profit money grab for its Colorado-based founders Regina Jackson and Saira Rao, public records show. Contributions go to “ensuring all women have access to our programs and experiences,” the website says. “Each class has at least one ‘community’ participant — and dinner guests can apply for assistance with funding, as well.”
“Any reasonable person who visits this site will immediately assume it’s a nonprofit based on the presentation and all the nonprofit and social justice buzzwords that are incorporated throughout its content,” said Laurie Styron, executive director of Charity Watch, a nonprofit watchdog group. “If it is a for-profit, or if it is an aspiring nonprofit in the process of applying for tax-exempt status, it should explicitly communicate this information on its website so that people can make an informed decision about whether or not they want to fund it.”
When The Post tried to make a $5 donation on Race2Dinner’s website, the message that appeared onscreen said “you will donate $5.00 to Race2Dinner,” which is a for-profit limited liability company, incorporated by Rao and Jackson in Denver in 2019, public records show.
This month, Jackson and Rao also released an anti-racism guidebook, “White Women: Everything You Already Know About Your Own Racism and How to Do Better,” copyrighted to Race2Dinner, the for-profit company that will reap any windfall. The book is already a bestseller in “discrimination and racism studies” on Amazon, where it occupies fourth place, and at number five in the “feminist theory” category on Kindle.
Repeated attempts to reach Rao and Jackson for comment were not returned.
Race2Dinner charges a $750 membership fee and separate consulting fees for sessions with principals Rao and Jackson. Fees for the programs offered at Race2Dinner are not refundable, and any “unused” fees are given to a charity called Haven Media Inc., a nonprofit originally set up by Rao in May 2019 as Healing from Hate Inc., public records show. Five months later, Rao officially changed the charity’s name to Haven Media Inc. The charity helps nonbinary people and is “rooted towards abolition, liberation and healing,” according to its website.
“It’s a problem that the public has to guess, dig, or invest time in researching the legal status of an organization that is soliciting funding for social justice or other charitable causes,” said Styron. “Just tell us.”
Rao, 48, worked as an attorney for New York law firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton between 2004 and 2017, and ran for Congress in 2018. The idea for Race2Dinner was born shortly after Jackson volunteered to work for Rao’s unsuccessful campaign in Denver that was devoted to anti-racism.
Rao is a first-generation Indian American who recently sold the $3.2 million, five-bedroom home she shared with her husband, Shivan Govindan, who works as the CEO of the Helios Companies in Denver, which provides software compliance solutions to community banks, according to public records and LinkedIn. Little is known about Jackson, 72. Born in Chicago, she owns her own real estate firm in Denver, according to reports.
Set up in 2019, the dinners offered by Race2Dinner are now available throughout the country and in other parts of the world. Each dinner party initially cost $2,500 total, but that rate increased to $5,000 as the group increased in visibility. The fees cover a two-hour dinner, which usually features Jackson or Rao and eight white women, as well as travel for the principals and a post-dinner consultation. Food is not included in the dinner party fee.
The in-person dinners do not allow male diners to attend in order to provide what Jackson and Rao call “safe” spaces for women, according to a 2020 report.
“There is no better place for honest conversation than at the dinner table,” reads the group’s website. “After three years, we can safely say that breaking bread together helps to facilitate conversations around white supremacy, racism and xenophobia.”