As program officer at the POISE Foundation, Traci Johnson helps Black-led, Black-serving organizations bring change to their communities.

During the pandemic, Traci recognized Black-led organizations and communities were far more impacted. She wanted to alleviate burdens on grantees, and speed up the time it took to get resources into the hands of organizations serving on the front lines.

Through internal discussions and community conversations that included surveys, one-on-one interviews, focus groups, and talking with past funders and grantees, Traci and her small team at POISE reevaluated their grantmaking criteria.

They committed to leveling the playing field for grantseekers by removing barriers and focusing on impact. Changes included shortened grant applications, funding organizations not traditionally considered for grants, and significantly reducing decision waiting periods for grantees.

In three weeks, POISE created the Critical Community Needs Fund, and as of this spring, it raised over $1.3 million in funds, and distributed $1.1 million directly into the hands of 103 Black-led organizations serving over 322,000 Black community members in Allegheny and Beaver counties. Over 87% of these organizations had not received any funding from the CAREs ACT.

Read the full article about Black-led, Black-serving organizations at Exponent Philanthropy.