In our most recent report, On the Frontlines, which examines how nonprofit leaders of color are faring in the wake of the pandemic, the usual concerns about not being treated fairly by funders took on new urgency. We surveyed more than 400 nonprofit leaders of color this past spring, when organizations were still adapting to COVID-19, and the funding concerns were widespread. We found that Black leaders were more likely than Asian and Latinx leaders to report that their organizations had already experienced decreases in grant revenue.

As our report notes, Black-led organizations are struggling to meet two urgent crises right now: COVID-19 and anti-Black racism.  When asked what their organization needed to survive this period of financial uncertainty, one Black leader we interviewed said, “We need money, and trust … We need not just funding for this six-month period of crisis, not just for a year, but multiple years of funding so we are enabled and have the capacity and resources to create transformation.”

Another Asian-American leader wrote, “Right now, I am more worried about our 2021/2022 budget. I don’t know how those years will be impacted but I want to get ahead and make sure we have secure and stable funding. This is the time for funders to make general operating grants and make them at least [through] 2022.”

As a leader of a grant-seeking organization myself, I can attest that several foundations have responded to the current crisis by offering to convert existing grants to general support, and by extending timelines. This flexibility is hugely helpful in the midst of the current crisis. For us, it was GOS that made it possible for our organization to do a study on the impact of COVID-19 on leaders of color, something we could not, of course, have planned for or anticipated.

Read the full article about what nonprofits led by people of color need by Sean Thomas-Breitfeld at The Center for Effective Philanthropy.