Giving Compass’ Take:
• Byrd Barr Place, Seattle Foundation, and Cardea share insights from a survey of Black-led organizations in King County to inform donor decisions.
• What are you already doing to support Black-led organizations? What can you do too better support Black-led organizations?
- BLOs primarily focus on serving Seattle residents, and nearly half serve South King County residents
- Most BLOs have limited full-time staff and robust volunteer support
- BLOs’ advisory structures are primarily boards of directors with predominantly Black membership
- BLOs address a wide range of issues that impact the Black community
- BLOs most commonly reported strong missions; skilled leadership, staff, and boards; and longevity as key strengths
- Reported budget size varied widely, with BLOs most commonly reporting an operating budget less than $250,000
- Nearly two-thirds of survey respondents reported three months or less of operating cash reserves
- Funding sources vary widely among BLOs
- Insufficient staff capacity was identified as a primary challenge in securing funding
- Insufficient funding is a common challenge
- BLOs reported dramatic and immediate impacts related to COVID-19 that amplified existing systemic inequities
- Trust, clear communication, and desire to collaborate emerged as the most important facilitators of partnership
- BLOs reported limited awareness of the vast number of BLOs, but deep relationships within their networks
- Involve and trust BLOs’ expertise, directly share funding opportunities, and dedicate funding specifically for BLOs
- Minimize barriers, value qualitative insights, invest in capacity building, and make decision-making processes transparent
The intent of this report is to enhance funders’ understanding of local BLOs, so they can provide tailored philanthropic support that meets the needs of BLOs and so BLOs in the King County region can better understand each other’s work.