Since it was founded in 1971, ABFE has been a vocal advocate for effective and responsive philanthropy in Black communities. In 2020, the organization rose as a leader in the sector amid the upswell of anti-racist activism in this country. “We stepped out with 50 years of experience behind us,” ABFE CEO Susan Taylor Batten told PEAK’s Satonya Fair in our latest CEO: CEO interview. “We felt it was important to organize Black foundation CEOs to give some direct, clear guidance. We published our call to action on anti-Black racism and it has since become a framework being used by foundations across the country,” Susan told Satonya.

In the following highlights from their conversation, Satonya and Susan discuss the evolution of philanthropy-supporting organizations (PSOs), the structures that deter Black professionals from pursuing careers in philanthropy, and, more specifically, how to cultivate Black women leaders in this sector.

Fair: As you think about 2020, what’s on your agenda at the moment?

Taylor Batten:  We are in the midst of a $25 million, 50th anniversary campaign to raise resources, unleash the power of our membership, and bring more resources to Black-led organizations around the country. We have plans to do deeper funder organizing to leverage our membership in ways we have not done before. With this campaign, and the work that we did last year to build our own infrastructure, we’ve been able to put more time and attention into direct funder organizing to build a stronger infrastructure for Black-led social change organizations in this country. These are organizations that are about building political and economic power in Black communities.

Fair: How should we, as Black women CEOs, go about being better advocates for the change we want to see in these institutions?

Taylor Batten: First, we need to speak our truth. Our voices are often muted in these institutions. Find your tribe so that you can speak in unison, have a greater impact, and last longer in these organizations. Second, be more accountable to each other by being our sister’s keeper. I have so many Black women mentors in this sector, and it’s so helpful when they take the time to just text me, drop me a note, send me an email, to ask how I’m doing or congratulate me on something that I’ve done. We’ve got to do more of that.

Read the full article about Black female leadership by Satonya Fair and Susan Taylor Batten at PEAK Grantmaking.