Giving Compass' Take:
- Son Chau discusses the shifting role of philanthropy in organizing multiracial coalitions to support movements for Black liberation.
- What is the difference between charity and solidarity? What are the mechanisms by which philanthropy can make this change?
- Read about solidarity fundraising.
What is Giving Compass?
We connect donors to learning resources and ways to support community-led solutions. Learn more about us.
Philanthropy comes in many forms. For over a decade, Black Philanthropy Month has been a time of reflection on Black philanthropists’ contributions—including the contributions of Black liberation movements. As an American-born, Vietnamese philanthropic professional, this annual convening in August prompts me to reflect not only on the financial and political contributions that Black communities up and down the socioeconomic ladder have made to a democratic society. It also encourages me to rethink the definition of philanthropy itself.
Black liberation movements have advanced social progress for those who have not traditionally had political power or access to capital: the working class (white and BIPOC), women, queer and trans people, and immigrants and refugees. These movements’ leaders—usually grassroots volunteers who I view, too, as philanthropists—have demonstrated solidarity in their non-monetary philanthropy. Their approach to philanthropy did not just focus on redistributing wealth for charitable purposes based on a donor’s individual intent or a generalized love of humankind. They collectively pooled resources—such as skills, leadership, and knowledge—for the love of their communities and to advance social movements and uplift humankind.
We need only look at the past half century of Black-led movements to see how civil rights, labor, and community-based activists and organizers for Black liberation have contributed to multiracial democracy in the US. Black women who volunteered for the Black Panther Party—like Vanetta Molson-Turner, a registered nurse who contributed her time and expertise to the Black Panther Party’s Community Survival Programs—pooled their resources to serve their people in response to underinvestment and discrimination. Together, they fed Black school children free breakfasts, advocated for public safety reforms, developed universal healthcare programs, and fought sickle cell anemia, a genetic disease that is prevalent in Black communities but whose research was severely underfunded.
Black organizers and leaders like Addie Wyatt, a feminist labor leader, and Bayard Rustin, queer civil rights organizer of the 1963 March on Washington, also contributed their time and expertise to develop civic organizations that empowered workers—white and BIPOC—to win better wages and workplace conditions and advance rights and access across race, class, gender, and sexuality.
Read the full article about solidarity in philanthropy by Son Chau at Nonprofit Quarterly.