A report from Giving GapState of Black Nonprofits Report: 2024: Shining a Light on What Donors and Funders Need to Know, highlights the critical role of Black-founded organizations as service providers, catalysts for positive change, and champions for equity. Combining survey data from leaders of 168 Black-founded nonprofits and Candid’s 990 data, the report delves into the unique strengths of these organizations and their leaders, showcasing their resilience and commitment in the face of funding disparities, limited growth opportunities, and the need for equitable support and investment.

Established in 2020 by Christina Lewis, Stephanie Ellis-Smith, and David Setiadi, Giving Gap aims to dismantle barriers hindering nonprofit growth, especially for organizations that are Black-founded and serve Black communities. Giving Gap CEO Heather Infantry spoke with Candid insights about the report’s key findings.

“In our report, we really wanted to distinguish what we think are unique leadership attributes among Black organizations,” she said. “How do they specifically approach the work? What are the factors in their lives that compel and inspire them to engage in communities in the way they do?”

Why invest in Black-founded nonprofits for community success? 
According to the report, 82% of Black leaders at Black-founded nonprofits were deeply involved in the daily operations of their organizations, and 92% had personal experiences related to their missions. Ninety-one percent said they were motivated by their passion and belief in the mission, with 62% citing lived experience as a factor. Respondents also noted that strong skill sets, spiritual practices, and support networks were crucial to their success as leaders.

“Investing in Black nonprofit leaders and investing in Black nonprofit organizations is an opportunity to effectively get things done in our communities,” said Infantry. “Those organizations will show up and do that work regardless of whether you are there with them or not. They’ve been doing the work regardless of funders being there. They do not exclusively serve Black communities, and the impact of their work benefits all communities. And there’s so much farther the funder and the nonprofit can go and do together in partnership.”

Yet while the COVID-19 pandemic and calls for racial justice in 2020 boosted fundraising for many Black-founded nonprofits, 22% reported no increase in funding, and 97% said their organizations needed financial support for general operations. In addition, 62% of leaders said they faced personal financial constraints and sought outside income.

Infantry noted that while there is focus on what these organizations lack, there should be more focus on why the lack exists in the first place. “Some of my colleagues in this space are focused on building up these organizations’ technical and fundraising capacity, which is great. But I do know there are phenomenal Black organizations that write winning proposals and yet still come up short. They have charismatic leaders and great deliverables, yet funders don’t award them grants,” she said.

Read the full article about Black-founded nonprofits by Lauren Brathwaite at Candid.