Three years ago, I read a report stating that, out of the tens of billions of dollars in annual philanthropic giving by U.S. foundations, an estimated 2% of funding from the nation’s largest foundations is specifically directed to Black communities. While I knew funding to Black-led organizations was inequitable, I had no concept of the scale of neglect.
The reports keep coming, and nothing appears to have changed except for the worse. Studies also point to the dearth of national foundations that even fund nonprofit organizations based in the South.
These data sharpened my once-vague understanding of the funding landscape to an acute awakening to the insidious practices of funders that unfairly advantage white-led nonprofits over Black ones, a matter further compounded in the South.
Then last week, I read the new report by the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP), “Black Funding Denied: Community Foundation Support for Black Communities.”
It disclosed data on philanthropic giving to Black communities by Charlotte’s community foundation, which hosts my collective giving circle’s fund. Of Foundation for the Carolinas’ giving, an estimated average of only 0.5% is allocated to Black communities, in a region where 22% of the population is Black.
For decades, I have witnessed the bias and heard accounts from Black nonprofit founders and leaders about chronic underfunding by philanthropic institutions. It is part of a pattern referred to as “foundation redlining,” borrowing the term about policy and tactics that resulted in segregated housing patterns and a wealth gap that still plague cities, including Charlotte, today.
Probing this issue compelled me and fellow members of New Generation of African American Philanthropists (NGAAP Charlotte) giving circle to organize The Bold Project.
The Bold Project: An NGAAP Charlotte Initiative for Black Organizations Leading Differently provides a framework for our grantmaking, thought leadership and civic engagement with local Black-led nonprofits.
The Bold Project also serves as a community wide call to action for funders to attend to and repair the funding gap that results from giving preference to white-led nonprofits and effectively abandoning Black communities and sabotaging Black-led nonprofits.
Read the full article about holding funders accountable for equity by Valaida Fullwood at the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy.