The last time I put pen to paper I was writing about the video of the police and Black teens in McKinney Texas. I didn’t finish that piece…I paused to collect my thoughts. Just two weeks later we are faced with the massacre in Charleston, South Carolina. I join many in this country and express my sincere condolences to the families who lost loved ones in Emanuel African American Episcopal Church last week.
Just as we look back at the role of organized philanthropy in support of major movements (civil, gender and immigrant rights, etc.); the children of today will study the role, courage and will of foundation leaders several years from now. How will we show up? Issues of race are in the mainstream media every day but where are these discussions in the board rooms of foundations? Real talk: if a foundation is not intentionally looking at their work through a lens of race given what is going on in this country today, its’ work is irrelevant and not about lifting up those most vulnerable. Philanthropy can no longer hide behind the platforms of poverty, school readiness, health and education — these issues matter but if we cannot do it through a racial equity lens, philanthropy is not contributing at a level that warrants tax breaks and write-offs.
We at ABFE partner with countless foundations around this country who are using their privilege to tackle structural racism, personal bias and racial healing. We know that there are many more foundation leaders who could be champions for racial equity but don’t know where or how to start their work. And we know that there are many who are interested in building on the principles and values that we stand for at ABFE — collective responsibility, self-preservation and building power in Black communities. Please come forward and join the fight — we are at a critical place in this country’s history and our collective future depends on it.
Building power in Black communities is what we need to do. Please join us today for an important webinar entitled Gathering Strength to invest in the movement.