For many nonprofit organizations in our region, the COVID-19 pandemic tested them in ways they had never imagined. Faced with the combined challenges of an uncertain environment, limited availability for volunteerism and an overwhelming demand for services, many organizations and their staff were pushed to the limit.
But perhaps none have been tested so severely as Black-led nonprofits.
Historically, philanthropy has woefully underinvested in Black-led organizations. A report by Echoing Green and The Bridgespan Group found that even in areas where work targeted Black communities, Black-led organizations had 45 percent less revenue and 91 percent less unrestricted net assets than white-led organizations.
With a mission to advance equity and prosperity, the Greater Washington Community Foundation is working to close the racial wealth gap and mindful of our obligation to change how we look at our approach to philanthropy.
So last year when Facebook approached us with a generous gift intended to support BIPOC communities, The Community Foundation was eager to invest it in Black-led nonprofit organizations working in the critical area of Systems Change, serving Greater Washington. Grants were awarded to address immediate infrastructure needs such as leadership development, human resources and technology – areas that are traditionally difficult to fundraise for, yet incredibly vital to the sustainability of an organization – especially during a pandemic.
Recently, we reached out to them to understand the impact this funding had on their organization. Here are quotes from a few of those sustainability grantees:
"Receiving the Sustainability of Black-led Organizations grant has helped Mamatoto Village bolster our data and social impact initiatives. With this grant funding, our organization was able to purchase the SoPact Impact Cloud–– an innovative resource that is helping our organization accurately describe the social impact of our services.”
“The Greater Washington Community Foundation grant funding was instrumental in bolstering our advocacy and organizing efforts by allowing us to train and pay community members who are interested in advocating for maternal health rights and equity.
The Community Foundation grant funding has helped our organization meet necessary infrastructure needs as we continue to serve womxn, families, and communities in the Greater Washington region."
-Jordan McRae, Grants Manager, Mamatoto Village
“Racial Justice NOW is grateful for the support we've received from the Greater Washington Community Foundation's sustainability fund. This support has helped us with our strategic planning efforts as we work to map out our work and desired impact over the next few years. Without this support, it would've been extremely difficult to move forward with this process. The work we do in Montgomery County is very important because we center Black people unapologetically, that's self-determination!”
– Zakiya Sankara-Jabar, Co-Founder & Director, Racial Justice NOW!
"Facing the challenges of COVID, the Greater Washington Community Foundation grant allowed us to add a social media advisor to our team to help us expand our presence across the community. With the funds, we established a virtual classroom to 1) support our middle student tutoring program, 2) produce a series of issue-focused public service announcements, and 3) deliver our monthly community forums to address critical issues facing our families. "
-- Jim Paige, Executive Director, Concerned Citizens Network of Alexandria
African Communities Together
Bread for the City
Collective Action for Safe Spaces
Community Grocery Co-Op
Concerned Citizens Network of Alexandria
DC Justice Lab
Dreaming Out Loud
Harriet’s Wildest Dreams
Life After Release
Many Languages One Voice
Racial Justice NOW!
Serve Your City/Ward 6 Mutual Aid
The National Reentry Network of Returning Citizens