The COVID-19 pandemic left most families and businesses alike picking up the pieces. Most people in the United States lost a loved one or knew someone that did. The rest suffered significant losses in their businesses and nonprofit organizations. Post-COVID pandemic, most businesses and people are back on their feet, while Black communities are having a hard time catching up. Despite the increase in entrepreneurship and philanthropic gestures, Black communities are at the end of the receiving line on these funding opportunities. This is a clear example of systemic racism and racial injustices.
To promote racial justice and equity, we need to drive large amounts of traffic towards fundraising initiatives and supporting black-led organizations. Having an organization like the Black Equity Index to keep us in check helps ensure that people of color have equal access to private capital that benefits their communities towards recovery. The Black Equity Index helps set a standard in the United States and globally that representation matters.
We deserve the chance to apply for loans and grants and have them accepted. We deserve equity in the workplace in terms of promotions, inclusions, and hires. As we begin the celebrations of Black Philanthropy Month this August, we also need to teach accountability by voicing our need in Black Funding Equity.
The Disparities in Fundraising for Black Organizations
Recent global events have helped highlight institutional and systemic racism in America. We have seen which group of people companies refer to as ‘essential workers.’ We also witness the difference between a neighborhood offering the best security and those affected by police brutality.
Chasing the American Dream is more than just owning a business. It means allowing Black communities to have significant roles in the local, regional, and global markets. However, discrimination based on the color of our skin makes it complicated in different markets such as nonprofit organizations, schools, and governmental agencies. This continued discrimination has shut the door on opportunities for most black people struggling to make ends meet at home, in their businesses and in the philanthropic community.
Racial Inequities in Philanthropic Funding
Securing funding for a black-led organization would appear to be easier than it is. Nonprofits led by minorities for minorities always seem to lag in terms of development compared to their white-led counterparts. Black philanthropy, such as fundraising and grant offerings, is meant to mitigate poverty and other socio-economic shortcomings by building a bridge toward racial justice. However, these organizations constantly get pulled behind because of racial bias and bigotry that are present in the systems and processes to acquire funding.
Conscious and unconscious systemic racism has led to minimized and infrequent funding on the notion that Black people are a high-risk investment. This move to paint us as inferior and incompetent has led to black funding inequity and missed opportunities for community development. Dropping these prejudiced stereotypes about Black communities and trusting that Black businesses, organizations, and innovations deserve funding is the first step that guarantees our community an equal seat at the table.
The Giving Gap
The 2020 pandemic that forced the entire world into lockdown caused a decrease in finances for non-profits targeting Black communities. As donors shut the doors on their homes, they also shut their wallets and checkbooks against Black organizations. This gap is caused by more than discrimination against color. Society only expects a specific group of people to be involved in philanthropy. On the other hand, those super-rich people are waiting to be on their deathbeds before giving out their pledged wealth to charity. Unless this system is overturned, there will forever be a giving gap in these non-profit organizations.
Don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with giving up half of your wealth to charity upon your death, but why wait to make an impact? Your business or company does not have to be a Fortune 500 or bring millions of dollars in revenue every year for you to give back to the community. Supporting these organizations, especially those whose target audiences are the minorities and underprivileged, helps to make an impact today. It helps to bridge that gap today.
Limited Support and Contributions from the Community
Each year, the spending in non-profit organizations increases while the funding takes a hit. The federal government, known for supporting the non-profit sector, has been gradually cutting its funding. This makes it harder for these organizations to survive on traditional philanthropy alone. We need to rethink strategies and find new ways to incite prospective donors, sponsors, and volunteers alike to redirect their time and effort towards these organizations.
Encouraging future and current donors to commit to long-term philanthropy helps secure that organization’s future. Consistency is key to ensuring stability. The only way for these black-led organizations to impact their communities is to have fair access to secure funding. People choosing to volunteer their time and effort in these non-profits should do so without expecting compensation in exchange. This helps to minimize operational charges and redirect more money towards community development. African American people must support our organizations consistently!
Fixing the Broken Pot
All these challenges facing black funding can easily be overcome. It takes having the right attitude and a willingness to do the right thing in the face of oppression.
Invest in Black-Owned Non-profit Organizations
The COVID-19 pandemic is far from over, and small business owners of color can especially feel its effects. Some of them didn’t survive the pandemic, and the ongoing global economic crisis is making it harder for them to pick up where they left off or start a new business altogether.
Small businesses require a lot of funding to kickstart them and ensure a steady flow of capital. Increasing the amount of funding to organizations such as non-profits that focus on minorities helps ensure that people of color are served by people who ‘look’ like them and have their best interests at heart. When it comes to addressing racial equity, Vice President Kamala Harris is at the frontlines of the war. Her recent move to inject $ 8.7 Billion into the Emergency Capital Investment Program gives low-income communities access to much-needed capital.
Normalize Diversity and Inclusion in Black Funding Institutions
To ensure black funding equity, Funding institutions need to have people on their boards who are either minorities or come from low-income communities. Current and future employees at these institutions also need to be desensitized and educated against racial bias, bigotry, and other forms of racial injustice. Educating people helps to spread awareness about the problems at hand and ensures the scales are balanced for all the parties involved.
A diverse workplace that has also been desensitized will encourage more people of color to come out and seek help from these organizations or volunteer to help. This kind of environment makes them feel safe, accepted and heard. Normalizing inclusivity creates a certain level of trust that tells communities of color your organization cares about their business and helps them get back on their feet. When one black business succeeds, the entire community thrives.
Black Funding Equity Programs
There are several organizations in the United States created by racial justice and equity activists that help boost black funding equity. Achieving this dream is not a one-person task. The only way to ensure a future where we are all equal is to collectively work together towards that goal. Getting involved in these organizations by volunteering your time or money helps balance racial justice scales. Black communities have a lot of untapped potential restricted by unequal access to funding. Be the bridge that closes that gap.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
The NAACP was founded in 1909 to address the ongoing racial violence against Black people. It has remained an unwavering force of social justice, with over two million activists from all over the nation. The goal of the NAACP is to see a future where Black communities are not affected by political, educational, social, and economic discrimination.
Center for Black Equity (CBE)
The center for Black Equity is particular about its target audience. This organization aims to improve the lives of Black LBTQ+ individuals by promoting their social, economic, and health equity.
African American Planning Commission (AAPC)
The AAPC is a non-profit organization based in New York City. Their main goal is eradicating homelessness, unemployment, domestic violence, mental and substance abuse, etc.
The Executive Leadership Council (ELC)
The ELC was created to encourage Black people into global leaders both locally and internationally. They invest in Black businesses, organizations, and communities with the hope of strengthening them through leadership and development. The ELC’s mission is to create more successful Black leaders in their communities.
The Advancement Project
The Advancement Project is a civil rights movement that hopes to ‘fulfil America’s promise of a caring, inclusive, and just democracy.’ They are involved in different campaigns in the United States with the primary goal of achieving social change.
Investing in communities of color assures the economic development of that community and the country at large. It is time we put down the racial bias against Black people and took a chance on their innovative and entrepreneurial business ventures. This can be done by organizing funding for Black communities and protesting against racial injustice. We have a long way to go to achieve Black Funding Equity. Every day we get up to make a difference is one day less in a racially unbiased community.