The Stanford Social Innovation Review recently published an excellent overview of racial bias in philanthropy, including an all-too-typical anecdote: the CEO of a Native American-led nonprofit organization, up for a grant renewal from a foundation that has been their funder for 25 years, goes through 18 months of defending its organization’s approach and demonstrated success to their program officer before securing renewed funding. That is contrasted by the experience of a white peer who happens to run into the same program officer in a bar after a conference, and, after sketching out a three-year project plan on the back of a napkin, gets funding in three months.
This is only one example of how inequities in funding play themselves out to the detriment of Black, Latino/a/x, and Indigenous organizations. Certainly, 2020 seems to have shed a light on these discrepancies and brought increased interest by donors to fund more broadly. This effort needs to be sustained and embedded into the culture of giving.
The culture shift we seek to foster at Giving Gap
Giving Gap is the world’s first and only searchable directory of Black-founded nonprofit organizations. Since launching in September of 2020, we have grown to list over 500 verified Black-founded, tax-exempt organizations based in the United States. Sortable by category and geography, the organizations hail from 41 different states and illustrate the diversity of interests and needs in the Black community.
We have heard repeatedly that one challenge in giving to Black-led organizations is knowing how to find them. Giving Gap is the tool that solves it. Now givers have even less of an excuse for not putting dollars into racial equity. There are Black-led nonprofits that align with any donor’s passions or interests.
This past spring and summer Americans responded to George Floyd’s grotesque and unjust murder with grief, outrage and an outpouring of dollars. We hope to help givers sustain that generosity beyond their one-time gifts. Black Americans needed support in the summer of 2020 and they need it even more in the winter of 2021.
Every one of us must commit to real action every year if we indeed want a more equal society. We can’t simply hope it will happen. Including nonprofits founded and run by Black people in your philanthropic giving is a meaningful way to advance racial equity. As donors, you have the chance to build relationships with these long underfunded organizations and inspire true partnerships that can have a real impact in the areas you care most about.
Find and support Black-founded charities
Nonprofits presented by Giving Gap and Charity Navigator represent a wide variety of categories and cause areas, and provide services nationwide. We encourage you to become a partner for change. Watch for promotions about these organizations on social media this month, reshare those promotions with family, friends, and neighbors, select a charity or charities to support, become a monthly donor, and give Black.
About our authors: Christina Lewis is a social entrepreneur, writer, speaker and investor. You can find her on Instagram @thechristina99 Stephanie Ellis-Smith is a philanthropist who has over 20 years of experience in the non-profit and philanthropic sectors and is a Certified Advisor in multi-generational family philanthropy. They are co-founders of Giving Gap.