We Must be in it for the Long Haul: A Peer Conversation about Stemming Anti-Black Racism
In June, ABFE released We Must be in it for the Long Haul, a call to action to philanthropy to stem anti-Black racism developed in partnership with Black foundations executives across the country. This joint statement, signed by over 60 Black Foundation CEOs, puts forward a set of imperatives for the philanthropic sector to “dismantle the structures (institutional policies and practices) that disadvantage and marginalize Black people as well as the false narratives about Black communities that allow for continued inhumane treatment.” Philanthropy has a critical role to play and must step forward in the work to address racial inequity and eradicate anti-Black racism.
Shanaysha Sauls, President & CEO of the Baltimore Community Foundation, and one of the signatories of the statement, will ground participants in the impetus for the statement and share insight around the significance for MPN’s members. From there, MPN members will have a chance to learn and share with peers in smaller breakout groups. Facilitated by members of MPN’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, these breakout conversations will delve more deeply into how folks are practicing, working toward, and struggling with the imperatives:
- Build Agency. Increase investments in Black-led organizations that connect individuals and families to a wide array of resources and build power in our communities to lead substantive change.
- Push Structural Change. Given deep-seated inequities, COVID-19 and police reform efforts must take a “long view” and consider policy and system reform needed to improve conditions in Black communities beyond federal and philanthropic emergency and response efforts.
- Encourage Shared Responsibility. Philanthropic funds, particularly those under the leadership of Black foundation executives are part of the solution. However, the targeted investment of all philanthropies as well as public dollars are needed to transform conditions in Black communities in both relief and long-term efforts.
- Use Endowments. The health-driven economic recession has negatively impacted foundation endowments. Therefore, there is increased need to prioritize spending on the most impacted communities. In addition, now is the time to utilize the full set of resources of philanthropy by increasing asset payout and employing various investment strategies to provide much needed capital to Black communities.
- Center Black Experience. Black leaders and communities must be engaged in the development of short and long-term philanthropic and public policy solutions to ensure that well-intentioned “helping” and reform efforts do not exacerbate existing disparities.
- Trustee Accountability. Foundation trustees are accountable for the strategic direction, fiscal health and policies implemented by the institution for which they govern. During this time of crisis, foundation boards should take stock of the level of grantmaking to Black communities, increase targeted giving and engage in racial equity assessments of their investments moving forward.
- Engage Black Businesses. Foundations and the public sector should actively engage Black businesses in investment management, banking and other professional services to address the pandemic’s negative impact on Black earnings and wealth.
- Lift Up Gender. The health and economic well-being of Black people are under threat due to COVID-19; however, the impact also differs by gender, gender identity and sexual orientation. Black women are suffering worse relative to job loss. Emerging data illustrates that Black men are at higher risk of death and racial profilin relative to COVID-19. Black LGBTQ communities are particularly vulnerable due to higher rates of suppressed immune systems and widespread housing and employment discrimination.
- Reach to the Diaspora. Black communities in the U.S. territories have been left out of many relief efforts and African immigrants are being targeted in both the U.S. and other parts of the world. During crises, we must remain vigilant of how anti-Black racism impacts people of African descent around the world and look for opportunities to unite our philanthropic efforts to save and support Black lives.
- Address Disparities In Prisons. U.S. prisons are disproportionately filled with Black and Brown people and are breeding grounds for the spread of coronavirus other infections diseases, and, generally, hopelessness. Current efforts must support the safety of those currently imprisoned, early release of incarcerated individuals and advance sustained investments in alternatives that reduce reliance on incarceration over the long-term to support Black communities.
Plan to join this conversation to discuss concrete ways philanthropy can address anti-black racism.
This program is for Maryland Philanthropy Network members only.