BIPOC Organizations and the Hamster Wheel of Philanthropy

BIPOC Organizations and the Hamster Wheel of Philanthropy

Back in 2020, the newly formed Foundation for Black Communities (FFBC) in Canada put out a public call to funders across the country to support the building of the organization’s endowment. The request emerged from the publication of Unfunded: Black Communities Overlooked by Canadian Philanthropy, a report that articulated how Canadian philanthropy has “failed to support the needs of Black communities” and recommended the establishment of a Black-led and Black-serving philanthropic foundation in the country.

Rather than asking just for ongoing grants to support FFBC’s work, the foundation asked specifically for Canadian funders to provide endowment support from their corpuses proportionate to the percentage of the Black population of Canada (3.5 percent), so the assets would be held by Black communities themselves and they would have the ability to prioritize and allocate investments based on their understanding of their own communities’ needs.

Three years later, only two funders in Canada—the Laidlaw Foundation and the Inspirit Foundation—have answered FFBC’s call to transfer endowment funds (although numerous funders have provided other types of support, including Dragonfly Ventures, which doesn't maintain an endowment but transferred the equivalent of an entire annual disbursement of grants to FFBC).

The foundation remains hopeful that more funders will come on board in the months and years ahead. And recently, FFBC was awarded stewardship of a Black-Led Philanthropic Endowment Fund by the nation’s federal government. Although the endowment’s assets are not fully under the foundation’s control, the award represents an important vote of confidence in the organization.

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Source: Stanford Social Innovation Review