I’m curious, how much of your giving goes to BBIPOC-led work?
(That’s organizations led by Black, brown, indigenous, people of color)
Overall in the U.S., less than 10% of philanthropic giving goes to organizations led by and for people of color.
My challenge to you:
>>Direct at least 50% of your total giving to BBIPOC-led movements.<<
I started work as an organizer and fundraiser in 2007. That was also probably the year I started to donate to grassroots organizations as well. Like many nice white ladies™ in non-profit work, I started by funding what I knew. Organizations I worked for. Organizations I benefited from. Organizations where my friends worked. 🤦♀️
Nearly a decade later I really started to dig into my own whiteness and privilege, and took a long hard look at where I was giving. One of the things I found: Almost all of my giving was to white-led organizations.
I set a goal to change that, and get to 50% of my giving to be BBIPOC-led groups. It took me a year or so to get there, and I’m happy to say that in 2020, it was over 75% of our total giving. (The total amount has also grown drastically, thanks to some internal and external forces!)
So what do I mean by BBIPOC-led organizations?
This is intentionally broad. You can decide for yourself what “counts” in this category. Every organization is different, and you’ve gotta just go with your instincts.
Here are some things to consider:
- Who is in leadership of the organization? ED, directors, major decisionmaking roles. Do they have one or two (possibly tokenized) people, or is it a real variety of perspectives?
- Who is on their Board of Directors?
- How are they interacting with those they serve? If they are serving a specific community: undocumented, poor neighborhood, etc., are they bringing those voices into the conversation? Or are there only well-meaning privileged folks deciding on their behalf?
What Do I NOT mean:
- Demanding organizations hire one person of color, and assuming that will be enough.
- Requiring additional reporting from grantees about their staffing, when you could probably get that information from a quick search on their website.
But, what if they fail?/What if I choose the wrong thing??
What is failure, really? If a campaign doesn’t have the intended result — did the folks involved learn or grow their skills, so they can do bigger and better things in the future? If an organization fully falls apart, it can still have trained and built some leadership out of the ashes. Or maybe the mistake is all on you, the funder.
We all screw up sometimes.
I’ve screwed up and been fired from a job — and in the moment, it was THE WORST THING EVER. But, I look back on it, and can say that I was certainly not right for that job. (Seriously, I should never work in food service.) 😂
I survived, learned a lesson, and moved on to bigger and better things.
As folks with privilege — whiteness, wealth, ablebodied, etc — we can take risks. We usually have some slack to fall back on, and learn from our mistakes. And let’s make sure other people can make mistakes too!
So I ask again:
How much of your giving goes to BBIPOC-led work?
I challenge you to increase that number.
What would it mean to direct 50% of your total giving to BBIPOC folks? 75% or more?
As privileged folks, we need to take risks, give up some of our power and control, and let others lead. That can be scary, I get it. This is the work.
It might take a few years if you have a lot of multi-year pledges and commitments. So what is possible now, and what can you work towards in the longterm?