Over the past 10+ years, both my professional and volunteer work has focused on racial equity at the intersection of art and culture.
During the height of the global pandemic, I brought attention to the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta’s (CFGA) exclusion of Black arts organizations in COVID relief funding. My advocacy further revealed the Foundation’s nearly 30-year history of philanthropic redlining through grant-making processes that maliciously disqualify Black applicants, in a city renowned for Black art and culture, from receiving resources.
Since taking on the Community Foundation I have been questioning the impact of this disinvestment in Black leadership. I have seen the damage to self worth of Black leaders who internalize underfunding as a failing of their leadership. But what about our progress as a country? We know from academia that housing and banking practices in this country, now deemed discriminatory, contributed to the racial wealth gap we see today.
It was this question that prompted me to accept a position with Giving Gap as Senior Director of Strategic Partnership.
Giving Gap (formerly Give Blck) was formed in September 2020 by Christina Lewis, founder of All Star Code, Stephanie Ellis-Smith, CEO of Phīla Engaged Giving, and David Setiadi, CTO of @Point of Care, in response to protests around the globe calling for organizations to reform systems perpetuating racial and economic inequities with the premise that philanthropic support of Black founded/led nonprofits is a critical piece to tackling systemic racism. Black organizations are most likely to be grounded in the needs of Black communities, have missions connected to positive action for Black lives, employ Black people and empower Black leaders but yet are systemically underfunded. Only a tiny fraction of the $450 billion Americans give to charities each year support Black organizations.
Seeking to catalyze a moment into a movement, Giving Gap exists to advance racial equity in giving and mobilize positive action for Black lives as the only existing repository on the status and impact of Black-founded/led organizations connecting donors and funders to make more prudent investments in Black communities now and into the future.
During my time at Giving Gap it is my hope to help mitigate the harm of philanthropic redlining by building a strong case for supporting Black organizations. Stay tuned.