Making Black Lives Matter: Lesson #3 from #Empower Philanthropy 2016!

This is the third installment of a 6-part series on lessons from Empower Philanthropy! Annual Conference presented by ABFE-A Philanthropic Partnership for Black Communities

How do you build an infrastructure to make Black lives matter?

In May 2015, the Hill-Snowdon Foundation launched the Making Black Lives Matter Initiative. It is a three-year grantmaking and strategic co-funding initiative that seeks to maximize this historic movement moment to begin building long-term institutional and political power for Black social change and racial justice. A key component of the initiative is the Black Social Change Funders Network.

During the pre-conference activities on April 7th, Hill-Snowdon, in partnership with ABFE, facilitated the Black Social Change Funders Network Planning Meeting. Our facilitators guided and incited us to think about the ‘how to’s’ of developing an infrastructure that includes strategic collaboration of foundations and community based organizations, and a community of practice to build the institutional and political power of the Black community to make Black lives matter and thrive.

The planning meeting increased my understanding of national, collective work catapulting protests and community organizing into long-term institutional and political power.

Despite what we don’t see in mainstream media, there are influential individuals and funders thinking about how and implementing strategies to make Black lives matter.
Here are a few…

Black-led Organizing Map

A national map Black-led organizing groups developed by Making Black Lives Matter Initiative.

Campaign for Black Male Achievement

A national member network committed to improving the life outcomes of Black men and boys.


A project of the Open Society Foundations and the Foundation Center, highlights the role of philanthropy in supporting Black men and boys.

Let Us Breath Fund

An initiative of North Star Fund that supports activism for fair and just policing, and resilient and economically sustainable communities.

Grantmakers for Girls of Color

A resource for funders working to address structural inequities facing girls and young women of color

Funders for Justice

A project of the Neighborhood Funders Group to connect funders, donor networks, affinity groups with each other and with the movement for racial justice and police accountability across the country
Please share additional organizations working to make Black lives matter.

Natasha A. Harrison is founder and president and CEO of CommunityBuild Ventures, LLC. CommunityBuild Ventures provides training, consultation, and coaching services that result in strategic solutions. CB Ventures equips government agencies, businesses and nonprofits to effectively produce sustainable, large-scale social change in African American communities. Follow CommunityBuild Ventures @CBVentures1.

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