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Foundation Launches New Fund To Tackle Systemic Inequities In Central Texas

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Austin Community Foundation has announced the launch of The Black Fund, a new giving network that aims to unleash the power of Black-led organizations and uplift solutions to benefit the Black community in Central Texas.

The Foundation brings together philanthropists, dollars and ideas to build a better Austin today and tomorrow. It is focused on closing the opportunity gap through research, pooled resources and data-driven grant making.

Driven by data and community voice, The Black Fund strives for an equitable, just society that nurtures the growth, economic security, and wellness of Black people.

Spearheaded by Black leaders in Austin, The Fund was established in response to systemic inequities impacting Black people in Austin. For decades, Black-led organizations have worked to advance justice, through organizing and advocacy in Austin, yet, they still remain underfunded.

According to a study by the Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity, in 2018 only 6 percent of philanthropic dollars supported racial equity work and only 1 percent supported racial justice work. The Black Fund is best positioned to sustain the critical work that has historically been undercapitalized.

The Fund is committed to investing more than $1 million in the Black community over the next three years. The Foundation has dedicated $200,000 of its discretionary funds to build the framework of the program. To date, Google, Indeed, Notley, and MFI Foundation, among others, have provided generous grants to help launch the fund.

By investing in Black-led organizations, The Black Fund will work to create an equitable system in which Black people can thrive, disparate outcomes will decrease, and Black-led organizations will be fully empowered to contribute to a more sustainable community that benefits everyone.

Co-founder of The Black Fund and former president of Huston-Tillotson University, Colette Pierce Burnette said the creation of the Fund is an opportunity for Austin to intentionally invest in equity, embrace the unique assets of the Black community, and support longstanding impactful initiatives of Black-led and Black serving organizations.

Similarly, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Austin Community Foundation, Mike Nellis noted that they recognize that economic security for Black residents is essential to the region’s collective success.

“By co-creating The Black Fund at Austin Community Foundation, we are taking a deliberate approach toward racial equity in the region so every Central Texan can thrive and prosper. We are thankful to the community leaders who have helped lead and guide this work, and now we’re asking for support from our entire community to ensure its success”, he added.

Notably, the Fund will distribute funding through grants to Black-led and Black-serving nonprofits. The first grant applications will open in September and funding will be awarded in February 2023 to organizations working in four impact areas defined by leaders of The Black Fund, which includes, education, health and wellness, power building, organizing and advocacy as well as wealth Building.

Founders of the fund include Colette Pierce Burnette, Ed.D., Kendra Garrett, and, Jameila “Meme” Styles. Terry P. Mitchell and Pam Benson Owens are fundraising co-chairs.

Since its founding in 1977, Austin Community Foundation has granted more than $450 million to the community, mostly through donor advised funds.


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