By Tracey Webb, Founder, The Black Benefactors
In January, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation published the report, “Cultures of Giving: Energizing and Expanding Philanthropy by and for Communities of Color,” which confirmed something that I already knew: African Americans are more inclined to give than other races. I know this because philanthropy and charitable giving have been mainstays of the African American community for centuries.
In my previous GoodWorks post, I shared how my giving circle, The Black Benefactors, used the Catalogue to identify a grantee for our Black History Month grant awards. In doing so, I learned that we were in the minority. Although many of the nonprofits featured in the Catalogue serve low-income and under-represented communities — often which include African Americans — the majority of donors who use the Catalogue to identify nonprofits to support in the DC region are white. With the help of The Black Benefactors, I hope this will change.
Now that we know African Americans are more likely to give, there are two issues that are essential: ensuring that our giving is strategic to achieve maximum impact, and making sure that we’re represented as volunteers and board members with nonprofits that serve communities of color. It’s important that the clientele served by nonprofits see staff, volunteers, and board members who look like them. The Catalogue is an ideal vehicle to address these issues.
Here are some ways, working together, that we’ll help to increase the number of African Americans who use the Catalogue to identify and support nonprofits in the DC region:
- All members of The Black Benefactors will receive a copy of the Catalogue annually; we’ll use the Catalogue to identify organizations for site visits and newsletter and website features.
- Our members will have the opportunity to serve on the Catalogue’s review committee, and will share lessons learned for our own grant making process.
- We will promote the Catalogue among potential members at Black Benefactors events and special gatherings in partnership with the Black Philanthropic Alliance.
- We’ll invite Catalogue staff to speak to members at our meetings to support our goal of increasing member education on giving strategically.
- We will use the Catalogue to identify nonprofits for volunteer projects and board involvement.
To date, I’m pleased to share that three of our six grantees have been featured in the Catalogue: Adventure Theatre/Musical Theater Center, African Continuum Theater, and DC Students Construction Trades Foundation. And, a program which which I volunteer, Mentoring to Manhood (a youth mentoring program for black males in Prince George’s County) has made the 2012-13 edition.
The Washington, DC region is home to a large nonprofit sector, and there are plenty of organizations to choose from to direct your giving. How great is it that there is a resource that does the work for you! I’d love to hear your ideas about how we can work together to accomplish this goal. Please send me an email at twebb[at]blackbenefactors[dot]org or leave a comment!