The Case for Investing in King County's Black-Led Organizations

The Case for Investing in King County's Black-Led Organizations

Nonprofits led by African Americans address a wide range of issues that impact the Black community but face significant funding challenges, a report from the Seattle Foundation, in collaboration with Byrd Barr Place and Cardea Services, finds. Based on a survey of forty-one Black-led organizations (BLOs) and interviews with eighteen Black nonprofit leaders, the report, The Case for Investing in King County's Black-Led Organizations (45 pages, PDF), found that local BLOs are engaged in a range of activities, including community building (73 percent), leadership development (60 percent), youth development (53 percent), economic development (50 percent), education (45 percent), socio-emotional development (45 percent), ending the school-to-prison pipeline (45 percent), health services (40 percent), housing (35 percent), political power building/civic engagement (35 percent), arts and culture (33 percent), and community reentry (30 percent). The report also found that while respondents identified a strong mission, vision, and values (93 percent); a skilled leadership team (81 percent), skilled staff (65 percent), and strong board or advisory body (59 percent) as their organizations' strengths, 73 percent of BLOs had five or fewer full-time staff and 91 percent relied on at least some volunteer support; 44 percent had annual budgets under $250,000 and 28 percent had budgets between $250,000 and $749,999; and 62 percent reported having three months or less of operating cash reserves. The report's recommendations for funders include involving and trusting BLOs' expertise, dedicating funding specifically for BLOs, streamlining the application process, making their decision-making processes transparent, and investing more in capacity building.