The California Black Freedom Fund has announced initial commitments totaling $34.2 million in support of Black-led power-building organizations in the state.
Created in October 2020 and officially launched this week with the goal of raising $100 million over five years, the fund will work to address the history of underinvestment in Black-led organizations and provide the growing ecosystem of California-based Black-led organizing efforts with the sustained investments needed to eradicate systemic and institutional racism.
Initial funders of the effort include the California Endowment, Bishop Ranch, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Crankstart, Emerson Collective, Evelyn & Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, Farella Braun + Martel LLP, JPMorgan Chase, former Democracy Alliance board chair Rob McKay, the Tundra Glacier Fund, and the Akonadi, Annenberg, Blue Shield of California, California Wellness, Conrad N. Hilton, Friedman Family, Hellman, Liberty Hill, Libra, Rosenberg, San Francisco, Sierra Health, Silicon Valley Community, Stuart, and Weingart foundations. SVCF will administer the fund.
The fund also announced a first round of grants totaling more than $6 million to three established Black networks: the Black Census and Redistricting Hub, a network of more than thirty Black-led and -serving organizations working to maximize participation in the U.S. census and redistricting processes among hard-to-count Black communities; the Black Equity Collective, a community-public-private partnership aimed at strengthening the long-term capacity and infrastructure of Black-led and -empowering social justice organizations in Southern California; and PICO California: Live Free/Bring the HEAT, a campaign to protect the basic health, safety, and well-being of all people through immediate reforms to policing systems.
"To make racial justice and equity real in California, philanthropy needs to elevate its investments in Black organizations [that] are focused on advocacy, organizing, and holding our institutions accountable — something that we call power-building," said Akonadi Foundation president Lateefah Simon. "The vision of California Black Freedom Fund is to bring justice to our communities by making sure Black-led organizations are sufficiently supported and strong, and their leaders are galvanized."
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