Minnesota philanthropies launch funder collective for racial justice

Minnesota philanthropies launch funder collective for racial justice

In response to the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, more than twenty Minnesota-based philanthropic organizations have launched a collective in support of efforts to combat anti-Black racism and advance racial justice.

Calling for a transformation in the field of institutional philanthropy, the Philanthropic Collective to Combat Anti-Blackness & Realize Racial Justice hopes to raise $25 million for a Black-Led Movement Fund. Co-chaired by Lulete Mola, vice president of community impact at the Women's Foundation of Minnesota; Chanda Smith Baker, senior vice president of impact at the Minneapolis Foundation; and Repa Mekha, president and CEO of Nexus Community Partners, the collective will work to address "the systemic issues and culture of white supremacy" and "[center] Black voices, knowledge, and activism" in the pursuit of racial justice. Other members of the collective include the Blandin, Bush, Frey, GHR, McKnight, Mortenson Family, Northwest AreaNorthwest MinnesotaP FundPohlad FamilySheltering ArmsSaint Paul & MinnesotaTarget, and Tiwahe foundations, as well as Give MNHeading Home Minnesota Funders CollaborativeHeadwaters Foundation for Justice,  Minnesota Council on FoundationsOtto Bremer Trust, and Voqal.

"The criminal justice system is only one of many systems that have failed Black people," a joint statement issued by the group notes. "Beyond accountability for the officers involved or transforming the harmful practices of police alone, justice for George Floyd requires changing all the systems that create inequitable outcomes. After all, racism shows up in every aspect of our communities: in our homes, social networks, educational institutions, workplace, places of faith, and government."

The statement continues: "We commit to transforming into practitioners who hold philanthropy accountable to the community by learning what it means to embrace the duty and opportunity to realize equity. [And], as a collective, we are committing meaningful investments in the short and long-term to support Black movement, infrastructure, leadership, and responsive efforts, along with investments to serve the needs of Indigenous and people of color. We are committed to continuing this dialogue."

"Philanthropic Collective Partners to Combat Anti-Blackness & Realize Racial Justice." Philanthropic Collective to Combat Anti-Blackness & Realize Racial Justice press release 07/14/2020. "A statement from Minnesota Philanthropic Collective Committed to Combating Anti-Blackness and Realizing Racial Justice." Philanthropic Collective to Combat Anti-Blackness & Realize Racial Justice statement 07/14/2020.