PHILANTHROPY. NOT.

Traditional philanthropy is not an appropriate model for redress.

Think about it - the millions of dollars amassed by America's wealthiest families have accrued through intergenerational wealth transfer - a tradition, begun during the slavery era, African Americans have been barred from achieving thanks to de jure segregation, red-lining practices and the resulting inability to acquire real estate.  An average African American family's net worth is currently just 1/10th that of an average white family's net worth.

Giving USA estimates that charitable donations totaled $427.1BB in 2018. If each citizen shifted even 1% of their annual charitable donations, redefining them instead as reparations, $4.2BB could be raised for reparations in one year. If a national reparations fund were created, the trillions of dollars that are owed to African Americans could be repatriated in just a few generations. Social change may not ultimately be this simple, yet It IS possible to make a difference.

If your family has a strong tradition of philanthropy, consider reframing it as repair, widening your criteria to support institutions and programs that benefit African-Americans.

Michael Eric Dyson: "Every white American should open an IRA - an individual reparations account"

"NOTHING ABOUT US WITHOUT US"

Ideally, financial reparations should be given after consultation with African American leaders in your community. However, with multi-year commitments in place, consider shifting your reparations strategy in phases:

 

Phase I

  • Continue to donate to the same institutions
  • Research ways to direct dollars to programs that benefit people of color
  • Restrict donations to these programs:
    • Scholarships restricted to African American students
    • African American art programming at museums
    • Grants for African American civic leadership training

Example: Sphynx Organization grants supporting diversity in symphonies

Phase II

  • Speak with local African American leaders to find out what needs there are in your local community and which organizations are leading the effort.
  • Gradually shift your donations to include support to these African-American led organizations
  • Consider adding a direct support element as well:
  •    E.g. helping young African American civic leaders pay off their student debt will help increase the time they are able to commit to providing vital services for the community.

Phase III

  • Consider moving away from creating endowments, or increase the distribution percentage of your current endowments to 20% or more to increase annual impact. Social change is effected more rapidly when funds are held by organizations that benefit African Americans rather than by the wealthy.
  • Begin to direct donations to African American led organizations' annual funds to increase program impact

To better understand alternative perspectives on wealth and philanthropy, visit this site: Seed Commons and read this book: Decolonizing Wealth by Edgar Villanueva

Phase I

  • Continue to donate to the same institutions
  • Research ways to direct dollars to programs that benefit people of color
  • Restrict donations to these programs:
    • Scholarships restricted to African American students
    • African American art programming at museums
    • Grants for African American civic leadership training

Example: Sphynx Organization grants supporting diversity in symphonies

Phase II

  • Speak with local African American leaders to find out what needs there are in your local community and what charities are leading the effort.
  • Gradually shift your donations to include support to these African-American led charities
  • Consider adding a direct support element as well:
  •    E.g. helping young African American civic leaders pay off their student debt will help increase the time they are able to commit to providing vital services for the community.

Phase III

  • Move away from funding endowments, or increase the distribution percentage of your endowments to 20% or more to increase annual impact.
  • Begin to direct donations to annual funds to increase charitable impact

To better understand alternative perspectives on wealth and philanthropy, read this book: Decolonizing Wealth by Edgar Villanueva

Giving Circles

Consider joining a local foundation with an affinity group or giving circle, which allows donors to pool resources and fund local projects:

Examples:

Liberated Capital - Decolonizing Wealth Fund

Chinook Fund

Denver Foundation

Women's Foundation

 

African American Organizations to Explore

IDEA - SUPPORT AN AFRICAN AMERICAN YOUTH ATTENDING COLLEGE

Support an African American youth attending college: Gather 5 – 10 friends to create a scholarship pool for a local university. Make a joint annual donation to create a named scholarship restricted to African American youth. Provide funds for supplies and an opportunity for mentorship as well.

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Idea - Invest in or make a grant to support African American businesses in the South.

The Southern Reparations Loan Fund (SRLF) is a network of non-extractive loan funds that make loans to community-based businesses anchored in the most marginalized Southern communities.
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IDEA - INVEST IN CAPACITY BUILDING AND LEADERSHIP TRAINING FOR AFRICAN AMERICANS WORKING THE NON-PROFIT SECTOR

Rainier Valley Corps (RVC) strengthens the power of communities of color in order to create a more equitable society. We do this through our core programs and services as well as through leading partnerships with community members and organizations of color. These members and organizations provide support services tailored to the strengths and needs of the communities they serve.

 

IDEA - SUPPORT AN AFRICAN AMERICAN YOUTH ATTENDING COLLEGE

Support an African American youth attending college: Gather 5 – 10 friends to create a scholarship pool for a local university. Make a joint annual donation to create a named scholarship restricted to African American youth. Provide funds for supplies and an opportunity for mentorship as well.

 

 

Idea - Invest in or make a grant to support African American businesses in the South.

The Southern Reparations Loan Fund (SRLF) is a network of non-extractive loan funds that make loans to community-based businesses anchored in the most marginalized Southern communities

IDEA - INVEST IN CAPACITY BUILDING AND LEADERSHIP TRAINING FOR AFRICAN AMERICANS WORKING THE NON-PROFIT SECTOR

Rainier Valley Corps (RVC) strengthens the power of communities of color in order to create a more equitable society. We do this through our core programs and services as well as through leading partnerships with community members and organizations of color. These members and organizations provide support services tailored to the strengths and needs of the communities they serve.