A recent report entitled “Unfunded: Black Communities Overlooked by Canadian Philanthropy” is a wakeup call that Foundations and Charities are not doing enough to fund Black led organizations and groups that work primarily on Black communities.  Their recommendation is to create a “Foundation for Black Communities”.  This makes a lot of sense.  We don’t have an organization in Canada with the prominence of the US NAACP or United Negro College Fund.   If the funds are primarily going to come from government and/or large corporations this foundation should probably be a non-profit, not a registered charity, and it would have more flexibility to work with any group in Canada.

 

Here is the executive summary:

The COVID-19 pandemic and contemporary anti-Black racism movements have shone further
light on the systemic racism and hardships faced by Black people in Canada. The experience of
Black people in Canada points to the inadequacy of public policy in addressing the concerns
of Black communities. It also suggests that Canadian philanthropy has not sufficiently invested
in the well-being of Black communities and Black community organizations.
This research report provides the first systematic, empirical examination of the extent to which
Canadian philanthropy has responded to the unique and intersectional challenges facing Black
communities. In establishing the social context and lived experience of Black community members,
the report makes apparent that the needs of Black people in Canada are both specific and urgent.
Despite the clear case for investment, Canadian philanthropy has largely been absent in supporting
Black people in Canada. Evidence that illustrates how Canadian philanthropy has failed to meet
the needs of Black people in Canada is drawn from the analysis of two sets of original data:
1) Semi-structured qualitative interviews with ten Black and non-Black philanthropic leaders
from across the Canadian philanthropic sector; and 2) a review of the funding portfolios of
40 Canadian foundations.

Here is the summary of findings;

SUMMARY OF FINDINGS
Our research and analysis suggest that the Canadian philanthropic sector has failed to support the urgent and specific needs of Black communities in Canada. As the philanthropic
sector stands, it lacks the tools and knowledge to support Black communities effectively.

Our key findings are:
• Both public and private foundations underfund Black-serving and Black-led community organizations.
Only six of the 40 public and private foundations we reviewed funded Black-serving organizations over the
2017 and 2018 fiscal years, and only two foundations funded Black-led organizations in the same timeframe.
• Compared to private and other public foundations, community foundations have a better record of funding
Black-serving organizations, but both Black-serving and Black-led organizations remain under-funded.
All but one of the community foundations we reviewed funded Black-serving organizations over the 2017
and 2018 fiscal years, but only six funded Black-led organizations in the same timeframe.

• The total amount of grant funding going to Black-serving and Black-led organizations is miniscule. Moreover,
grant funding is sporadic, unsustained, and does not invest in the long-term capabilities of Black community
organizations.
• Philanthropic and nonprofit leaders see the need for and the potential of a Black-led philanthropic
foundation. Such a foundation would allow for the self-determination of Black communities, build the
capacity of Black community organizations, ensure collaboration with other foundations to share resources
and networks, and challenge the current philanthropic paradigm that wields ‘power over’ people with a
top-down flow of resources. They assert that inadequate data, a lack of representation of Black
communities in philanthropy, and systemic barriers, including anti-Black racism, have led to a severe underfunding of Black communities in
Canada. This has resulted in the philanthropic sector not understanding the needs of Black communities, nor the extent to which they are being supported by the sector.

 

The recommendation from the report is:

 

A dedicated Foundation for Black Communities is urgent and necessary to address the particular and complex needs of Black communities in Canada. The Foundation for Black Communities will embody a
transformational model of community philanthropy that centres the self-determination of Black people in Canada, leverages community assets, and utilizes an inclusive and trust-based decision process
to determine resource allocation, and community and capacity building priorities. The Foundation for Black Communities will be a first-of-its-kind institution to invest in priority areas that will lead towards
a more promising future for Black people in Canada. For the Foundation for Black Communities to be successful, it needs to be sufficiently resourced so that it can provide sustained financial support to
Black communities and Black community organizations.

There have been prior instances where Canadian philanthropy and the federal government have worked together to make sizable investments to address systemic issues facing equity seeking groups.
For example, earlier this year, government and philanthropy together invested $400 million towards the Equality Fund; in 1998, the federal government invested $515 million in the Aboriginal Healing Fund.
To realize the objectives of the Foundation for Black Communities, we believe the federal government and the philanthropic sector must collaborate to provide a commensurate level of support so that
Black communities can make long-term, sustained investments towards their own well-being. The Foundation for Black Communities would ensure that Black communities retain autonomy to prioritize
and allocate investments based on their needs.

 

I would encourage everyone to read the report Unfunded: Black Communities Overlooked by Canadian Philanthropy”