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Saturday, June 19, 2021

Black Future Co-op Fund Grants $1 Million To Local, Black-led Organizations

The Black Future Co-op Fund, Washington’s first all Black-led philanthropy, recently announced $1 million in grants to 40 Black-led organizations across the state that are leading powerful work to ignite Black generational wealth, health, and well-being. 

“Black-led organizations are an integral part of the fabric of Washington state,” says Fund architect and Byrd Barr Place CEO Andrea Caupain Sanderson. “With these grants, the Black Future Co-op Fund is saying ‘we see you,’ and acknowledging the critical work these organizations do every day on behalf of Black Washingtonians.”

The Fund’s vision is a Washington state, working cooperatively, where all Black people are liberated, prosperous, and self-determined to fully live our lives.

Grant recipients are Black-led organizations throughout Washington state that are furthering Black liberation. They are providing culturally supportive education and youth mentoring, powering economic mobility through workforce development and training, advancing civil rights, and supporting healing from racial trauma through creative arts and culture programs. 

“We believe Black Washingtonians should have the resources, equitable opportunity, and freedom to live their fullest potential,” says Fund architect and Washington STEM CEO Angela Jones. “These grants invest in Black-led organizations that are creating that path to Black generational prosperity.”

According to organizers of the Black Future Co-op Fund, each grantee will receive $25,000 in unrestricted funds as an acknowledgment of their work. This initial round of grants were made barrier free, without a stringent application or qualification process, breaking down obstacles to accessing needed resources.  

The Black Future Co-op Fund represents a new model for philanthropy — establishing trust and sharing power with Black Washingtonians, following the lead of Black communities, and intentionally investing in Black well-being. 

For generations, Black-led organizations have been systematically under-resourced. A report by Echoing Green and The Bridgespan Group found that Black-led organizations had 45 percent less revenue and 91 percent less unrestricted net assets than white-led organizations.

“Since its inception in the early 20th century, philanthropy has been based on a lopsided power dynamic,” says Fund architect and Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle CEO Michelle Merriweather. “Donors without connections to the communities they say they want to serve, decide where, when, and how they want to give away funds. We aim to change that with a model that is genuinely informed by the community.”

Inspired by the uprising for racial justice in 2020, the four architects launched the Fund with a long-term commitment to heal from multigenerational trauma and replenish resources with Black Washingtonians. 

“The Black Future Co-op Fund is answering a call that has gone unanswered for too long,” says Fund architect and State Senator T’wina Nobles. “With a collaborative, cooperative, and community mindset, we can create prosperity for all.”

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