black communitites

Black Gives Back. 

According to a study by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, black people give 25% more of their income than their white counterparts. We are, hands down, the largest group of givers in our country… and yet, we don’t see recognition in the media. Rather than realizing how generous black communities are, many uninformed individuals perceive blacks as greedy, lazy, “welfare-queens” who rely on affirmative action and the ‘race card’ to move up in the world. 

The mass perception is skewed.

As fundraisers, it is crucial to take into consideration the true spirit of black philanthropy as it will not only benefit your initiatives but also improve impoverished black communities. 

A Brief History of False Stereotyping 

Let’s look at the construct of the American Dream. 

The ideology is built on the belief that our country is filled with self-made individuals who found success through hard work, dedication, and the belief in freedom. 

The reality is that this country was built on the backs of African slaves. 

Today, if you visit any city that prides itself on ‘southern charm’ you will find memorials for confederate leaders and slave owners. Not tributes to the slaves that built and funded the town or influential black leaders of the time.

20th Century

This very same narrative would continue for hundreds of years after slavery, as black culture was repeatedly ripped off on music, trends, dance styles, clothing, and more. This is what we call Cultural Appropriation. 

Continually, we see white culture receiving the generally ‘good’ stereotypes, while black culture is stuck with negative ones. 

Present

Today, the ⅔’s of black households in our country that donate to charity every year are virtually invisible to the public eye.

Their common stereotypes are dangerous, lazy, violent, selfish, and greedy. However, we have a unique opportunity to shed light on the generous nature of black communities and utilize that spirit for the greater benefit of all. 

Banding Together Through Oppression 

First, let’s understand the underlying cause of these high black-philanthropy rates.

The beauty of oppression is that it creates a community like nothing else in the world. While the country was built on Capitalism, the black population did not rise it’s way up from slavery by pitting against one another. 

Current high rates of giving are related to long-standing community traditions. Even when families don’t have much, they understand the necessity of giving what they can. 

Historically, we’ve cared for each other’s children, paid our neighbor’s water bills, and shared roofs with extended family. Today, the spirit remains the same. We pay our cousin’s tuition and dump our only spare change into the church donation basket. 

How Targeting Black Philanthropists Help Black Communities

By shifting your nonprofit to include black communities in its initiatives, you will undoubtedly see a rise in donation rate, as well as individual involvement. 

While you might get one big check from a single white donor who is looking for a tax break, you’ll instead get that funding from various avenues within a black community, giving 25% more of their income. 

You’ll spend far less on internal salary workers because more givers also means more individuals to do service hours. Consider how much money your nonprofit would then reserve and have to spend on supplies or resources by saving one or two yearly salaries. 

Additionally, by overtly positioning your nonprofit as a black-centered organization, you attract a much larger percentage of donors. Not only do the large portion of black individuals begin donating to your cause, but white allies also jump on board. Since the death of George Floyd, Bail fund philanthropies have raised $90 Million in 2020! There is a very unique opportunity at this point in history to position your nonprofit at the feet of the BLM movement and grow your initiatives while also benefiting countless black causes. 

There are a few less-obvious ways your efforts, in turn, give back to black communities. 

The first is the obvious nonprofit initiative. Whether you’re providing housing for low-income families, education for orphaned children, or child-care for kids with incarcerated parents, these efforts will help immensely. 

This is the ‘why’ your nonprofit and donors unite in. There is no doubt that shifting a nonprofit’s scope to include impoverished black communities will result in great change. There is so much potential that lies dormant in black youth because they don’t have their basic needs met. 

The second benefit is that your nonprofit will be growing a community of black philanthropists around you. You have a chance to highlight and share that incredible sense of unity that you can only see here. 

These efforts not only change the morale within the community but also the wider perception of black people. You play an active role in abolishing the negative stereotypes such as ‘lazy, greedy, well-fare queens.’ 

Instead, you get to showcase the intimate nature of selflessness exhibited in these low-income communities. So much of the unconscious biases exist from deep-seated misperceptions of different races. 

Stereotypes and credit are ever important to the perception of black people in our country… and those perceptions are the cause of much police brutality, fear, racism, and divide. 

Providing a platform that highlights black individuals as true givers translate into rightful credit. 

Credit translates into the opportunities you have at your fingertips to pull strings in the world of business, and society. Credit for things we achieve now means more future success, joy, opportunities, and financial gains.

If we can begin to view black people for the truth, which is generous, philanthropic, and community-minded we can begin to slowly change mass-prejudice. 

The third benefit is that nonprofits currently geared toward white communities have the opportunity to create an environment of empathy between races

The truth is that most of America is segregated. The majority of white individuals don’t have many black friends, and even if they do they aren’t likely exposed to the oppression and poverty that presides over these areas. 

One of the best ways to cultivate empathy in our country is by creating an environment where people can relate and interact. Through charitable work, this is truly possible. 

Set your nonprofit up for diverse, intermissive experiences and watch how your initiatives expand into a whole new realm of inclusivity and equality! 

Other things you can do: 

  • Put yourself in ethnically diverse environments 
  • Attempt to buy from diversified cooperations and small businesses owned by people of color. 
  • Vote! 
  • Hold your local news accountable and be sure to report/call in positive news associated with black communities. Everyone can always use a little more good news after their workdays! 
  • Donate and volunteer at a black nonprofit organization.

If you are looking for somewhere to start, click here to learn about how we are making waves in Colorado! 

Sajari Simmons
As the founder of Roaring Fork Show Up and The Melanin Passport Initiative, Sájari has cultivated a deep understanding of what it means to be a black female philanthropist and the struggles they face to be legitimized as such. Her goal is to make social justice, racial justice and economic equality personal and scalable so that she can see others shift poverty consciousness and generate positive mindset shifts in order to access possibilities and opportunities that seem out of reach for them.
Sajari Simmons