The senseless killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and others underscore the persistence of systemic racism in America and the urgency to acknowledge and address it. While the root issues are not new, organizations and individuals who have spent decades on the front lines are now seeing increased traction and need for support to maintain momentum.
We must sustain their efforts so they can leverage this moment to truly move the needle in Greater Miami. We must also ensure a sustained, intentional focus on racial inequity, and do the hard, internal work for the Foundation to embed a lens of racial equity into how we operate, invest and engage with the community. Read more in this letter from our president and CEO.
Money in itself will not solve the problem, but we believe it can give extra power to those uniquely positioned to increase their impact on systemic racism and catalyze real change. As a first step in a broader strategy, we launched The Racial Equity Fund.
After seeding The Racial Equity Fund with $100,000, generous new donors have come to the table. Thus far, we have invested nearly $80,000. Our first awards focused on supporting organizations on the front lines and with traditionally less access to funding, working in neighborhoods long-experiencing systemic oppression to transform systems and community conditions that sustain inequity.
For our second round of investments, we broke with our traditional way of funding. Individual leaders are also uniquely poised to advance change. But traditional grant processes often don’t allow for funding them or can create barriers to accessing support. The Foundation sought out nominees for individual awards through a committee of established nonprofits led by people of color rooted in communities of color. Awardees are doing tremendously important racial equity work, not necessarily through a nonprofit, and potentially off the radar of mainstream philanthropy.
The individual awardees, who range in age from 17 to 81, are organizing communities, building leaders, empowering, galvanizing and inspiring others in varied sectors and spaces. The awards, like the Fund, reflect a beginning – not an end – for cultivating vital inroads, insights and relationships needed to achieve the change we seek within the community and the Foundation. We have also made awards to two more nonprofit organizations beyond those announced in June.
Our next round of investments will focus on systems ripe for change. We are mapping the landscape of racial justice organizations to make this powerful work more visible. And we will be investing in collectives of Black-led racial justice groups actively working on critical systems change issues to help them build community power and achieve change together.
We will continue to provide updates here about our process, investments, and what we are learning.
Read our president and CEO’s full statement.