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Op-Ed: A Decade After Katrina, Can Philanthropy Make Black Lives Matter?

Featured in the Chronicle of Philanthropy, the Bay Area Justice Funders Network’s blog ‘What is a Justice Funder?’, Funders for Justice, and the The Daily Wrag, Nat Chioke Williams, executive director of the Hill-Snowdon Foundation, shares his thoughts on what philanthropy can do to make black lives matter more:

“…the question for the country — and especially for all of us in philanthropy — is not, Do black lives matter?, but rather, How can we make black lives matter and provide the best opportunities for the black community to thrive? And can philanthropy help ensure we don’t squander the advances that the broader movement has made in the past year?

The answer to this question is complex, but it ultimately boils down to power.

To make black lives matter more, philanthropy needs to do all it can to ensure that the black community builds the social, institutional, and political power it needs to directly challenge and dismantle the policies and systems that enable structural racism.”

In response to this unique moment and opportunity, the Hill-Snowdon Foundation has developed the Making Black Lives Matter Initiative (MBLM), a three year grantmaking and strategic co-funding initiative that seeks to maximize this historic moment to begin building long term institutional and political power for Black social change and racial justice.  HSF will commit $900,000 in new funds over the next three years to support Black-led organizing, Black leadership development and strategic convenings for Black racial and social justice leaders.  In partnership with the Association of Black Funding Executives (ABFE), HSF will also host and convene a table of funders to coordinate and align our grantmaking and strategies in order to maximize our efforts to strengthen the institutional and political power of the Black community to make Black lives matter and for the Black community to thrive.