The institution calls on Black Philanthropists to help narrow the Giving Gap
NEW ORLEANS, Aug. 1, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Women’s Foundation of the South exists to improve futures for women and girls of color in the South by supporting both women-of-color-led nonprofits who do the same and women of color entrepreneurs. The organization’s prevailing reason for its efforts is to build the health, wealth, and power of women and girls of color in the South. It is no surprise, then, that WFS cares passionately about urging other Black Philanthropists to do the same – to support Black-led nonprofits all around the country, and especially in the South, where circumstances are particularly onerous for Black women and girls.
When it comes to revenues and unrestricted assets, there are huge disparities between White-led and Black-led charitable organizations. This disparity is referred to as "the giving gap" and is a product of the significant wealth and societal oppression of Black people throughout history. To illustrate, Black-led fledgling non-profits’ average revenue is 24% lower, and unrestricted net assets 76% smaller, than that of White-led fledgling nonprofits.
The theme for this year’s Black Philanthropy Month is inspired by a quote from Martin Luther King Jr.: to develop new strategies that will advance funding equity and take actionable steps to make a difference in the "fierce urgency of now."
At the Women’s Foundation of the South, we could not agree more. The threat to personal safety, individual rights, and health of women and girls of color has never been this perilous in our lifetime. Yet, philanthropy in the American South is rooted in structural racism, investing deeply in White-led nonprofits while severely limiting significant investments in organizations led by Black, Indigenous and People of Color. These practices keep community-led solutions at bay, with only 0.25% of funding actually reaching women and girls of color. The investment is even lower when nonprofits are led by Black women. WFS will disrupt legacy philanthropy by centering racial and gender equity from the start, serving BIPOC women and girls.
August marks a very special time in the organization’s history: WFS was launched in August of 2021. The very creation of WFS was spurred by the generosity of Black women who work in philanthropy across the country and recognized the profound imbalance in philanthropic funding and sought to do something about it. To power the launch of WFS, nearly 100 Black women working in the field of philanthropy gave from their own treasure and encouraged their allies, friends, and institutions to match their gifts. Their collective action led to WFS’ first $100,000. WFS recognizes the rich, poignant history among Black people to give and give generously through mutual aid, religious, and social organizations. We celebrate Black traditions of giving and seek to marshal the collective power of traditional practices of giving alongside organized philanthropy. We believe that funding – and elevating – Black women in the South will simultaneously lift their families, and that this work will similarly impact and elevate future generations as well, breaking the cycle of entrenched, generational poverty. This is especially important right now, as COVID-19 has exacerbated racial disparities in health and economic prosperity.
Working in concert with other Black philanthropists, we can bring about meaningful change for under-resourced Black communities throughout the nation. The act of Black philanthropists financially supporting Black-led non-profits is the ultimate way to breathe life into the principle that solutions are often held by those closest to the impact of the problem. The recent social injustice and racial reckoning movements have opened the nation’s collective mind to righting the wrongs of the past and finally making room for equality and inclusion. The time for Black philanthropists to anchor support in Black-led non-profits is now.
WFS centers and invests in the collective power, health, well-being, economic security, and leadership of women and girls of color in the South. WFS is a permanent, endowed institution that serves as a gateway for donors, foundations, corporations, and individual investors to maximize the social impact of their investments in women and girls of color in the South.
SOURCE Women’s Foundation of the South