Toward Power-Shifting Solidarity with Black-Led Change

Published: May 2023

Type: Publication

Lulete Mola, standing in profile. A headshot.
A black and white headshot of Dr. Chera Reid. Black woman with shoulder-length, twisted hair, smiling facing the camera.

Leaders of the Black Collective Foundation MN, the state’s first Black community foundation, are working to ensure that Black-led organizations and communities are adequately recognized and resourced. In the spring of 2022, the  Collective and the Center for Evaluation Innovation formed a partnership to consider how to build power-shifting solidarity with Black people and communities across Minnesota.

Doing this required better understanding what foundation staff believe is possible, what will motivate courageous action, and how to support those who have made commitments to stay the course.

This report, and the research that informs it, considers the question: What will it take for institutional philanthropy in MN and beyond to move at the speed of courage and invest wholly in Black lives?

We reviewed philanthropic literature, interviewed Black community leaders, and facilitated three focus groups with foundation leaders and staff who are committed to racial equity in Minnesota.

In Fall 2022, we invited the Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity to collaborate by analyzing and sharing data that would add to our respective local and national understanding of the state of racial equity and racial justice grantmaking. This analysis revealed a number of finding about funding trends in Minnesota, including:

  • Minnesota, the epicenter of the racial justice uprisings in 2020, saw only a fraction of foundation funding invested in Black-led social change organizations. Funding for Black communities in Minnesota increased in 2020, but didn’t keep pace with national trends; it was only 1.6% of institutional funding for the year.

The report provides five tangible actions philanthropy can take to invest in Black lives year-round and long-term to build community power and support thriving individuals and families.

  1. Trust, defend, and recognize Black leaders.
  2. Embrace the dual needs for economic development and healing justice.
  3. Meet Black people at their intersections and acknowledge the force of anti-Blackness.
  4. Support spaces of respite and community building for Black changemakers in philanthropy.
  5. Invest in racial justice at the speed of courage.
Download the EXECUTIVE SUMMARY AND full report on The Black Collective Foundation MN website