#ABFETurns50 Celebration |

30th Annual James A. Joseph Lecture Awards Ceremony


ABFE celebrated 50 years of advancing responsive and effective philanthropy in Black communities during our 30th annual James A. Joseph Lecture & Awards Ceremony, hosted at the awe-inspiring African American Museum of History and Culture in Washington DC.

We honored the true pioneers of philanthropy for Black communities, the trailblazers that formed ABFE, and today’s courageous leaders who represent what it means to be bold and brave.

Each of our award recipients: Naa Hammond - Emerging Leader in Philanthropy, Reggie Van Lee – Trailblazer Award, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation – Institutional Award for Philanthropic Leadership and our 2021 Lecturer, Kenneth Jones, inspired ABFE members and supporters to continue the work that we have been called to do.

Our celebration began with the drumming of Ni Dembaya African Drum and Dance Ensemble that served as a call to us and the spirit of our proud ancestors that joined us throughout the evening. Despite the challenges and continued work that lies ahead, ABFE created a night of revelry and joy while shining a light on unmeasured Black excellence.

Special thanks to our sponsors for supporting ABFE with this event: Casey Family Programs, Hewlett Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, American Student Assistance, Schott Foundation, The Annie E. Casey Foundation, Chicago Community Trust, Colorado Trust, Fairfield County's Community Foundation, Lumina, Tides, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Pierce Family Foundation.


Class of 2022 Connecting Leaders Fellowship Program Summit

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ABFE: A Philanthropic Partnership for Black Communities hosted its sixteenth cohort by welcoming 12 philanthropic professionals during its 2021-2022 Connecting Leaders Fellowship Program’s Annual Leadership Summit. This year’s hybrid summit was held at the Capital Hilton hotel located in downtown Washington DC, along with a virtual component for fellows who were unable to attend in person. The leadership summit serves as a safe space for newly inducted fellows to connect, conspire, and collectively cultivate their leadership capabilities.

The CLFP summit consisted of many festivities and trainings, including ABFE’s Responsive Philanthropy in Black Communities session, led by Anthony Simmons and Kyumon Murrell of ABFE’s Philanthropic Advising Services (PAS) CLFP professional Development training led by Eva Montalvo, Executive Coach & DEI / Leadership Consultant, Evaluation Leadership LLC. A private tour of the National African American Museum of History & Culture, followed by an open dialogue on leadership, led by Cory Anderson, ABFE board member and Executive Vice President at the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation.

Leverage The Trust- CA: Roundtable with Gov. Newsom

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The members of Leverage the Trust California met with Governor Gavin Newsom on November 15th to discuss ways in which both government and philanthropy can address the persistent inequities in education, health, housing, employment, and wealth for Black communities. As the Covid-19 recovery gets underway, Black philanthropic leaders from The California Wellness Foundation, The California Endowment, The Silicon Valley Community Foundation, and others across California stressed the importance of promoting equity-centered policies and practices to ensure BIPOC communities receive their fair share of resources needed for a full recovery.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Governor Newsom committed to meeting again and requested that the Trustees share the top policy priorities needed to substantially improve outcomes for Black communities in California.

ABFE's Invitation to The White House


Following our 50th Anniversary Celebration, ABFE received an invitation to the White House from the Vice President of Public Engagement- joined by a few of our Board Members!

Captured in the photo from left to right: Cory Anderson, Chief Innovation Officer, Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation; Susan Taylor Batten, President & CEO, ABFE; Christine White, Executive Director, Georgia Alliance for Progress; Sharon Bush Nash, President, Grand Victoria Foundation; Tahira Christmon, Vice President of External Affairs, ABFE; Edward Jones, Vice President of Programs, ABFE; Isaiah M. Oliver, President and CEO of Community Foundation of Greater Flint.

ABFE's Statement Following Kyle Rittenhouse's Verdict

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Why We Do What We Do

The verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial is another reminder that despite the progress that has been made towards a just and equitable society, systemic racism – one of the founding tenets of US society ─ continues to work as designed.

While the verdict is troubling, there were no surprises here. It was not a surprise to see white tears weaponized in the courtroom. Nor was it surprising to see Rittenhouse cleared of all charges; throughout America’s history, armed White citizens have been privileged to “take the law into their own hands” and terrorize Black communities. Nor was the blatantness of the judges’ actions a surprise; thumbing his nose at civility, disregarding the lives that were lost, and unapologetically stacking the deck in Rittenhouse’s favor. This is America and it is why so many are attempting to erase this racist history to make it seem as if the Kyle Rittenhouse case does not fit a pattern.

We can juxtapose the characterization of Rittenhouse to that of Tamir Rice or Trayvon Martin. The media continues to depict and propagate discriminatory and biased portrayals of Black people. Anyone that thought that the protests for justice were unwarranted and that the United States is the land of the free and home of the brave are now forced to reexamine what they believed to be true.

Those of us that have been tirelessly working toward change, need to step back from the barrage of traumatic stimuli, be thankful for the good in our lives and communities so that we can regroup and re-strategize with clear minds for the long-haul work that continues.

Last Call for Board Nominations

ABFE is pleased to announce a call for nominations for new Board Members. We are also accepting self-nominations for the 2022 Board cycle.


ABFE's mission is to promote effective and responsive philanthropy in Black communities.


Our objectives are to:

  • Grow Black leadership and participation within organized philanthropy
  • Enhance the effectiveness of philanthropic leaders and institutions that fund and invest in Black communities
  • Increase the allocation of philanthropic resources that address priority issues in Black communities

 The deadline for submission is Wednesday, December 1st, 2021.

The application form can be downloaded here and emailed to boardnominations@abfe.org

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ABFE Member Spotlight

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Outstanding Professional Grantmaker of the Year!

Denver Foundation

In honor of national philanthropy day, LaDawn Sullivan was awarded outstanding professional Grants maker over the year by A Foundation for Philanthropy Colorado Chapter. Over 25 years, LaDawn has been committed to social justice and racial equity within her role at the Denver Foundation and the various committees she is a part of. LaDawn recently founded Black Resilience In Colorado (BRIC), which directs resources to address systemic racism and its impact on Black communities across the seven-county Metro Denver region, granting over $1 million in funding to Black-led and Black-serving nonprofits.

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LaDawn Sullivan 

Share Your News & Keep Us in the Loop!


Last month, ABFE launched its social media submission form with the purpose of creating more intentional spaces that highlight and celebrate the wonderful work happening within the philanthropic sector. We value each partnership and it's important that we lift up and support the work that other members, funders, social and racial justice organizations, etc. are doing with our community of network, globally.

Submission Form

Upcoming Events

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Membership Monday Series

Join us on November 29th at 12 pm EST for a conversation with ABFE Member, Dr. Kenita Williams, Chief Operating Officer of Southern Education Foundation. 

Dr. Kenita Williams joined the Southern Education Foundation in 2017 and serves as the Chief Operating Officer. In her role, Kenita works to strengthen existing programs, leads on key strategic initiatives/new pathways for impact, supports the President & CEO in the development and management of organizational strategy and operations, and represents SEF’s values and efforts to key external stakeholders and the public. 

Dr. Kenita earned her B.A. in Political Science and History from Yale University, her Master of Public Policy from the University of Michigan–Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, a teaching certificate from Georgia State University, and her Doctor of Education from Johns Hopkins University.

Register here

Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers

Covid 19: What's Gonna Stick? Foundation Operations - Thursday, December 2, 2021, from 11 am - 12:00 p.m. EST

As we continue to battle the third wave and delta surge off the pandemic, the philanthropic community can reimagine a post-pandemic region built on trusting relationships, shared power, and equitable and inclusive systems. Join us for a timely discussion on what should continue from the pandemic and what should be left behind to rebuild as philanthropic leaders discuss the lessons learned and opportunities to drive change. 

This session will be presented by Moderator: Ruth LaToison Ifill, WRAG; Panelist: Marcus Braxton, Greater Washington Community Foundation; Panelist: Dr. Rebecca Cisek, Bainum Foundation; Panelist: Ashley Williams, A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation 

Register here
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