Quarterly Bulletin
April 2020

A Message from Susan Taylor Batten
Testing our Faith and Philanthropy’s Truth
Call to Action Regarding COVID-19

Dear ABFE Members and Friends:

These clearly are challenging times. We are blessed as an ABFE team to have safe homes so that we can carry on the important work of the organization – we do not take this privilege lightly. Like so many of you, we are working remotely until further notice. It is easy to fall into a place of anxiety, channeled by fear but we must rely on each other to pull us back from the brink. This is when we must all lean in. 

At ABFE, we are laser-focused on ensuring that the sector’s response to this pandemic acknowledges that our communities are disproportionately impacted by crises. We know why we must be concerned. First, deep-seated inequities that disproportionately affect us – like a lack of paid sick leave and adequate health insurance, over-incarceration, income disparities, and access to medical facilities — can heighten the effects of a crisis like the Covid-19 outbreak on our people. Second, we know that resources – whether they come through the public or philanthropic sector – don’t make it to Black-led organizations in our communities in amounts proportionate to need. These two factors together are the ingredients to disaster.
The philanthropic sector is responding with urgency to the virus outbreak – thank you to the foundations that have pledged to a set of actions that will ease the burden on grantees.

What should we do right now? It is now on us to ensure that Black-led organizations are aware of philanthropy’s response, benefit from the flexibility that foundations are currently allowing and have access to emergency funds. Specifically, let’s ensure that organizations that are led-by Black people and support Black communities know that grant-makers are:

  1. Loosening restrictions on grants
  2. Allowing project-based grants to be used for operating support
  3. Accelerating payment schedules
  4. Allowing grantees to keep sponsorship and registration fees for cancelled or postponed events
  5. Postponing grant reporting requirements during this challenging time.

Community organizations who have been impacted by this pandemic should reach out to their funders and ask assistance with these practices in mind. 
In addition, let’s ensure that nonprofits in our neighborhoods are aware of the emergency response funds that are emerging around the country. One of the most extensive lists of funds that I have seen is the one compiled by the National Center on Family Philanthropy. The Council of Foundations also has a page dedicated to COVID-19 resources that can be helpful to community-based organizations who need access to immediate support.
A long-standing question for all of us is whether the sector will respond to this crisis, led by the principles of equity and justice. While this is critical, our focus must shift to using this crisis to reach our long-term goals – long-term equity in funding in proportion to need. This is a test of our faith and philanthropy’s truth on these issues. Stay tuned for more thoughts and guidance on what we can do together.

Stay vigilant and stay focused.

Susan Taylor Batten
President and CEO, ABFE
ABFE 2020 Virtual Conference
In light of the World Health Organization declaring the coronavirus a pandemic, the consensus on proceeding with our planned in-person 2020 conference has shifted. The Board of Directors and staff of ABFE have made thedecision to organize our annual conference Harambee: Let’s All Pull Together (April 15 – 17, 2020) as a virtual convening.

 We will continue to share updates, including what to expect as an attendee, exhibitor, vendor, or sponsor. Please, check the conference website for these updates. For details on registration, sponsorships and virtual programing, please visit ABFE-Conference.org or email: conference@abfe.org
ABFE Updates
Welcome Michell Speight to ABFE

We are pleased to announce Michell Speight as our new Chief of Staff.

Michell has a long history of working in the nonprofit sector around advocacy and social change. Most recently, she was the Chief of Staff at Race Forward. At Race Forward, she was a member of the executive leadership team and responsible for leading Race Forward's strategic direction for programs and operations. Before joining Race Forward, Michell worked in organized philanthropy serving as Vice President of Programs for the Dyson Foundation and serving as Director of Programs for Associated Black Charities of New York City. Additionally, she spent more than a decade working for reproductive choice, health, and advocacy organizations in communities of color, including Planned Parenthood, the Bronx Perinatal Consortium, and Safe Space.

We are so excited to have Michell as part of the team. Please join us in welcoming her.

Recap from Quarter 1 Board Meeting

Members of ABFE’s Board of Directors and Staff visited the beautiful island of St. Croix, USVI for ABFE’s 1 st Quarter Board of Directors meeting and to participate in the St. Croix Foundation for Community Development’s 3 rd Annual Philanthropy Retreat. The retreat’s theme for this year was The Power of People and Place: Status Matters , and many of the sessions focused around political status, social equity, nonprofit capacity building and creating systems change throughout Black communities in St. Croix.

The Board had the opportunity to learn about issues facing Black communities on the island and were introduced to philanthropic, government and nonprofit leaders working to solve them. The retreat provided a powerful space for networking and peer exchange to address challenges facing Black communities in the US Virgin Islands and on the mainland. ​

The St. Croix Foundation for Community Development also curated a private tour of the island, allowing members of ABFE’s Board to not only witness the hardships affecting Black communities in St. Croix, but to realize the positive impact the St. Croix Foundatio has throughout the island. The retreat concluded with St. Croix’s AgriFest – the largest agricultural festival in the Territory. AgriFest is a colorful display of locally produced agricultural products, livestock, arts and crafts, and native cuisine; allowing attendees to touch, taste, and see everything St. Croix has to offer agriculturally.
Susan Taylor Batten Is Championing Equity for Black Communities and Black Foundation Executives

February 27, 2020

Our (ABFE's) work moving forward is to unleash the power of our 900+ membership to strengthen and rebuild Black-led infrastructure for social change. As such, we will spend this year organizing our network to increase investments in Black nonprofits. We also are looking to expand our membership this year, particularly with Black donors and philanthropists towards this goal.

Grantmakers in the Arts
 Frameworks for Black Communities and Other Communities of Color Racial Equity Podcast Series
Episode 22 featuring ABFE

In this podcast episode, Edward Jones ABFE’s vice president of Programs, and Anthony Simmons, ABFE’s manager of Racial Equity in Grantmaking Program are featured. The discussion is around how their strategic framework and tools can offer a deeper impact in communities that are often ignored. Don’t let the learning stop at this podcast.

During this time of confinement, take some time to explore ABFE's Knowledge Center, featuring Black Led Social Change resources like

-interesting fact sheets
-links, and
Member Spotlight
Featured Philanthropic Institutional Member
The Annie E. Casey Foundation

ABFE wishes to highlight a long-time loyal supporter since 2005. They have supported our programs, including the Connecting Leaders Fellowship Program and the Responsive Philanthropy in Black Communities (RPBC) Trainings, as well as our signature event, our annual conference.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation is devoted to developing a brighter future for millions of children at risk of poor educational, economic, social and health outcomes. Their work focuses on strengthening families, building stronger communities and ensuring access to opportunity - because children need all three to succeed. They advance research and solutions to overcome the barriers to success, help communities demonstrate what works and influence decision makers to invest in strategies based on solid evidence.

Throughout 2018, the Annie E. Casey Foundation provided $127 million in grants, technical assistance and consulting to help develop solutions that build a brighter future for kids, families and communities. At the same time, the Foundation invested nearly $117 million of its endowment in housing, community and economic development, innovation in human services technology, and expanding access to capital for entrepreneurs of color.
The Roy & Patricia Disney Family Foundation have a vision for a more equitable, sustainable, and vibrant world. They have three program areas: Empowerment & Equal Opportunity, Bluer/Greener World, and Vibrant Communities. Vulnerable, marginalized or disenfranchised populations are an important focus of the foundation’s work.
Contact us to be a featured member or share a content idea!
News From The Field
Announcing Grantmakers for Girls of Color's New Executive Director

Dr. Monique Morris , an award-winning author and educator who holds three decades of experience in the areas of education, juvenile and intersectional justice and a lifetime of advocacy for communities of color, particularly Black women and girls, has been selected to boldly shape G4GC’s future as a dynamic independent funder activist organization, fiscally-sponsored by Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. 

In the coming months, Dr. Morris will work to design and implement G4GC’s strategic mission and vision including developing imaginative programming to continue building the capacity and community of the G4GC funder community, and in the near future, a grantmaking program to meaningfully increase resources for movements centering girls of color. With her visionary leadership, G4GC is thrilled to have her carry forward the incredible momentum created by girls of color, the movements that center their voices and, G4GC’s growing funder community.
Federal Aid Plan for Nonprofits Needs More Input from Black-Led Organizations
A letter to the Editor of The Chronicle of Philanthropy by Susan Taylor Batten - March 23rd, 2020

To the Editor:

When white folks catch a cold, black folks get pneumonia.

Many of us are familiar with this phrase, which sums up the level of inequity black communities face in comparison with others in times of crises. Whether we are speaking of an economic downturn, environmental disaster, or a health pandemic, the disparities we face — on every indicator of well-being — means that the impact on black communities will be far worse. This is why I was surprised about the glaring absence of black-led national nonprofits that signed on to a letter to members of Congress by a coalition of more than 50 groups seeking $60 billion in federal aid. (“Nonprofits Seek $60 Billion Federal Aid Package,” March 18)

The proposal the groups made is right in that the nonprofit sector is critically important to the health and well-being of this country. They are, in fact, first responders in times of trouble and in too many instances, their work is not recognized unless something goes wrong in this country. These organizations are economic engines — they are employers, purchasers of goods and services, and take a lead role in building strong communities. For these reasons as well as others, they need support to shore up the front lines to deal with this crisis.
The United Negro College Fund's COVID 19 Response

F or 76 years, The United Negro College Fund (UNCF) has helped more than half a million students graduate from college, and is rapidly preparing to help address the critical emergency needs of our students and HBCUs during the uncertainty that CovID-19 has produced. We are  working with Strategic Education, Inc to support institutional adoption of online learning, accelerating disbursements to HBCUs from our  emergency aid program , and leading  the fight for federal funds  for HBCUs and other Minority Serving Institutions. Please follow us on social media @UNCF, #UNCF or via UNCF.org for critical information and updates about how you can support HBCUs and deserving students during this time of great need.
Rumor, Disparity and Distrust: Why Black Americans Face an Uphill Battle Against COVID-19
By   Joseph P. Williams , Senior News Editor, USA News

"Black people, please, please, please understand that coronavirus, you can get it,"  Idris Elba said , trying to quash a rumor swirling through cyberspace. "There are so many stupid, ridiculous conspiracy theories about black people not being able to get it. That's dumb, stupid. All right? That is the quickest way to get more black people killed."
Some U.S. physicians and researchers who study the intersection of race and health are joining Elba in sounding the alarm: The highly contagious and potentially deadly virus sweeping across the country is going to hit hard in the black community. And the reasons will reach beyond dangerous rumor-mongering and racially based misinformation.

The documented health disparities between racial groups in the U.S. – including higher rates of chronic diseases and lower access to health care among blacks compared with whites – make some African Americans more vulnerable to COVID-19, experts warn.
Upcoming Events, Conferences, and RFPS
May 2020

May 4
United Way Westchester Putnam

May 27
2:00 - 3:00 PM
Technology Association of Grant Makers

May 27 - May 28, 2020
Engage for Good
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