A Message from Susan Taylor Batten & Seitu Jemel Hart
Dear Colleagues,

2019 is upon us! As we wrap up another year, we're extremely proud of the work ABFE has done throughout 2018—work inspired and powered by our members, friends and supporters.
This year, we convened the largest gathering of Black professionals to date at our 2018 annual conference, "The Fierce Urgency of Now," in Memphis, TN; w e expanded our philanthropic advocacy work to Afro-Latino communities in Puerto Rico, as well as Black communities in the U.S. Virgin Islands; in August, we celebrated the fifth anniversary of our Women in Philanthropy Leadership Retreat with a group of dynamic women leading in the sector; and in September we also joined efforts with JPMorgan Chase & Co. at the CBCF 48th Annual Legislative Meeting in D.C. to bring our members and attendees a session on "Building Economic Power in Black communicate through Business and Entrepreneurship."

In October, we held our second annual Leverage the Trust Leadership Retreat to promote the role of Black Trustees in making philanthropy more responsive in Black communities; and last month we brought together 11 dynamic leaders–for our Connecting Leaders Fellowship Program (CLFP) Leadership Summit–who met in Chicago to address the ongoing social and economic problems in their Black communities.

Indeed 2018 kept us busy, but our mission to promote effective and responsive philanthropy in Black communities will keep us going stronger into the new year and beyond. So as we reflect on the successes and challenges of this year, let’s look ahead to the limitless opportunities and possibilities of tomorrow. One thing we’re looking forward to is our 2019 annual conference, “ Harambee: Let's All Pull Together ,” taking place April 4 – 6 in Detroit, MI! We're excited to announce that registration is now open. Visit ABFE-CONFERENCE.ORG for more details.

Thank you again for your continued generosity and support. Warm wishes to you and yours during this holiday season.

Happy Holidays!
Susan Taylor Batten
President and CEO, ABFE

Seitu Jemel Hart
Vice President of Membership and External Affairs, ABFE
Member Notes
What's Happening at ABFE...
Visit ABFE-CONFERENCE.ORG today for details on registration, hotel, sponsorship and call for session ideas.
ABFE Featured in Article " Blacks Are Financially Struggling: Here's How We Can Help Them"

Source:, December 8, 2018

The historic impact of racism and slavery in the Black community continues to have a long-lasting effect on the economic growth of African Americans. The dream that racism will no longer exist, that our education system will change, and that the jobs and business opportunities will get better for Blacks seems unlikely in the near future. Just when you are convinced that you have taken one step in the right direction, you end up feeling like you took one thousand steps back. Often times, the desire for change seems almost impossible, but what if we changed that perspective? With all that is going on in America, one could be overwhelmed, saddened, and discouraged, but what if we focused on being grateful, determined, and giving? During a time of perceived adversity, let’s see this as a chance for opportunity. Now’s the time for us all to make a philanthropic commitment to providing the financial capital and human capital needed to create a lasting social change.

According to the Institute of Policy Studies , it will take Blacks 228 years to close the racial wealth gap. While Blacks are struggling to build wealth, they are still spending money, and currently have a $1.2 trillion buying power . In communities all over the country, the Black underclass and working class are getting worse, Black families are continuing to fall apart, crime continues, and millions of Black men continue to fill prisons. With all the statistics, reports, and negative news surrounding the Black community, this isn’t a time to get caught up in the media, or for any one person or company to turn their backs on these issues. This is a time for philanthropic endeavors to increase, and individuals like Susan Taylor Batten, the Chief Executive Officer of ABFE , are standing strong and continuing to promote effective philanthropy in Black communities. True impact comes from both our minds and our bank accounts, and organizations like ABFE are here to provide guidance and support to individuals and foundations who are interested in building black economic power.

The Association of Black Foundation Executives (ABFE) is the first philanthropic affinity group in the nation with a membership base of over 800 individuals working in philanthropic institutions, corporations, and nonprofits. The ABFE organization and its members represent over $100 billion dollars in assets under management, and they have a focus in promoting effective programs , policies, and philanthropic initiatives in the Black community. With a dedication to economic advancement since 1971, ABFE uses its network and resources with member organizations like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Ford Foundation, and W.K. Kellogg Foundation to create a coalition of foundations that are invested in scaling Black communities and Black businesses within America.  “Our goal is to shift the way philanthropy invests in poor communities that are disproportionate. We want to move their outlook from a charity model to a change model,” says Batten.
ABFE President and CEO, Susan Taylor Batten, Profiled in Sheen Magazine's "Meet the Woman Leading the 1st Philanthropic Affinity Group in the Nation"

Source:, December 3, 2018

Superwomen can be found all around us. From our mothers, mentors, teachers, and coaches – the women who raise, train, educate and advocate for us have long been the glue that holds entire communities together. The introduction to the President of The Association of Black Foundation Executives (ABFE), was another such superwoman using her influence and access to ensure under-resourced communities have the resources, tools, and trainings needed to thrive in career and life.

If you don’t know who she is, allow me to introduce to some and present to others the bold, dynamic, and transformative leader — Susan Taylor Batten. An over 20-year veteran in the philanthropic industry, Susan’s dedication to using philanthropy as a vehicle is exemplified in the work ABFE does every day. With a membership base of over 800 individuals working in philanthropic institutions, corporations and nonprofits advising over $100 billion dollars in assets, ABFE sheds light on the root causes of the disparities that continue to plague communities of color. Susan believes, “the investments that build on collective responsibility, self-help, and cultural pride, along with those that address the systemic exclusion of Black people and communities of color from opportunity and advantage, are truly wise investments.”
ABFE's Connecting Leaders Fellowship Program (CLFP) Featured on WGN Radio:
"ABFE| 13th Class of Connecting Leaders Fellowship Program (CLFP) convened in Chicago"

Source:, November 16, 2018

Susan Taylor Batten  (President/CEO of The Association of Black Foundation Executives ABFE ) shared a lot of wise and encouraging words for fellows at this years ”CLFP Leadership Summit” which took place November 11-16 in Chicago.

The 13th Class of Connecting Leaders Fellowship Program (CLFP) is comprised of 11 philanthropic leaders that are dedicated to affecting change in black communities.
This year’s seminar offered learning sessions and experiential activities centered around Chicago ’s Black Community.

Susan spoke with Marsha Lyles to give insight on the ABFE mission, she also shares her journey into becoming the President/CEO of ABFE.

Learn more here:
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Giving Black: New study explores legacy, power and potential of black philanthropy of Cincinnati

Source:, December 6, 2018

CINCINNATI — Local nonprofit organizations have commissioned extensive research to shine light on Greater Cincinnati’s racial divide.

A new study released Thursday by The Greater Cincinnati Foundation underscores another important truth:

Black people in the Tri-State have a long and proud history of giving give back to the community through donations of money and volunteer hours.

“Changing the narrative is very important,” said Bithiah Carter, president and CEO of NEBiP, which conducted the study with The Greater Cincinnati Foundation. “We have to shift the paradigm from focusing on our deficits to focusing on our assets. How do we shift the narrative that we are not just a community of bad reports?”

The study, called “Giving Black: Cincinnati, A Portrait of Black Resistance and Stewardship,” aims to paint a picture of the “opportunities and constraints” that impact black philanthropic giving here and offers a history lesson on the origins of black philanthropy in Cincinnati dating back to before the Civil War.

“Good black news is hard to find,” Carter said. “There are very few stories about the strength of this community, the resiliency of this community, how this community resists.”
Why Grant Makers Must Talk About Anti-Black Racism

Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy, November 29, 2018
By ABFE Member Tamara Copeland

In philanthropy, we talk a lot about diversity but not a lot about racism, especially anti-black racism.

There seems to be real discomfort in acknowledging the very thing that has torn our country apart for centuries. We seem unable to recognize and talk about how the contemporary relationship between white people and black people was shaped by slavery.

In the Washington, D.C., region, grant makers are trying to change that dynamic by working extensively to learn about and dismantle structural racism and to learn what causes our biases and fight them.

We rarely need reminders of the importance of our work. On Thanksgiving night, Emantic Bradford Jr., a black man trying to protect mall shoppers from a shooter, was mistaken as the gunman and shot by an off-duty policeman working as a security guard.

Just a few weeks earlier, a Washington Post article powerfully captured the essence of what it means for far too many who are simply "living while black" in the United States. As the headline explained , "A black child’s backpack brushed up against a woman. She called 911 to report a sexual assault." The piece goes on to note, "For a 12-year-old black boy in Ohio, it was mowing the lawn. For an 8-year-old girl in California, it was selling water outside the apartment building where she lives. And for a pair of young black men in Philadelphia, it was sitting inside a Starbucks waiting for a person they were supposed to meet. For a black lawmaker in Oregon, it was canvassing in her district. For a Yale University graduate student, it was napping in one of the school’s common rooms. For a group of black sorority girls in Pennsylvania, it was picking up trash on a highway as part of a community service."

And just one day before this article appeared, a white man in Michigan was found guilty of shooting at a black teenager who was lost and simply trying to ask for directions. This story could have ended so differently.
In Case You Missed It...
Watch the highlight reel from NGAAP Charlotte's "Making Change" forum, featuring Susan Taylor Batten, President and CEO of ABFE
The Horizon Foundation Holds First Equity Summit

ABFE's Susan Taylor Batten and Anthony Simmons (pictured right) highlighted in event recap

Source:, November 14, 2018

The Horizon Foundation seeks to reduce health disparities and work toward racial equity in health by advocating for policies and practices that break down health barriers and promise more equitable health outcomes for people of color. To achieve this goal, we must elevate the voices of leaders from communities of color and strengthen the abilities and resources of community organizations to advance movements for social change.

“We must address these challenges and make a concerted effort to create an equitable environment by breaking down the systems that have caused these disparities and by partnering with organizations that care about these disparities in our community,” said Highsmith Vernick, explaining the Horizon Foundation’s approach.

The half-day event featured an Introduction to Racial Equity workshop facilitated by Susan Taylor Batten, President and CEO of ABFE, and Anthony Simmons, ABFE’s Manager for Racial Equity Grantmaking . Workshop participants discussed how structural racism has impacted – and continues to impact – communities of color, understanding the key building blocks for doing racially equitable work and the importance of using a structural and systems’ lens for addressing racial disparities.

“It doesn’t matter what issue you’re working on improving, we see disparities related to race in all of them,” said Batten at the workshop.
ABFE's Susan Taylor Batten to Lead Talk on 'Philanthropic Leadership on Issues of Race and Equity' | Tuesday, January 15th at the Mays Family Institute on Diverse Philanthropy (Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, Indiana University)

Description on webinar : When the people want change, it will happen. When the people are supported, change is inevitable. At ABFE: A Philanthropic Partnership for Black Communities , we urge funders to use their philanthropic resources to support Black social change by investing in the leadership who are closest to the communities where you fund. “ The Case For Funding Black-Led Social Change ,” a case statement by ABFE’s Black Social Change Funders Network (BSCFN) , even recommends some funding in areas where increased dollars can expedite social change in the nation and the diaspora.

Hear from philanthropic leaders who are moving money to make Black social change happen. Join us to hear more about how they do it.
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