Posted on September 21, 2020

At Nonprofits Focusing on Blacks, Donations Soared in Wake of George Floyd Protests

Betsy Morris, Wall Street Journal, September 19, 2020

For years, nonprofits focusing on Blacks have struggled for funding, but in less than four months, that’s changed dramatically.

The $6.5 billion committed to achieving racial equity this year is nearly double the $3.3 billion raised for that purpose in the prior eight years combined, according to Candid, which tracks and analyzes global philanthropy, using tax filings and media sources. All but about $35 million of this year’s funding has been pledged since the May 25 death of George Floyd.

That pace has already slowed, according to Candid, falling to $1.6 billion in August from a peak of $2.5 billion in June. But the amount of new funding and the choice of recipients signify a change. Many of the grants are going specifically to nonprofits with Black leaders, reflecting a view gaining traction in philanthropy that the people closest to communities and their problems are in the best position to fix them.

The influx of donations has been an unanticipated boon to a lot of those organizations. Here’s how four organizations with Black leaders who received donations are spending them.

The Confess Project

Lorenzo Lewis, CEO, founded this nonprofit in 2016 to help improve the mental health of men and boys of color by training Black barbers to be mental health advocates. {snip}

{snip} This year, the agency has raised $218,000, quadruple the $54,000 raised last year.

Echoing Green

Through a competitive fellowship program, Echoing Green identifies and develops leaders of startups—nonprofits and businesses—with a social mission and provides them with small amounts of funding. About 75% of fellows are people of color. {snip}

In a good year, says president Cheryl Dorsey, Echoing Green raised $9 million. This year, it has raised about $21 million in its fiscal first quarter compared with $9 million for the fiscal year ended June 30. “Out of the blue,” says Ms. Dorsey, the organization got $10 million from an anonymous donor. Later, the organization learned the donor was MacKenzie Scott, former wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos {snip} Since then, Echoing Green has raised an additional $11 million {snip}

Kingmakers of Oakland

The nonprofit got its early start in Christopher Chatmon’s class in the Oakland (Calif.) Unified School District more than 10 years ago. His goal: to create a healthy learning environment for Black boys in public school. {snip}


Last year, he received $500,000 from the Raikes Foundation and began developing a plan. This year, he is set to receive another $350,000 and has attracted additional funding from new donors that include basketball’s Golden State Warriors and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the philanthropic organization of Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan. Total revenue so far this fiscal year is $2.2 million, up from about $1 million last year, Mr. Chatmon says. He has a plan to expand to 100 cities in the next five years. {snip}


Brittany Young is finally getting some funding to sustain the Baltimore-based nonprofit the former high school and community college teacher started three years ago. B-360, which uses the city’s dirt-bike culture to teach inner-city children about science, technology and safety, was nearly wiped out by the coronavirus. {snip}

{snip} In recent weeks, though, she’s gotten $10,000 from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, $35,000 from the Baltimore Ravens football team and $25,000 from Teach for America. {snip}