A Call to Philanthropy: Black Feminist Movements are Ready to Win. Are You?

An open letter to philanthropy

In rare moments in philanthropy, history and opportunity meet, and donors everywhere are presented with a chance to contribute to a dramatic leap forward. These moments bring an opening to make generational progress on the most pressing issues of our time. A space for courage to confront philanthropy’s broken promises and practices of the past. A vehicle to shift resources—quickly and deeply—to our most innovative leaders at the forefront of change. We are writing today because we believe that the Black Feminist Fund is that opportunity. And this is our time. As a growing community of individual donors, institutional leaders, and donor advocates, we urge you to join us while momentum is on our side.

We work on many different issues, but we are united by a common conviction: It’s time to fund Black feminist movements like we want them to win. Because across our most urgent global challenges—from Colombia to Sudan, Brazil and Nigeria, to the US and France—Black feminists are dreaming and delivering the solutions we need. History shows us time and again: When Black feminists win, democracy wins. When Black feminists win, climate justice wins. When Black feminists win, inequality loses, and justice comes closer to our reach.

The Black Feminist Fund is an intervention whose time has come. It emerged from a decade-long conversation among Black feminist organizers across the globe who dared to imagine a vehicle to remove one of their steepest barriers: funding the work. And the stakes are high. For donors, that’s on us. It’s a barrier we can and must remove. Evidence shows us that the work of autonomous feminist movements is the one key factor in creating lasting change not only on issues that directly affect women and girls but in deep structural changes that positively transform societies.

But as the essential role of Black women in movements becomes clearer, so does the reality that Black women are the least likely to receive the financial support and other resources to sustain their work. In 2018, out of nearly $70 billion in foundation giving globally, less than half of one percent went to Black feminist social movements. Most affected are Black women whose lives are at the intersections of multiple oppressions: for example Black rural women, Black trans women and gender nonconforming people, Black women with disabilities and impoversished Black women.

Read the full letter here.