ICYMI: Philanthropy While Black

From BlackPittsburgh: "Justin Laing, the Principal at the anti-racist leadership and strategy firm Hillombo, is not your average Diversity, Equity and Inclusion consultant. Prior to founding Hillombo in 2017, Laing was a senior program officer at the Pittsburgh-based The Heinz Endowments, one of the largest philanthropic organizations in the U.S. focused on community building in southwestern Pennsylvania. Laing spent 11 years there. His professional trajectory in the nonprofit world presents a powerful story of dedication to the Black Pittsburgh community."

"Cutting his teeth in the community programming space challenged Laing to think more and more about the resources available to organizations committed to advancing Black arts and culture in Black communities. He wrote his first grant to the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts to gain support for the work that The Village’s community work. The Council didn’t consider his community engagement, even with some culinary arts programming, as 'art' proper—so they awarded the group a consultant, but no funding."

"These days, Laing is as thoughtful as ever and maybe more radical than he was in his leather medallion-wearing days. As the lead at Hillombo, which he founded as a catalyst for ending the business-as-usual approach in the nonprofit sector, Laing applies Black radical, Black feminist, and socialist approaches to “disrupt our participation in the nonprofit industrial complex’s systemic oppression.”

"To date, Hillombo’s vision has directly impacted philanthropic approaches across the United States, including through organizations he’s consulted in Pennsylvania, Arizona, New Jersey, Illinois, and Minnesota."

"Laing advises his clients (especially predominately white nonprofits and foundations) to center alternatives to systemic racism. These anti-racist approaches, he believes, result in more sustainable relationships between philanthropy the communities that they serve."

"From outsiders looking in at his time at Heinz, this may seem like an abrupt departure from a successful career as a program officer. But for those who know Laing’s roots and his deliberate rootedness in Black radical traditions, his work at Hillombo is a return to form."

Beginning November 1, Laing joins GIA for the Pro-BIPOC Arts Funding Community of Practice Workshop.

Read the full article here.