Unfunded: Black Communities Overlooked By Canadian Philanthropy

While revealing, hard to assess given the absence of comparative data with respect to other visible minority and Indigenous groups. A missed opportunity, IMO, one that weakens their arguments and case:

The COVID-19 pandemic and contemporary anti-Black racism movements have shone further light on the systemic racism and hardships faced by Black people in Canada. The experience of Black people in Canada points to the inadequacy of public policy in addressing the concerns of Black communities. It also suggests that Canadian philanthropy has not sufficiently invested in the well-being of Black communities and Black community organizations.

This research report provides the first systematic, empirical examination of the extent to which Canadian philanthropy has responded to the unique and intersectional challenges facing Black communities. In establishing the social context and lived experience of Black community members, the report makes apparent that the needs of Black people in Canada are both specific and urgent. Despite the clear case for investment, Canadian philanthropy has largely been absent in supporting Black people in Canada. Evidence that illustrates how Canadian philanthropy has failed to meet the needs of Black people in Canada is drawn from the analysis of two sets of original data:

1) Semi-structured qualitative interviews with ten Black and non-Black philanthropic leaders from across the Canadian philanthropic sector; and 2) a review of the funding portfolios of 40 Canadian foundations.


Our research and analysis suggest that the Canadian philanthropic sector has failed to support the urgent and specific needs of Black communities in Canada. As the philanthropic sector stands, it lacks the tools and knowledge to support Black communities effectively. Our key findings are:

  • Both public and private foundations underfund Black-serving and Black-led community organizations. Only six of the 40 public and private foundations we reviewed funded Black-serving organizations over the 2017 and 2018 fiscal years, and only two foundations funded Black-led organizations in the same timeframe.
  • Compared to private and other public foundations, community foundations have a better record of funding Black-serving organizations, but both Black-serving and Black-led organizations remain under-funded.All but one of the community foundations we reviewed funded Black-serving organizations over the 2017
    and 2018 fiscal years, but only six funded Black-led organizations in the same timeframe. Across all community foundations we reviewed, grants to Black-serving organizations represented a meagre 0.7 percent of total grants during the 2017 and 2018 fiscal years. Grants to Black-led organizations were only 0.07 percent of total grants made in the same period.
  • The total amount of grant funding going to Black-serving and Black-led organizations is miniscule. Moreover, grant funding is sporadic, unsustained, and does not invest in the long-term capabilities of Black community organizations.
  • Philanthropic and nonprofit leaders see the need for and the potential of a Black-led philanthropic foundation. Such a foundation would allow for the self-determination of Black communities, build the capacity of Black community organizations, ensure collaboration with other foundations to share resources and networks, and challenge the current philanthropic paradigm that wields ‘power over’ people with a top-down flow of resources. They assert that inadequate data, a lack of representation of Black communities in philanthropy, and systemic barriers, including anti-Black racism, have led to a severe underfunding of Black communities in Canada. This has resulted in the philanthropic sector not understanding the needs of Black communities, nor the extent to which they are being supported by the sector.

Source: https://www.forblackcommunities.org/

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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