ATLANTA, GA — On Sept. 10, the Southern Black Girls and Women’s Consortium (SBGWC) kicked off a 10-year fundraising initiative to raise $100 million to financially empower the goals of Southern Black girls and women in the United States through the Black Girls Dream Fund. The new Fund seeks to fundraise and shift current grantmaking efforts in the South, channeling greater resources toward organizations that are intentionally supporting and empowering Black girls and women. 

According to a report, Black women and girls receive less than one percent of the $4.8 billion in philanthropic investments in the South. This new Fund seeks to change that and is powered by four Southern-based organizations led by Black women: TruthSpeaks Consulting, Black Belt Community Foundation, Appalachian Community Fund, and the Fund for Southern Communities. 

Inspired and informed by research conducted by SBGWC through listening sessions with hundreds of Black girls and women throughout the South, funding will be used to advance services and supports, ranging from affordable housing, entrepreneurial endeavors, legal assistance, mental and physical health, and more. 

“We are radically reimagining how to support Black women and girls in the South,” said LaTosha Brown, founder of TruthSpeaks Consulting, based in Atlanta, Ga. “Through this new initiative, spearheaded by Black women for Black girls and women, we are breaking the traditional philanthropic model to develop a new approach to fundraising that centers our voices and allows us to play a leading role in shaping our own destiny. This is vision and self-determination in action because if we change the future of the Black girl in the South, we change the South.” 

SBGWC raised $10 million in seed capital from the NoVo Foundation and has received additional contributions from Women Donors Network, Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation, Lucy and Isadore B Adelman Foundation, Collective Future Fund, and the Momentum Fund. The Consortium is open to funding from both private and public sources. 

“This year has presented a moment of social reckoning, but Black girls and women are still fighting for the rights, resources, and recognition they deserve,” said Felecia Lucky, president of the Black Belt Community Foundation in Selma, Ala. “Through the Black Girls Dream Fund, we aim to fill this vital funding gap and improve the quality of life for generations of Black girls and women.” 

“During a time when the mainstream narrative of being Black and a woman in America can feel overwhelmingly negative, we’re proud to shift these racist and sexist ideals by investing in the goals and dreams of the millions of Black girls and women throughout the American South,” said Margo Miller, executive director of the Appalachian Community Fund in Knoxville, Tenn. “By investing in them and providing resources they have long been denied, we will enable Black girls and women to bring more of their magic into the world and fundamentally change the way the world views them.”

SBGWC has a range of activities it’s leading for both organizations and individuals. It is providing capacity-building support to partner organizations in 12 states throughout the South and has distributed more than $300,000 to organizations providing resources to Black girls and women who are currently experiencing financial uncertainty related to COVID-19. Furthermore, SBGWC launched the #BlackGirlJoy Challenge to provide grants to girls who submitted videos or social media posts to show how they are spreading joy during the pandemic. Examples ranged from artwork for the elderly to a make-shift drive-in movie theater.

“We cannot ignore the injustices that Black women and girls face every day,’’ said Alice Jenkins, executive director of the Fund for Southern Communities in Decatur, Ga. “In the South, Black girls and women experience social, political, and economic injustices at higher rates than their white counterparts, yet they continue to be left out of philanthropic investments. The needs are there, but the investments are not. We are committed to changing this dynamic.” 

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