NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TN Tribune) – The Equity Alliance, a statewide non-profit focused on the civic and economic empowerment of the Black community, announced today it has received $350,000 over the next three years to create a new civic leadership training program for Black Tennesseans.

The Equity Alliance was one of 20 organizations chosen nationally to receive a grant from Gilead Sciences, Inc.’s Racial Equity Community Impact Fund. The fund supports high-impact organizations working to tackle racial inequities affecting Black communities across the United States.

The grant recipients include other advocacy groups from across the U.S. as well as leading historically Black colleges and universities, such as Spelman and Morehouse. The fund will initially provide $10 million in grants to the organizations over a three-year period focused on three areas:

  • Community Advocacy and Mobilization: Groups that organize and mobilize communities to join the quest for racial equity and social justice, working toward an equitable distribution of resources for Black communities.
  • Social Justice: Organizations and historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) training the next generation of leaders.
  • Educational Innovation: Institutions focused on providing educational advancement and career development services for Black students, young professionals and families from cradle to career.

The Equity Alliance Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director Charlane Oliver said the funding will allow the organization to expand its work in Tennessee by training the next generation of Black Tennessee civic leaders.

“This grant is a major investment in Black Tennesseans to advance racial equity and expand the electorate. We know that the civic and political landscape is scarce when it comes to finding and hiring Black talent. Developing the next generation of leaders will strengthen the critical infrastructure needed in our state to achieve electoral justice.,” Oliver said.

The Equity Alliance Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director Tequila Johnson said the events of 2020 have helped to create a sense of urgency to spur more civic involvement by the Black community.

“From equal access to healthcare to economic equality and the fight for social justice, the last year has shown Black Americans that there has never been a more crucial time for them to become civically aware and involved,” Johnson said. “Here in Tennessee, we want to raise their awareness about the issues facing Black Tennesseans as well as to understand how they can actively shape policy to better our lives.”

The Equity Alliance’s leadership training program will be the entry point for Black community members who want to lead systemic change on their collective path to liberation and freedom. With a goal of training over 720 participants by 2023, the program will aim to heal, develop, train, educate, and mobilize the next generation of civic leaders and democracy defenders.

The Racial Equity Community Impact Fund is among a number of programs implemented at Gilead in 2020 in the area of social justice. Gilead has also launched the Advancing Black Leadership Strategy, sponsored by the company’s executive leadership team, to deliver on internal inclusion and diversity goals, including increasing the number of Black employees hired and providing advancement opportunities for the company’s existing employees.

In July, the company announced a $1 million partnership with the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at the Morehouse School of Medicine to understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Black communities and to support the creation of a Black Health Equity Alliance composed of national thought leaders, community representatives, scholars, researchers and policymakers. This followed donations to the Entertainment Industry Foundation’s Know Your Rights Camp, Race Forward, the Equal Justice Initiative and Campaign Zero amid the violence against Black communities earlier this year.

“Gilead is committed to creating equitable opportunities for the patients we serve, our employees and the communities in which we live and work,” said Daniel O’Day, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Gilead Sciences. “The Racial Equity Community Impact Fund will provide resources to groups that are working on the frontlines to combat social inequities directly impacting the health and wellness of the Black community. This program is one of the ways that we are delivering on our commitment to promote racial equity and social justice.”

About Gilead Sciences: Gilead Sciences, Inc. (Nasdaq: GILD) is a research-based biopharmaceutical company that discovers, develops and commercializes innovative medicines in areas of unmet medical need. The company strives to transform and simplify care for people with life-threatening illnesses around the world. Gilead has operations in more than 35 countries worldwide, with headquarters in Foster City, California.