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Philanthropic Collective Partners to Combat Anti-Blackness & Realize Racial Justice

The McKnight Foundation recently joined the Philanthropic Collective to Combat Anti-Blackness & Realize Racial Justice. This is the press release they issued on July 14, 2020.


The Philanthropic Collective to Combat Anti-Blackness & Realize Racial Justice—a coalition of foundations and philanthropic organizations formed in response to the killing of George Floyd—issued a statement denouncing anti-blackness and racism in Minnesota. Calling for transformation in the field of institutional philanthropy, the collective announced that it will raise $25 million and invites additional funds to invest in a visionary and historic Black-Led Movement Fund.

The collective has a three-part vision for Minnesota philanthropic institutions: (1) invest in the MN Holistic Black-Led Movement Fund; (2) sign on to a bold and courageous joint statement positioning philanthropy’s responsibility in anti-racism work; and (3) join a long-term transformation table to establish and enhance policies, procedures, and practices to address anti-Blackness and work towards racial justice.

The MN Holistic Black-Led Movement Fund is housed at Nexus Community Partners. The Fund seeks additional ongoing investment to harness the power, leadership, and brilliance of Minnesota’s Black communities to invest in innovative solutions across transformational justice, safety, economics, health, and well-being. Additionally, the Fund will sustain the ecosystem of Black-led social change in Minnesota as an effective and intersectional movement that ignites and sustains change to impact additional communities of color and all people. Led by a community participatory grantmaking process, the Fund will deploy resources for both short- and long-term needs guided by a vision to cultivate and to maximize its impact for years to come. The group is working with Black Visions, a Minnesota-based Black-led movement organization to design a process for fund development and disbursement.

“The field of institutional philanthropy has the resources, influence, and positionality as cross-sector connectors, and it has a duty to engage in a deep reckoning to build, yield, and share power in order to elevate the voices of the people most impacted by systemic racism and inequity,” said Lulete Mola, vice president of community impact at the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota and a co-chair of the collective. “This moment calls on philanthropy to take meaningful action in the field to expand the frame on diversity, equity, and inclusion and be boldly steeped in anti-racism and racial justice.”

In its statement, the group urges Minnesota philanthropic institutions to unite their collective power, invest in Black-led racial justice work, and boldly condemn anti-Blackness, anti-Black police violence, and racism experienced by Black people, Native people, and all people of color. The statement asks philanthropy to center Black voices, knowledge, and activism in this pursuit of transformation as it drives toward meaningful change.

“We acknowledge the field has flaws. Philanthropy can be associated with social and political change in this country, but it can also be linked to a long history of inequities and trauma in Black, Indigenous, and communities of color. With this collective, we ask, ‘How much greater can philanthropy be?’ Can we transform into practitioners who hold the field of philanthropy to a higher charge, acknowledging that real racial justice calls for balanced social, political, and economic power? Philanthropy needs to be willing to step out and take meaningful action to change systems, practices, and policies within organizations, the field, and society,” said Repa Mekha, president and CEO at Nexus Community Partners, and a co-chair of the collective, along with Chanda Smith Baker, senior vice president of community impact at the Minneapolis Foundation.

Join the philanthropic commitment for racial justice at: MNPhilanthropicCollective.org

The Philanthropic Collective to Combat Anti-Blackness & Realize Racial Justice is a growing partnership of the following:

  • Blandin Foundation
  • Bush Foundation
  • Frey Foundation MN
  • GHR Foundation
  • Give MN
  • Heading Home Minnesota Funders Collaborative
  • Headwaters Foundation for Justice
  • Knight Foundation
  • McKnight Foundation
  • The Minneapolis Foundation
  • Minnesota Council on Foundations
  • Mortenson Family Foundation
  • Nexus Community Partners
  • Northwest Area Foundation
  • The Northwest Minnesota Foundation
  • Otto Bremer Trust
  • P Fund
  • Pohlad Family Foundation
  • Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation
  • Sheltering Arms Foundation
  • Target Foundation
  • Tiwahe Foundation
  • Voqal
  • Women’s Foundation of Minnesota

About the Philanthropic Collective to Combat Anti-Blackness & Realize Racial Justice

As philanthropic organizations in Minnesota, our collective goal is to seed a long-term vision for systems change to advance racial justice. We harness the power, leadership, and brilliance of Minnesota’s Black communities to invest in innovative solutions across transformational justice, safety, economics, health, and well-being. The collective will actualize bold, visionary action to follow the voices and direction of people most impacted and invest our abundance of resources to change systems and realize racial justice.

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Topic: Diversity Equity & Inclusion

July 2020

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