IE Funders Alliance Announces Launch of Black Equity Fund

By Black Voice News |

$5 million fundraising goal and an innovative model of philanthropy

Thanks to the long-standing leadership of Black-led organizations and the power of the cross-racial coalitions they have built, we are seeing tremendous advancements in racial equity in the United States and globally. Countless government agencies, corporations, and foundations have, in a matter of weeks, redoubled their commitments to racial equity and combating anti-Black racism.

Continuing in that tradition, the Inland Empire Funders Alliance (IEFA) is proud to partner with the Black Equity Initiative of the Inland Empire in launching the Black Equity Fund—a regional pooled fund with a preliminary goal of raising $5 million over two years and updated thereafter to support long-term investments in Black-led organizations. The Black Equity Fund is being seeded with investments from The California Endowment and the Inland Empire Community Foundation, and has already garnered interest from several foundations and private donors.

The IE Black Equity Fund is the first known regional pooled fund on Black equity that brings together statewide, regional and local funders as well as private donors and corporate philanthropy, working in partnership with leaders of the Inland Empire Black Equity Initiative to advance their priority issues. 

An important innovation of the IE Black Equity Fund is to follow the guiding principles of the Trust-Based Philanthropy Project, which recognizes “the inherent power imbalance between foundations and nonprofits” and approaches grantee relationships “from a place of trust, humility and transparency.” Partners in the regional fund pledge to: 1) give multi-year, unrestricted funding; 2) center IE Black Equity Initiative leaders in decision-making; 3) simplify and streamline paperwork; 4) be transparent and responsive; and 5) offer support beyond the check by participating in peer learning with IE Black Equity Initiative leaders to improve Black equity in funders’ overall grantmaking practice.

Organizers of the Black Equity Fund—including the Inland Empire Funders Alliance, IE Black Equity Initiative, Inland Empire Community Foundation, and the Center for Social Innovation—noted the importance of seizing the moment, and doing so in a way that fundamentally alters power relationships in philanthropy and empowers Black community leaders as much as possible.

Finally, the Center for Social Innovation led by Professor Karthick Ramakrishnan at UC Riverside is a strategic data partner to both the Black Equity Initiative and the Black Equity Fund. It will provide research support to help motivate, inform, and learn from philanthropic investments in Black-led organizations in the Inland Empire. “The Inland Empire is a center of innovation when it comes to advancing racial equity,” Ramakrishnan noted. “Our communities have come together in even more powerful ways after COVID-19 than they did previously, and we are grateful that our data and narrative work can help strengthen regional investments and support the leadership of Black equity organizations in the region.”