First Grants Awarded from Black Equity & Excellence Fund

September 29, 2020 – The Community Foundation recently awarded the first round of grants from its newly established Black Equity & Excellence Fund. In June, the Community Foundation announced that it was committing $1 million over the next few years to support Black-led nonprofit organizations and projects that counteract systemic racism. In its first round of funding twelve grants were distributed, totaling $292,695.

“We believe that addressing racial inequities is the first essential step towards reaching our vision for Central New York to be a vibrant community with opportunity for everyone,” said Dashiell Elliott, program officer at the Community Foundation. “Racial equity has always been foundational to our work so we consider this to be an imperative investment in our community and are excited to be granting out our first awards from this fund.”

Black Equity & Excellence is designed to fund projects that encourage self-sufficiency and improve the physical and economic conditions that affect Black community members’ quality of life. It also seeks to encourage dialogue that will strengthen collaborative engagement on race-related matters and support social and educational growth in the community.

The Community Foundation says that it hopes to engage with residents, local foundations, civic leaders and nonprofits who are focused on racial equity to change the narrative in the community.

“The structural racism we see today did not happen on its own – and as a civic leader in the Central New York region, we must use our platform and resources to take action,” said Elliott. “We believe that this positive step forward will help to harness today’s energy – and outrage – by focusing on solutions.”

Going forward, grants from the fund will be decided on multiple times a year by an all-Black advisory council, which is currently being developed.

The Community Foundation recently made the following grants to local nonprofit organizations from the Black Equity & Excellence Fund:

Dunbar Association received $60,000 in operating support to help address the existing racial inequities in health outcomes among African Americans.

Syracuse Community Connections received $53,000 to expand its free therapy sessions for the Black community in partnership with the Marriage and Family Therapy Center at Syracuse University.

Village Birth International received $50,000 to hire Black doulas and purchase materials for Black maternal health community outreach and education.

Juhanna Rogers LLC (Fiscal Sponsor: WCNY) received $40,000 to produce and publicize the second season of the public TV series, “Behind the Woman,” which provides leadership training tips and advice for young women of color.

Community Folk Art Center received $20,000 to host virtual Black-art exhibitions and virtual art classes for the community.

Sankofa N.E.S.T. received $11,850 to launch the Griot Guide Project, which is a culture-centered initiative for Black youth.

The Creators Lounge (Fiscal Sponsor: Syracuse Community Connections) received $11,000 to support its Black-Owned Impact Fund that help generate economic activity in the local Black-owned business community.

Hope 4 Us Training Program (Fiscal Sponsor: Funds for the Environment) received $10,080 to provide workforce training and certification assistance for Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises (MWBE).

PGR Foundation received $10,000 to launch its Back to School Pandemic Preparation Workshop series to encourage COVID-19 safety best practices to its mentees.

Artwork by Jaleel Campbell, LLC (Fiscal Sponsor: Community Folk Art Center) received $10,000 to support its “Feel the Funk Experience” and doll-making workshop to help bring local Black artists and entrepreneurs into the same space to build and grow among one another.

Kilpatrick Media and Marketing (Fiscal Sponsor: Joan Hillsman Music Network) received $9,400 to create a new podcast to elevate Black voices by providing the platform for individuals to share their stories.

Focusing Our Resources for Community Enlightenment received $7,365 to host virtual CPR training and disaster preparedness in the Black community.

Black Equity & Excellence Fund

The Community Foundation’s Black Equity & Excellence Fund was launched in June 2020 in response to the tragedies and ensuing national conversation on race that has brought to light a common truth – that anti-Black racism is still woven into the fabric of the country. The Fund supports community-based projects for the Black community of Central New York that promote and encourage self-sufficiency and improve the physical and economic conditions that affect quality of life. It also encourages dialogue that will strengthen collaborative engagement on race-related matters and support social and educational growth in the community. Learn how to support the fund. 

The Central New York Community Foundation is a public charity established in 1927 that collects contributions from donors, manages them to grow over time and then distributes funding to local charities to help them thrive. It is the largest charitable foundation in Central New York with assets of nearly $260 million and has invested more than $200 million in community improvement projects since its inception. As a grantmaker, civic leader, convener and sponsor of strategic initiatives, the Community Foundation strives to strengthen local nonprofits, encourage better understanding of the region and address the most critical issues of our time.


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