IPA Blog

Celebrating Black Philanthropy Month

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

August is recognized worldwide as #BlackPhilanthropyMonth (BPM), and this year’s theme is: Let’s Make History.

Pan-African Women's Philanthropy Network started BPM in 2011 to invest in Black philanthropic leadership and to strengthen African-American and African-descent giving.

Despite low relative wealth levels, the Black community is known for their generosity and mutuality. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation reported that, on average, African-American households—of all income levels—give 25% more of their income annually to causes and organizations than do white households. Collectively, these households contribute more than $11 billion in annual charitable giving.

Here in Indiana, Indiana Blacks in Philanthropy (IBIP) is connecting leaders and sharing strategies for mobilizing people and investments for Black social change.

At a 2019 meeting, IBIP welcomed Susan Batten, president of Association of Black Foundation Executives (ABFE). When asked by Lilly Family School of Philanthropy’s Dr. Tyrone Freeman about raising the understanding of Black philanthropy, Batton spoke about ABFE’s focus on change, not charity.

“We are pushing for ideas and systems change that can build power in communities,” said Batten. “Our focus is on policy work, civic engagement, political power, narrative change, and leadership development.”

There is much the philanthropic sector can learn from the Black community's spirit of giving, which has held strong throughout history. By supporting and investing in leadership of this work, we can help foster thriving communities where everyone can reach their full potential no matter their race, location, or identity.

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