Black Philanthropy Month is an invitation for our community to engage in Harambee which means “let’s pull together.” Together, we can have a great impact on our local community and economy. Black Philanthropy Month (“BPM”) was launched in August 2011 by Dr. Jackie Bouvier Copeland and the Pan-African Women’s Philanthropy Network. It is celebrated each August to honor African American cultural heritage, promote economic justice, and empower funding equality. BPM is a global movement with 19 million individual supporters in 60 countries.
Philanthropy is essential for supporting a vibrant and sustainable Black Ecosystem. The theme of this year’s BPM is: “Fierce Equity of Now! From Dream to Action.” This is a reminder of the pressing nature of the social justice challenges of our time while serving as the impetus for change. For each of us, change is within our reach as we invest in our communities.
Our work at Planting People Growing Justice Leadership Institute (“PPGJLI”) supports the development of an ecosystem model that is community-centric and culturally specific. We foster leadership development through a variety of key cultural learning experiences that include community training and teach-ins, video documentaries, and art exhibits. PPGJLI conducts Women Leading Change and youth-oriented initiatives that include STEM leadership and Leaders are Readers programs.
Establishing a Black Ecosystem is essential for access to financial equity, the achievement of economic mobility, and self-sufficiency within the Black community. A strong and successful Black Ecosystem relies on institutional and structural systems, partnerships and collaborations, and resources that address issues of illiteracy, poverty, and unemployment.
A healthy ecosystem model is able to recognize opportunities and utilize creativity to solve problems when adversity and challenges arise. This is critically important in light of the racial disparities experienced in Minnesota across all quality-of-life indicators. The Black poverty rate is 25.4%, which is more than four times higher than the White poverty rate. In addition, Minnesota has consistently ranked at the bottom related to racial disparities in high school graduation rates.
Our local ecosystem is also critical for preserving the history, art, and culture of the African American community. Through PPGJLI leadership programs, people gain the knowledge to change ingrained systems that inhibit Black entrepreneurship, access to funding, wealth creation, and financial security.
Leaders are readers
Jrue and Lauren Holiday are leading change during Black Philanthropy Month. In July 2020, the family decided to invest in the community. They pledged the remainder of Jrue’s 2020 NBA salary as a tool to address systemic racism and eliminate socioeconomic inequities. Through the JLH Fund, they are investing in communities like ours.
At PPGJLI, we are excited to partner with the JLH Fund to have a far greater impact on our community. On Aug. 1, 2022, we launched a fundraising campaign for PPGJLI’s Leaders are Readers program in celebration of Black Philanthropy Month. Jrue and Lauren Holiday are matching donations up to $10K this Black Philanthropy Month. Funds will enable PPGJLI to continue its mission of increasing literacy rates and creating new initiatives. The program introduces our youth to new concepts, reinforces their importance in the world, and encourages them to take their place in leadership roles. With the support of the community, PPGJLI can unlock its JLH Fund matching gift during the month of August.
Making a difference
Today, you can make a difference in your community by planting a seed. You can invest in Black-led nonprofits that are promoting community building. Local examples include:
• Until We Are All Free (criminal justice)
• JK Movement (education)
• Irreducible Grace Foundation (education, youth leadership development)
With each seed planted, we will reap a harvest of equity and justice.
Through her organization, Planting People Growing Justice Leadership Institute, Dr. Artika Tyner seeks to plant seeds of social change through education, training, and community outreach.
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