Create a foundation for black philanthropy, researchers urge

Researchers have recommended that charities and donors should work together on creating a foundation for black philanthropy.

A report – jointly published today by the GiveBlack initiative, which encourages philanthropists to support black-led organisations, and University College London – says wealthy black philanthropists remain “largely invisible” to charities, often because they choose to keep a low profile.

It argues that a new foundation is one way to help potential donors work with black-led voluntary organisations and one another.

It could also address funding inequities that force black charity leaders to “jump through more hoops” than their white colleagues to access grants, says the report.

The recommendation comes after campaigners called on mainstream funders to ring-fence funding for black-led voluntary groups, after analysis showed they were missing out on grants from national foundations during Covid-19.

The GiveBlack report says: “This lack of funding forces many black-led organisations to operate with very few members of staff, and often with no dedicated fundraiser, which makes establishing fruitful relationships with funders and donors even more difficult.

“In the face of these challenges, identity-based black giving has the potential to play a crucial role in the ability of such organisations to support black causes.”

The researchers also say: “Britain’s black communities have long been seen primarily as recipients of charitable giving rather than as donors. We believe our collective generosity – if we are able to channel it – has the power to change this narrative for good.”

One recommendation to address this inequity would be to “create a foundation for black philanthropy that will galvanise and support black giving and benefit black communities around the UK”, the report says, adding that this would “allow black donors, charitable/non-profit organisations and recipients to network, share their lived experiences and gain greater understanding of each other”.

The researchers also held interviews and focus groups with several dozen high-net-worth black philanthropists, regular donors and charity leaders.

All of the donors had supported educational causes, while 81 per cent had given money to youth and racial justice charities and 75 per cent had given to arts organisations. They all acted as mentors in addition to their giving.

The report says that, according to some black philanthropists, “fear of losing one’s wealth can act as a self-imposed barrier, preventing some respondents from giving in the way they would like”.

It says: “Some respondents said they cannot help worrying that they might one day lose their wealth, and this fear leads them to exercise a certain degree of caution when considering making a donation”.

In response, the research recommends that fundraisers “should therefore seek to offer reassurance by emphasising that donors are in control of their giving, as well as providing evidence that donors’ money is being well spent and is making a positive impact”.

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