black equity initiative

Supported by the JIB Fund in 2017, the Black Equity Initiative (BEI) was formed with the goal of  funding Black-led and Black-serving organizations working to confront systemic racism. It has since become a model for community-responsive grant-making for racial justice. 

to address systemic racism targeted toward Black populations in the areas of:  

The BEI has supported a total of 18 Black-led-and-serving organizations in Los Angeles (15) and the Inland Empire (3) since the initiative’s launch. 

Between 2017-2021

BEI organizations have leveraged

million

over

our theory of change

The BEI’s theory of change is centered in the belief that progress on Black equity and racial justice must be part of any forward movement in the United States, and will only be achieved when philanthropic investments, public policies, and institutional practices boldly confront racial injustice. 

education
workforce development
criminal justice reform

$10

With the goal of seeing community-driven change, the BEI, which consisted of coupling philanthropic dollars with designated space for organizations to come together, established a set of strategic approaches that were tracked over time, measuring the initiative’s impact:

01

movement building

Developing networks of individuals and organizations; using the power of collective action to alter the relations of power and enact cultural, economic, and/or political change.

02

 Institutional Racism Systems Change

Building the individual, organizational and collective community resiliency needed to continue pursuing systems change work, confront racial injustice and combat burnout.

03

Communications and Framing of a Black Equity Agenda

Telling the organization’s story in more impactful ways and empowering organizations to more boldly embrace, describe and pursue a vision for Black equity.

04

Organizational Development

Inspiring organizations to become the best versions of themselves through reflection and response, staff development, partner and community engagement.

Black Equity Initiative's actions
Criminal Justice Reform
 
  • Supporting family reunification among Black families impacted by incarceration, providing direct legal representation, community outreach/public education/leadership development, and policy reform

  • Member-led advocacy campaigns to raise awareness of juveniles being tried as adults

  • Developing community informed campaigns to address law enforcement practices, police accountability, and secure greater investments in comprehensive public safety models

  • Establishing cooperatives between formerly incarcerated individuals post-incarceration

  • Implementation of restorative and trauma-informed alternatives to school suspensions/expulsions, juvenile arrests, incarceration, and prosecution

Education

      

  • Increasing culturally relevant and gender-specific sex education opportunities in schools to decrease instances of sexual harassment and school discipline policies

  • Investment in Black youth achievement and college access

  • Public education and advocacy around increasing services and resources for Black families with special needs children

  • Developing civic engagement institutes to address the gap of Black leaders in political appointments, including local education-based advisory committees

  • Changing perception and practice in LA based companies around recruiting and retaining young Black talent

  • Piloting worker’s rights legal clinics and implementing workforce development bootcamps that result in the equitable access and retention of Black workers 

A New Way of Life Re-Entry Project

Anti-Recidivism Coalition

Centinela Youth Services 

Community Coalition

LA CAN (Los Angeles Community Action Network)

Youth Justice Coalition (2017)

Black Women for Wellness

Brotherhood Crusade

BLU Educational Foundation

COPE (Congregations Organized for Prophetic Engagement)

Special Needs Network

Youth Action Project (2017-2018)

Workforce Development

 

  • Increasing diversity and proportional representation of Black workers in emerging sectors

  • Changing perception and practice in LA based companies around recruiting and retaining young Black talent

  • Piloting worker’s rights legal clinics and implementing workforce development bootcamps that result in the equitable access and retention of Black workers 

Collective REMAKE

LeadersUP

LA Black Worker Center

Community Coalition

SCOPE (Strategic Concepts in Organizing Policy and Education)

St. Joseph's Center (2017)

Black Equity Initiative's impact

Program
 

  • Leadership development models implemented that place youth and young adults at the forefront of education and policy campaigns

  • Expanding the reach of programs to include new geographies or groups of individuals served

  • Civic engagement institutes established to support the growth in Black leaders

  • Black student achievement models accepted and implemented in local school districts, that also emphasizes training and development for teachers

  • Partnerships with city departments to establish Local Hire programs, creating access to entry-level positions under- and unemployed individuals

  • Publications produced to inform community and other stakeholders on key issues

  • Community centered living art and education exhibits, and festivals

  • Alternative to incarceration trainings provided to institutional criminal justice agencies, and policies established to prioritize youth diversion services over incarceration

  • Ongoing community informed implementation of a county-wide department to implement criminal justice diversion to persons with mental and/or substance abuse disorders, re-entry support services, and reduced youth involvement with the justice system

Convening and Network Development

  • Convenings strengthen organizational collaboration as they serve as a space for organizational staff—both senior leaders and program staff—to learn with and from each other, build institutional trust, explore programmatic collaboration and engage in collective action. In the convening space:

    • Individual expertise is identified and further leveraged to help implement programs (e.g., provide trainings, speak at events)

    • Partnerships are formed to deepen or expand community outreach

    • Partnerships are formed to raise awareness on key local and statewide campaigns

  • The convening space also revealed that the BEI is not just about collaboration for systems change in workforce, education and criminal justice, but that it is also about reducing economic, political and social isolation through collective civic action. 

As the BEI sunsets in June 2021, its replacement—The Black Equity Collective—will build upon the BEI’s unwavering foundation of racial justice for Black people.