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Field Building in Philanthropy

The Black Equity Collective seeks to fundamentally change the relationship between philanthropy and the Black community. Traditionally, funders have focused on “building capacity” in communities and organizations–a deficit mindset that incorrectly holds organizations responsible for their “lack of capacity.” Not only does this reinforce harmful power dynamics and justify underfunding, it also causes funders to ignore their own capacity-building needs. In truth, philanthropy needs to build a great deal of capacity in order to work effectively and efficiently with Black communities. It is a moral and social imperative for the philanthropic sector to shift from models rooted in ideologies that promote scarcity and patriarchy, power imbalance, individualism, and meritocracies that advantage the well-connected over the community common good to real systemic change and structural transformation needed across the field. We offer the philanthropic community the opportunity to transform with us in partnership to create a new way of being.

Funders Learning Lab

The Black Equity Collective has created a learning space for funders designed to interrogate existing practices and introduce pro-Black, liberatory habits into organizational culture and shift toward new philanthropic practices and language. In the past, the Collective has hosted Learning Labs focused on:

  • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Letter from Birmingham Jail

  • Reparations

  • From “Capacity Building” to Organizational Resiliency

This space is only accessible for Partners of the Collective, individuals or institutional, who have signed our Funder Agreements by :

  1. Publicly acknowledging that racial injustice impedes social progress and that Black people have been historically and disproportionately harmed by racially motivated animus

  2. Making  an institutional commitment to supporting the long-term viability of Black-led organizations

  3. Committing to learning for action in two (2) or more ways

    • Building race-consciousness within themselves and their institution.

    • Improving grant-making practices at an institution-level.

    • Internally tracking philanthropic investments to Black-led and Black-empowering organizations.

    • Leveraging relationships to influence how money moves differently as a field (and toward Black organizations.

    • Using their voice and public platform to speak about systemic harm to Black people and advocate for equity-based investments.


If you are a Funder and interested in partnering with the Collective, please contact: Kaci Patterson, at

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