Just Economy Conference, May 7, 2021
The biggest key to nonprofit growth and expansion is access to low-interest capital. Black-led nonprofits have additional hurdles in accessing the necessary capital to expand their mission. To help eliminate some of the barriers, Urban Land Conservancy (ULC), a Denver-based nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving, developing, stewarding and managing permanently affordable housing and shared office space for nonprofits and mission-minded organizations, partnered with The Denver Foundation to provide low-interest loans to local Black-led/-serving nonprofits in conjunction with the Foundation’s Black Resilience in Colorado Fund (BRIC), which offers grants to Black-led/-serving organization in Metro Denver. Representatives from both organizations will share more about the collective impact they anticipate from this collaboration. This session will also highlight some of the historic and modern-day (some one-and-the-same) barriers to capital expansion for Black-led/serving organizations and detail solutions to change this reality.
- Erin Clark, VP of Master Site Development, Urban Land Conservancy Colorado
- LaDawn Sullivan, Director of the BRIC Fund, The Denver Foundation Colorado
- Athan Lindsay, Director, Community Philanthropy Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro North Carolina
- Mark Marshall, VP of Real Estate Development Rocky mountains Communities Colorado
NCRC video transcripts are produced by a third-party transcription service and may contain errors. They are lightly edited for style and clarity.
Thank you all so much for joining us today we’re very excited to have a panel discussion about creating equitable access to capital for black LED and serving nonprofits. My name is Erin Clark. And I will be the emcee. For this panel. today. I serve as Vice President of master site development for a nonprofit real estate organization in Denver, Colorado called Urban Land Conservancy, or you will see, and your panelists today will be LaDawn Sullivan, who is the director of the brook Fund, which stands for black resilience in Colorado. And she is with the Denver Foundation, also here in Colorado. We will also have them following well, Don will be Mark Marshall, speaking on the brick loan program here in the state of Colorado. He is recently formerly my colleague from USC, and is now vice president of real estate development for another statewide nonprofit, Rocky Mountain communities. And finally, we’re going to hear from the other side of the nation in North Carolina from Ethan Lindsay, who is Director of Community philanthropy, with the community foundation of greater Greensboro, and he’ll be speaking to us about the big equity fund. Big is another acronym standing for black investments in Greensboro. So we’re very excited about this. And with that, I’d like to start kicking us off with talking about kind of the why, the what and the why. And then our panelists will speak more to the why and the how of addressing what we’re calling a given gap. So I think a lot of us understand that there is a major funding gap between black led organizations and white LED organizations in terms of funding that they receive. And it’s, it’s quite alarming. We have results from a recent study that showed that out of more than 140 nonprofit organizations, white LED groups had budgets that were a full 24% larger than those for organizations, led by people of color. And when we look at the why, and we’ll see this through our panel discussion today, a lot of that we can point to just lack of connections and relationships, that we’re just not really speaking to each other across racial lines. And that and that the predominant funders are white LED or and really have existing relationships with leaders of white organizations, and we want to really help really need to address that discrepancy. Also, this really speaks to a systemic problem, just discrimination and racial biases in in the processes in the first place. And some of that also speaks to why we don’t have those relationships that we need to connect dollars and, and services and programs. We have some other data from the National Committee for Responsive philanthropy, showing that there’s just an continued under investment for the making of grants in black communities altogether. Only 1% of grant making from the 25 foundations that were surveyed here were specifically designated for black communities. Even though within those areas, they had high populations of black people. So again, Why do we have this disconnect? How can we help bridge this gap? And one of the things for the How is to be able to, to address these hurdles. And and we’re looking, what we’re going to see today is some recent efforts, again, both here in Colorado and in North Carolina, to try to bridge this gap to create more equitable access to capital, the importance of having access to low interest capital for black led nonprofits, to be able to serve our communities. So with that, I’m going to turn things over to LaDawn Sullivan, to speak about black resilience in Colorado or the brick fund.
Thank you, Erin. And I’m so happy to be here today to share what has been a nine month journey. But I would say more so a lifetime journey in addressing the inequities that our black communities experience. So the black resilience in Colorado fund actually receded over seven years ago. But we unfortunately never had the kind of the right. Energy, the right recipe. And it took basically two pandemics, the covid 19 pandemic, and the escalation. And I would say, the parallelisation, of the paralysis of ESCO, escalated racial injustice that literally was on all of our TV screens and our phones of the George Floyd murder. And so what really came to light at the dinner Foundation was the clear clarion call that black LED and serving nonprofits were exacerbated by the historical under resourcing. And in the time of these tune pandemics, the black community, as typical comes to the organizations and the and those connections in their own community, because everyone went in trouble, you go to those you trust. And so when we’re seeing black organizations being stretched to 300% increase in the amount of folks that they were trying to serve, with still very paltry resources available to them. This was kind of as I said, the perfect disaster recipe for a brick to be formed. Brick was established on June 23, June 20, of 2020. Our initial goal was to raise one and a half million dollars and mobilize $1 million to black women serving nonprofit organizations. And if he’s the black come the black nonprofit organizations that we were looking to support, we’re across the seven county Metro Denver area, which is where a significant majority of the black population reside in Colorado. And that these resources, of course, were meant to be supportive of these critical organizations and institutions within the black community. But also that these resources would help the black community shift from surviving to thriving. And when I use that language, I’m really talking about addressing systemic racism, and what that looks like and organically under the under the leadership of black community. And so the folks who are in leadership of the black resilience and Colorado fund are black leaders from a very diverse economic lived experience, geographic, demographic, eclectic mix of folks who really are in need of this work. And this, the the dollars that have been raised and the resources that we’ve been able to gather, in this very short nine months, have created opportunities for us to leverage the existing assets in the community. What we do recognize for brick, yes, of course, raising financial cash resources is important, but true to the history and culture of the black community. We know that we live within the five T’s of time, talent, treasure, testimony, and social ties, all those things are important for the progress of our people. And it’s intrinsically built into our DNA of who we are in our in our village mentality for progress, that we’re that through a brick rebuilding organizational capacity for nonprofits and for nonprofit leaders in the black community for them to fully to be able to fully live into their leadership, as well as for the organizations to be at a capacity in which they can truly serve the community as they desire. And then, again, in times of crisis, which we have experienced, all of us have experienced over this last year plus, most directly to have those resources in times of crisis. What I like to say about brick is that we are not an or we aren’t. And our expectation is that white, white LED for funding institutions understand they still are called they are accountable to play a significant role and resourcing communities who have been in put in vulnerable positions because of systemic racial racism and oppression. But brick is an and meaning we are an additional resource for buy in with our own people. And that’s, that is critical to why we’re here and why we look to be a perpetual resource in the black community. So in slide, in our first nine months, we’ve received just over $2 million in contributions, we have received in within two grant cycles, over 120 applications. And we have distributed just over a million dollars. And we have about 61, black wedding serving nonprofits who have received those grants. We also, so as I said before, that’s, that is the treasure piece, the financial piece that has been mobilized. But we’re also talking about how we elevate time and talent, and how we think about our social networks and use our voice. And we’ve done that, through our capacity building work, we have a program that is now going into its 10th year that is now a part of the breakfast. And that’s our executive directors of color Institute, in which we have about 120 alumni, and we have 33 participants in this year’s class. And they’re building their individual leadership as EDS of color. And they’re building the capacity of their organizations, internal operations, and what so they have they as a two year program in which they participate in eight sessions per year. But they also have access to mentoring to small leader, small professional development grants, as well as opportunities to share learn amongst themselves, the fundamentals of of what is important to have strong infrastructures for their organization, but also what it means to be an individual leader. And that is having, you know, enhancing your skill set on a community engagement and delegation, but also self care. Because what we know particularly for leaders of color, this is not something you get to turn off at five o’clock, you you are definitely a part of the landscape as a person of color, a leader of color, 24, seven, and so that’s something that we that is a strong part of what is built into the sessions and curriculum for that program. We also in the last year through COVID, and all virtual, have engaged 10, white LED and 10 black, indigenous and people of color led organizations to develop and strengthen and institutionalize their nonprofits, internal racial equity and inclusion policies and practices. We have provided small grants to these 20 organizations. But we’ve also created a cohort in which they live, learn and share together by meeting every other month, as well as connecting connecting them to other resources such as consultants, and or national or regional peers who have done who have experienced and lived in the work. This program had this each organization set one goal for the organization to move forward. And I will say as of their presentations yesterday, they have all gone past their original goal and really stepped into racial equity practices and policies with clear intention, not just on the staff level, but on their board level that this is being institutionalized and put into it put on paper, like built into their bylaws built into the ways in which they work by their board by their staff. And they’re testing it and holding themselves accountable by checking with their constituencies. And so we’re really excited about this work in it but as I said it is only just now wrapping its first year. And then we’re also elevating conversations In regards to the power of black giving, and black community progress and power, this is something as my colleague, who’s also on the panel eighth, and Lindsey, we’ve been living in this work for over 20 years. And understanding, and I would say bringing understanding, not just to our white colleagues in the philanthropic field, but more so in our communities, about the power of black giving, that it lives, as I said, before, it has historically and culturally lived in our DNA. For forever, it’s how we mobilize and operate despite or in spite of obstacles that are put in put in our way because of racism and systemic oppression. But it’s also the collective power of how we give. So when we’re talking about, you know, each one of us bringing something to the table and collectively pulling it together to make change, to make change in our community, the change that we would like to see, and building on existing assets. And those are not just financial, but again, the things that we hold true and dear to what it means to be black, and how we mobilize as a unit and, and progress in spite of obstacles in our way. And then lastly, and most recently, we have launched the BRIC loan program in partnership with the Urban Land Conservancy, and my my partner and loans. Mark Marshall is going to speak about that.
Thank you, Don. as Erin Clark mentioned a moment ago, as we say, around Ulc era. And we, along with our president, former president Well, I’m formerly a Ulc or as of today, two months ago, I joined Rocky Mountain communities and my former president and current Ulc president air mirror pole, Aaron and I were having a discussion leading discussions you’ll see about how we can play a part in contributing in what was clearly an unlevel playing field up just a little background on you, I’ll see you all sees a nonprofit located in Denver it manages develops preserves and stewards affordable apartment buildings are affordable housing, nonprofit office space and community spaces for for communities with lower income residents and and we’re mission based organization. And I’ll continue to say we because I’m gonna have a lot of us he’s always gonna be part of who I am. So excuse the we in the presentation. So in addition to being meant mission oriented, you all see is also got a bent towards social justice. And as the conversations were coming up about the unlevel playing field, one of the major hurdles we recognize that exists was that a lot of times the ability that organizations nonprofits have to expand is based on access to capital and low in interest capital, and we started the conversation How can we get these funds available in out to these nonprofit groups here, specifically black lead prop nonprofits here, black lead and black serving groups. So we started the conversation with the Denver Foundation, then foundation and new LLC have long ties and roots LLC, that originally a supporting member of the Denver foundation and we wanted to see you know, what can we do now, to get a get a loan program in place to address some of these issues. And a recent study from the US Department of the Chamber of Commerce here, it was found that minority owned organizations and businesses generally forego applying for loans and the main reasons it is a fear rejection. And there is also that’s fear is founded because minority owned organizations are less likely to receive loans when they do apply, and when they apply and are granted have approved for loans. These loans generally come at a high interest rate then with other businesses and compared to non minority counterparts. Okay, on the next slide, please. The BRIC fund and through this Ulc partnership. We have an investment in we could continue to be we Ulc has an investment With the Denver foundation for up to $150,000. And what we have focused on is being able to support black lead and black serving 501 c threes with low interest loans and the program is around a $250,000 nonprofit loan program. The terms of this loan, it’s a one to five year term on the loan here, the loans are either at 1%. For loans that are less than two years, the interest rates one and a half percent for loans greater than two, two years, and the maximum is 10,000 to $50,000. Here on the principal on these loans. And because you all see focuses on real estate, one of the things that focus of the portion of this loan is around capital improvements of the real estate as well as the acquisition of equipment to support the businesses and the real property of these nonprofit groups. Next, please, we decided we’re going to focus on five pillar areas health housing, job retention and transition, racial justice and youth. COVID has shone a bright light on the inequities that exist in lower income and black neighborhoods, specifically, especially around health, we saw that large number of black communities were disproportionately contact contracting, contacting the COVID virus as well as the deaths the death rate and contact among black people were higher than the general population. So the bridge loan funds are focused around our racial trauma that’s happened here, the organizations that address that there’s a lot of mental health issues that exists that need to be addressed across the board. So we know that’s an issue, infant Mother, mother mortality rate, uninsured and insured under insured and uninsured individuals here, Medicaid eligible personnel and cover related losses of benefits as it relates to health. On the housing side, once again, before the pandemic, Denver and the state of Colorado was in a housing crisis in an affordable housing prices. This was exacerbated by the COVID virus here. And we’ve seen a number of cases of displacement that’s happening, involuntary displacement gentrification and neighborhoods. So we want to be able to support renders and prevent some of the displacement that’s happening and work with people who are experiencing homelessness, especially our people lower income population here in Denver, but it is, and across the state of Colorado, but it is imperative that we have funding available to support the organizations that are meeting the needs of this population, on the job retention and job training. These all, there’s nothing on this list that COVID does not touch. In this area, there are many jobs that are out there, that will not be coming back. So what we want to do is use some of these funding for training and retraining people and giving people an access to living wage jobs. Right now, there are a lot of people in the community who are in service jobs and not able to afford the increasing rents that are happening in this market specifically. But to the extent that we can provide services or dollars for these services and programming that’s playing a big part in in reaching our goals here. The racial justice, as everyone knows, from the recent George floor case here, this is an issue in America, we cannot escape it. So we have to face with what kind of what kind of measures can we take. We need to support those organizations that are doing the community organizing, they’re doing the advocacy work, the law of policy reform, policy reform is a huge part of making the changes that we need in the long term to prevent the types of scenarios where we’re watching a video on a every day basis here of some of the racial and justices that are happening in the country. And finally, were putting funding toward organizations that serve youth. These are loose youth organizing and youth led organizations. And one of the things we know, to be able to advance the the community, our black population is we’ve got to provide better access for for kids, from education, through housing, access to good food, fresh food here, these all tie into what we’re doing with the brick alone. And we know that by focusing on these five pillars, we can have a tremendous impact in in Colorado. So thank you. And with that, I will turn it over to our next presenter, Ethan Lindsey.
You think after all these zoom meetings, you remember to hit the unmute button, but it’s always got to be one. And I guess I’m that one today. Thank you, Mark, and LaDawn. And Aaron, I’m glad to be here with everyone and representing the Community Foundation of greater Greensboro. But more importantly, the big equity fund, as we like to call it, but it’s, as you can see, black investments in Greensboro. And this is a initiative of the Community Foundation of greater Greensboro. Sometimes we see that word initiative, and we think it’s short term. But big is actually now been, it’s going to be institutionalize, and I’ll tell a little bit more about that story. We get advance, please. I’m usually the objective, I like to talk about when we’re in presenting big, you can see the big it. The acronyms are kind of the theme here. But it’s built on the three E’s that I’ve developed over my career, when I’m talking about big equity, they’re important because this is actually how we got to this point. I usually call it the expose, engage in educate. So with big we want to broaden, you know, exposure to the opportunity for people to be a part of big but but, but also be connected with the Community Foundation, and an opportunity for people to be donors. So we think, increase people’s understanding of big and the evolution. And that leads to obviously, engagement and what we like for people to become donors and champions for big. But as we go forward and Aaron, I can give you some time to tee this up. But I think as I get deeper into it, I like to share with you a video that we’re very proud of and thanks to our partner, first bank or local bank, they actually provided the resources to for this a great video that’s been produced, that I’ll be quiet and let you view.
Greensboro is a very caring community. Greensboro is a great community to raise a family are very well known for education for NCA and T, Guilford, UNCG, Greensboro college, Bennett College GTCC, Greensboro is, you know, plays with a lot of diversity. So community that I love, one of the things that became obvious to me early on is that I really wanted to help Greensboro be as great as it can be, we really are going through a period of change. And I think that there’s a big question as to what the identity of Greensboro is going to be going forward. The idea is to create a corpus of capital that will then be infused back into the black community and help dismantle socio economic disparity. Greensboro, like a lot of communities still has a lot of social segregation. So even though I’ve grown up here, there is a lot that I’m not familiar with in the community, a lot that I don’t know about the community. And that is a huge part of why I’m a donor to the big equity fund. The big equity fund is a permanent damage at the Community Foundation of greater Greensboro and it is the result of a group of black leaders and black donors coming together and sharing a common vision that we want to make life better for those in the black community here. And so we’ve identified three priorities initially, that we want to focus. One is on health disparities. Our second priority is related to education and the digital divide. And then the third issue that we’ve identified is small business ownership. There have been black entrepreneurs in our community for years, or recently, anyone who has a business needs to know how to do digital marketing, to sustain their business to grow their business. So we want to be able to provide those support services to black businesses so that they continue to grow, we need to be able to put financial resources into the game to be able to level the playing field, so that little kids that live in Greensboro have an opportunity to become educated and have good health and actually achieve their best lives as opposed to fighting to survive. We want to partner with existing organizations to collectively bring other black organizations together to figure out how we can have a more collective approach as opposed to a siloed approach to getting the work done. We feel this is an opportunity for donors of color, and specifically with the big equity fund, the black community to come together and say, Yes, we have resources. And yes, we want to use our influential capital, our repetitional capital, our social capital, our financial capital, intellectual capital, to solve the issues in Greensboro. We want the big equity fund to pull the entire community foundation along so that everyone is aligned on this mission, what I want to see is an enduring fund an institution in Greensboro that will never go away, that people will love and continue to contribute to Greensboro as being better than it’s ever been. If everybody can contribute to the greater good, but we need to start someplace. And so we throw in the gala down now here in Greensboro to try to start moving in the right direction.
Thank you, Aaron. I never grow tired of watching a video. It’s pretty powerful and moving. makes my job easier. But it also it gives life to the words that you see here on the screen. I’d like to take folks taking the time to read those for yourself. But I want to talk briefly about the three principles. In the video you saw leading off me Doug was the chair. You saw Sam Cohn, who’s a big supporter donor, but a member of the CF GG. Board of Directors and Dr. Henry Hank Smith, who we call Dr. Big Love. Because he really is kind of the soul of it. And He always talks about it, that this is a heart condition. And literally for him. He’s a cardiologist by training, but he’s forgotten so excited about begun. And we start off with that as a conversation starter. Because all those folks involved our donors. But clearly, we’re very clear and intentional, about big, it’s been black initiated, black funded, and black lead. But we also have people who like samko, who are supporters and believers in pay. And big equity, you see down the vision is to become an economic philanthropic powerhouse to transform educational health and the well being of black community. Our mission to pool resources, leverage capital to break down systems that result in socio economic disparities in the black community. Our values accountability, adaptive, collaborative, legacy, transformational. These are words again, those interviews, just give life to these words. But more importantly, the This work was done by a committee, initially of group of volunteers who met for the first time on February 28. And then continued to do this work throughout the pandemic, which literally we were two weeks before, everything shut down. But we just continue going forward with this kit, go to the next slide. And it’s important all of our steering committee members, as Don has talked about taking seven years for brick to come into existence. This has been worked It’s been nearly 20 years for me, but we started at the Community Foundation with His work in 2015 as a part of our expanded community giving work. But you see here on our chronology 2018 is actually the first time we brought a group of influential black donors and leaders together for a small dinner was during black philanthropy month, we had a guest speaker, a mentor of mine, Mayor Otis Johnson from Savannah, we may we kind of test it, the idea of the group came back and said, let’s do something collectively around philanthropy on a tradition. But we were real clear that we weren’t doing anything new, we were really recognizing that there was a black philanthropic, legacy black donors in Greensboro, like any other place, but we will be the first to admit at our institution, that we just never had an opportunity to be very intentional, to focus on black donors and getting them to utilize the Community Foundation as a tool. And that’s been really important. That big equity fund is, is established as an endowed fund at the Community Foundation. If you go forward in 2019, we continue to explore and had dinners. By December of 2019, we actually had our first gifts, the gifts made too big to big equity fund, what was then we were calling a black strategic endowment, but it became known as the big equity fund. throughout the winter, we had a quiet, silent campaign, but it was probably the loudest silent campaign ever. And part of that we talked about being black initiated, and black funded. One of the things that I held fat steadfast on was that the first 250,000 of this fund needed to come from black donors, that was very important, not only symbolically but for posterity. But also this was a time for us to really, really send a message that we wanted to show that it was out there. But more importantly, we were trying to expand the narrative and change the narrative of oftentimes who we think is a philanthropist and who’s capable isn’t. Most of folks never see themselves and they think that philanthropy is only for wealthy white people. But this is really important, but also for posterity stake. I say this all the time. No one can ever say that this was not black initiate it because in order to start the endowment fund, at our foundation, it starts at 250. And we had that as that commitment. Continuing on through what became 2020. We all know what happened there. But we continue to work on this work and thanks to support from Kellogg Foundation, as part of a cohort, Don and are, are part of the catalyzing community giving, we were able to continue working with a coach Lynette Gilbert. But more importantly, you also employed a strategic communications coach, Nicole Merritt, who has helped us refine our message that was particular to the audiences that we wanted to work with, but also bring some additional capacity for me. But we continue through that, continue raising funds, and then of August 2020, despite this pandemic, and then things only accelerated after the social justice, movement and the murder of George Floyd. But we’d like to point out that we had actually started this work before. So it wasn’t a reaction, so to speak, I really accelerated our efforts. And we saw the need, even as Mark mentioned the pandemic, or bear to the disparities in the inequities that we we knew were there intuitively, but it really became into light in our communities in other places, but also something happened in August of 20 to 2020, where we came out again, and for publicly kind of said that, yes, this is what’s going on with big equity, made an announcement during black philanthropy month. We’ve made Douglas and one of our board chairs, but also it was a very significant commitment by the community foundation of greater Greensboro first time they had ever done anything like this committed 250,000 to match what was raised by the black donors and to really what I like to say, to be about the talk that at that time, everybody was talking about what we’re going to do after George Foy. Well, this was an opportunity for us to step up and lean into it. But also in under under It played out something that I had talked to many donors about that. It’s this is also about leverage and as donors when you come in as donors, and that’s leverage and power, and institutions respond to that. And we’re really clear about this, this is very unique and distinct that we weren’t coming to the foundation for a grant, we were coming to the foundation with an opportunity to leverage the wealth that was already there. That’s key that shows black power, but does expands the narrative of what was going on. That’s what you know, that’s investment. But it was is black people leading with their their dollars. And going in something always say that you can talk all you want about equity, whatnot. But if you don’t have representation, and you come in, and with a clear understanding that you’re about investment, it changes the conversation. So those dollars as donors was representation, and it created an opportunity to have a different conversation, Community Foundation of great Greensboro has never done anything like this in its 3030 plus year history. Fast forward. Last thing I’ll share about this, what also happened kind of up to date, in a span of six months, in through a pandemic, in February 20. In our announcement for Black History Month, we had reached an important milestone, a million dollars raised towards a $3 million campaign. And we talked about the differences. We’re big equity, different models, unlike brick, we’ve made the choice our steering committees made the choice to focus on a $3 million endowment before there any investments made. That’s just decision that they made. People want to do. But $3 million. Fast forward. And I hope the chronology gives people a sense about the evolution. This is the fundraising progress. Today, we’ve reached over 30% of our goal towards the 3 million. It’s pretty self explanatory there, move forward. Luzerne y support bag. This is something that we say here, but also for other efforts in your community, when you contribute to efforts like brick, but also big. Something I like to say you contribute to these because you believe in the possibilities to strengthen community giving, particularly collectively. And I like to say that, again. For us big donors, we’ve had people make contributions as small as $10. We’ve had people sent in a money order for those of you who familiar with the money order. Yeah, that’s pretty much I know who those folks are. Those are my kin folks. And you know, it takes a lot of effort and energy to go and send in a money order to a foundation. But that’s really important. And that shows the diversity and recognizing the donors. And the capacity that’s out there, we have that range from those people will use a money order. So those folks who are making six figure gift commitments out of their Donor Advised funds. So that strengthen in the community giving and that’s what we mean by that. Mark, you know that you know, those money orders that that’s a lot of work. To do that that’s commitment. But this is also imagining black philanthropy, and expanding that narrative. But also, you may, you heard me, Douglas mentioned, one of the things we want to focus on is fostering strategic alliances for leverage. And that’s what we’re talking about the traditional organizations, black civic organizations, black leading organizations. Often we work in silos, and what we’re talking about with big is that we want to be we don’t want people to not keep doing what they’re already supporting. But when it’s coming into the Community Foundation, and having something like big, what we’re thinking about, and what we envision is that big will be something that’s adaptive, and that when we’re looking down down the road, and we call it passing gear philanthropy, we don’t know what’s going to be the need in 20 years. But this is exactly what we see people always being able to come together and big could be on the forefront of leading an effort say we need a medical clinic or what have you. But also we want to highlight big is about replacing disparities by elevating equity. And we can go through I got the signal there we need to advance. Real quickly here. Big. This is making a case we have three focus areas initially. They’re going to be focused on how Have the digital divide, but also businesses, when we’re dealing with black community, the disparities, we said you can reach in a bag. And it doesn’t matter where you focus on. The disparities are there. But it’s really important. And I kind of lead into this Mr. previous comments on the slide, we really want to focus to show that we’re not going to be narrowly focus, this is what needs to be adaptive. And this just happens to be the things we do focus areas for that once we get to 3 million that we want to look at. And this is pretty much influenced by a pandemic. And we can move forward. How big works, I’ve talked about that. But it’s the partnership with the Community Foundation, leveraging the expertise for someone like myself and Ladawn. At the Denver you have staff there to work with. But it’s also been leveraging with other donors who have an affinity in connection with the big, the big, big equity mission. And when I say other donors, yes, that means we have white donors who are supporting this effort. And some some have said, this resonates with my values. And particularly in this time, where people are confused, and they don’t know what to support. Big was something great. They knew the Community Foundation, but this and they saw this and it made sense. And it was an opportunity. And we see it as bridge building. For please. Big I won’t get into the details of this. But this is basically about the steering committee. This is volunteer, it’s a steering committee of 12 are currently right now with willing to go to 15. They are doing the governance and really going to be responsible for determining determine first grant cycle. We’re doing this collectively. But this isn’t danos history, right? This This isn’t quite like its collective giving. But it isn’t a giving circle. But it’s more modeled after other strategic endowments. So you can imagine, as we go forward this type of work, we want it to be strategic, but it falls right in line with their other like, we have a women’s specific Fund, which has different governance structures, but leadership and participation by members. But this is what we want to focus on. We want to have a more centralized governance group that makes the decisions about big, but it is an asset that is part of the community foundation. way I encourage you all to go out and Google big, but here’s what some others are saying our local media has really, really caught on to this and the energy has been great. It’s mobilize other people donors to where we have 112 donors to date. But I like this tell folks, please. This demonstrated that they’re there that there’s people were ready for this. Please, advance, Aaron, thank you. This is just our steering committee members. We like to show this may be you may know some of these people may not. But what we like for folks to do is focus on the diversity across sectors that we’ve brought together with that steering committee. We have entrepreneurs owner of a subway franchise owner, a general contractor, banker representing finance, retired executive and donor, legal entertainment, entrepreneur. I’m also Dr. Hank, you heard about Kendrick Mays works for the city. And we have faith represented and we have two non sees a nonprofit executives really highlight this just to show for our local community people that are no but more importantly, the diversity and the segments were ourselves so we can have that multidisciplinary approach. Because we are going to be dealing with a lot of broad things. Big, close with that. I hope when people see this logo, there’s a story behind it. We work with a graphic artists when she came back with this design. And when I saw those features, those beautiful wide nose distinctive lips. I said that’s it. And she said Are you sure? I said what do you mean? She said, Well, some people might think that this is too but I said we’re better be because that’s what this is about. But really, we think this logo xe that’s what got us started and energized. And, and just also without a doubt. When you see that logo, you know, this is who we’re talking about who this is for, but more importantly, who’s initiated this and who’s been leading the effort to fund this
so Thank you so much LaDawn and Mark, and Ethan, this is really exciting work you’re all doing. And as you were talking, I was thinking, you know, how I often try to, I often say, don’t talk about it be about it. And that’s really what Athan was speaking to at the end, there, too, is just that, you know, we’ve identified the problem, you put on years of work, and now it’s really bearing fruit and, and seeking to really repair our communities and, and help to, to address those gaps ourselves. And so I think that’s so important. And with that, I think we’ll turn things over to a question and answer, period. And thank you so much for listening to this presentation.
Good afternoon, everyone.
Thank you all. So we’re happy to have you all here. And I’m just trying to see I haven’t seen any specific, actually. So just going through, we’ve been looking through the comments. And thank you all so much, again, for being here. And for this presentation, we have had some questions, just some logistics, things about the access to the slides, that is something that through ncrc, the slides that you saw today will be available, and will be distributed. So we’ll make sure that they have updated information, including contact information. Also, within the comment stream here, believe we’ve shared the web addresses for the brick fund and for big, and so and off to the video that was shown here. So hopefully, you all have seen that and have access to that as well. So with that, I’m not seeing any other questions. So I just want to kind of go back to our panelists in the few minutes that we have here just to ask if there was anything else that, you know, now that we’ve, you know, gone through this, and you’ve been able to and we’ve been hearing from each other’s programs, just you know, any additional information about kind of how these, how these programs are coming together, or kind of similarities and differences between them and and how we can kind of build out a bigger ecosystem across the country for these types of efforts.
So I’ll just I will say, so somebody asked something about resources in the Seattle area. So just want to say that there are other similar funds that are emerging, I know several will be launching on June T, that seems to be March day for these type of funds to be launched out our community. And at least for the brick fund, we’re so for those if you know of like initiatives or funds, please send them my way, because one of the things that we want to do is make sure that we are networked together and Ethan and I have been talking about this about how we bring you similar funds together. So that we can share and learn from each other so that we can actually think about even a larger leveraging strategy, across funds, we know that they’ll be unique to their own local landscape or the landscape that they’re serving. But there are some, we know that there’ll be some similarities and things that we can learn to learn from each other. One of the other things I’ll say too, and just kind of in thinking about the big equity fund and brick is that I believe in eighth and please chime up if I’m speaking out of turn, the big equity fund is, is taking a very intentional strategic approach and how they’re raising their funds to build an endowment to to then strategically invest those dollars. While brick is more like we’re building the plane while we’re flying it. And so we’re mobilizing dollars and raising dollars and incorporating other parts of what brick is becoming kind of, I don’t want to say on the fly cuz it makes it sound like we’re not doing our homework. But in some ways, kind of as we’re as we’re building and growing at the same time it but also trying to establish roots. So, um, and that’s probably going to be we’ll have they’ll be Other funds that are very similar to eight to the fund that Nathan is leading in the breakfast? So.
Yeah, I concur with an agree with you. Well, Don, you You said that correct. just pointing back to people, you know, your local landscape better than any of us, and particularly your local institutions. What, what makes sense? And really, what I’d say the common denominator is that it’s for black communities by black communities. So you start there can’t go wrong.
And as we noted, when we share out the PowerPoint following that, that will include contact information, but just for those who are here, right now, with DOM, would you be willing to just share your email address for people to reach out to you?
Sure, my email is L. Sullivan at Denver foundation.org. You know, ask, I’ll ask her behind the scenes person that they want to share that in the chat, they’re welcome to happy to chat with folks. The other thing I wanted to just quickly add as well as that. But even with the break one fund that I’m working on with Mark, we recognize, you know, we have to be flexible, because you’re trying because we’re working to be intentional, proactive, but also responsive to the community’s needs. And what what will be most helpful in helping them to be able to, as I said, in the, in our presentation, take, take the best and full advantage of what of what we have to offer. So you know, we’re talking about capital improvements. But that I think we and Mark, please chime in, we are open, that is not something that we’re just super finite, because we we recognize that this is a unique opportunity and resource. And we want to be as flexible as possible to be as supportive as possible. When you’re reaching when you’re, you know, creating a space in which in other in other more traditional terms, these folks will not have access.
And I would agree with LaDawn on that I we do want to look beyond just the capital improvements for things like rental assistance. In some cases, some times it’s up for purchase of equipment. And we do really want to make a low barrier to entry on this. And I think the application is we’ve outlined it and set it up, I had really gives people a great opportunity to access the funds and access the information and the parameters that we’re putting on loan approval is far less than they would get in in any bank than anyone that supplying would go to. So I think we’ve got a good tool in place here. And if got fewer first loans to the Capitol, prior to the actual loan program coming through, so we’re excited about that.
Quickly, my email address, a Lindsay and it’s all A’s, Lindsay@cfgg.org. Or if you put in big equity phone or search, I’m sure you will find us big equity fund in Greensboro.
Thank you, Ethan. And that has now been added to the chat as well along with Mark Marshall’s email address. So please, I know that all of our panelists are, you know, this networking is key. We started this out talking about the relationship building and that is so important. And so I’m about starts right here. We have one other question. I think it’ll probably be our last question just about kind of, specifically for the BRIC Fund and the big loan fund. How much money how much should philanthropy, philanthropy be investing in your work on an annual basis? What is the real goal there? And you know, who that came from this was?
Well, you know, I think that investment when we say philanthropy, first of all, we have to define that. Institutional philanthropy, I think earlier, we shared some very important, so I’d say at least beyond the 1%. But we have to also understand fundamentally with big equity fund, this is exactly big equities of response to the lack of funding that goes to black led black serving nonprofits. So I just real clear and say that we’re more interested in what people are going to do individually to support our found our fund so we could then change the landscape and support and lead efforts. So you know, anything’s going to be better than than 1%. But also we realized that the power of what we’re talking about is getting individuals, particularly people from their communities realize that their donors, and that changes the conversation and puts us in place to go and have a real conversation and say to other foundations and say that you know, what we’re doing for greater than you are with your numbers as a different comic conversation, that we can lead in and saying that black donors are doing their part step up to the plate in an equitable way. It’s not equal amount, equal sacrifice, but we need to move that 1%.
Yeah, I would agree with Athan. And I was, I will say this, it may this may be a little off, but I think he did a great job answering the question. So I’ll do an end. And I would say to institutional philanthropy, that the bigger thing, at least for me, when I’m seeing is what, you know, sometimes we have a traditional philanthropy has moments of clear focus on something and then it will change quickly. And I what I’m asking for is for the for the focus to remain this, this cannot be a one off situation. This needs to be long term, sustainable. When folks are talking about we’re going to increase our giving this year over the next five years. They the conversation now needs to be how do we sustain that elevated giving in perpetuity, or until literally there is racial equity throughout our entire country? You know, that, that these, that the communities that have been most greatly affected by racism and oppression, actually, are, are truly in an equitable situation with their white with their white community peers, with their white business peers all, you know, get talked about this on and on. But I think that that’s one of the most critical pieces is not to have this immediate pivot. We need to stay focused, we need to stay right here.
Yep. And go beyond that. 1%.
Yes, well, beyond the 1%, let’s get some double digits up in here. At least.
Oh, I thought we had to cut this off. But we do have one other question that we’d love to get to. And we’ve been given the go ahead to do that. And I want to adjust this to the dawn kind of relationship between the brick Fund and the Denver Foundation. The question is, you know, have these funds have funds like brick fund developed different selection criteria for the for grant making, and you hope to share what you learned with the parent organization to influence their grant making?
So yes, absolutely, and amen. So we’re already influencing, I think, I think I said this in the presentation. But I often say, break is all about ensuring that we’re living out this this mindset of moving from testing to trusting. So we have whittled down our grant making process to the bare essentials to understand the organization, what it offers, what they’re doing in the community, how they see their impact, and what what their needs and resource, you know, what their resource needs are, in order to do great work. But not putting them in a position where we’re testing them and say, you know, creating a, an over power and privilege dynamic between brick and the organizations that we work with in support in the community, we’re really working in partnership. And that goes with the reporting, you know, typically, foundations ask for reporting. And there’s very specific ways in which we do that. We are, we are creating a space in which we will share and learn together and it will most likely be in person with a scribe, quite frankly, I’ve been in I’ve been in the foundation role for over 20 plus years. And I cannot tell you anything from reports I have read, that have come in from organizations, what I remember are the conversations I’ve had around the table about their work about the people that they serve, and about their dreams and vision for what they want to do and how they want to do it. That’s what I remember. And that’s what I you know, take with me, and that’s what really informs how, how I see connectivity in partnership with them. So in that definitely has lived in a different foundation for all for my length of time there but even more so right now as we’ve been navigating this very unique and focus space for the last nine months. So
thank you, LaDawn. Athan did you want to add to that with respect to your organization or
Nope, she handled it and and, you know, our work is still developing emerging and be strategic and and lining up with that. But one of the things I just add to it is that the beauty of why I’m doing this in philanthropy is adaptability, we don’t what’s relevant today may not be relevant five years from now. And what’s been helping folks understand is that Imagine if we would have had big equity or brick in place 20 years ago, when a pandemic came and everything else. So we’re forward thinking, but more importantly, that’s the beauty of philanthropy, we get to be adaptive. And that’s that that is just so critical, and allows you to be that strategic in itself to be adaptive.
Well, thank you all, just any, any final thoughts or anything that you all left out, or that you feel you want to amplify? Now?
I’ll just put my final comment. And it’s just gratifying for us that I see you I’ll see. To be able to provide this type of funding, specifically around facilities and around land and land use and facility use and building use, because there’s very few times that you come across funding dollars that are specifically set aside for that. So for us to be able to participate in the BRIC fund in the loan portion of this is really incredible for us. Well, thank you.
And I would just say, just as maybe a closing note is that I know, there are various there are different folks who are in different sectors involved in this conference. And I would just say, let’s work together to think outside the box. I mean, this partnership for this loan fund is definitely outside of the box of what I’ve seen in relationship to you know, the fund work that I’ve done through the foundation funding work I’ve done to the foundation, over the few years, but I think if there’s even further and you know, bigger things that we could be doing. So I just encourage folks to you know, think about your organization, your foundation, your business, whatever you’re doing to think about how a partnership, what it could look like, you know, what the skills or different assets of your organization may have to offer to work together for the greater good of of the work that we’re doing the big equity fund or with Brexit, you know, we’re open to ideas, we could figure it out. So thank you, thank you.
I love that thank you all so much again, you know, really speaking to that can do attitude and having a growth mindset and being solutions and oriented and you know, that’s what we all need to do. And so thank you for showing the way and and being leaders in this field. So with that we will thank you all again for participating today and for and please do reach out and go to these websites and learn more and connect and enjoy the rest of the conference.