Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife are part of a group of philanthropic organizations and corporations that donated a total of $100 million to launch the California Black Freedom Fund.
The initiative is a five-year program that aims to support Black-led organizations in California that are struggling against systemic racism. There were 25 funders that supported the initiative, including Laurene Powell Jobs and JPMorgan Chase.
$100 Million Fund
Chase’s inclusion in the initiative is part of the bank’s previous commitment to giving $30 billion in support of fighting systemic racism against Black and Latinx residents. Afterward, many people donated in an attempt to provide racial equity groups with sufficient funds after a surge of protests worldwide.
The initiative’s funds are to be used to focus on battling against a “history of underinvestment” that Black-led and power-building organizations have struggled with. Currently, the total donations come out at $32.4 million, while the rest of the sum is to be raised and distributed in the next five years.
Philanthropists who donated to the initiative said it was made to support Black-led organizations that “focused on stopping police violence, promoting education equity, improving health outcomes, championing voter registration and civic engagement, and crafting policies around increasing access to housing.”
Lateefah Simon, the president of the Oakland-based Akonadi Foundation, which has also donated to the initiative, hopes they can continue to support the program past the five-year plan. She hopes to focus on supporting “Black leaders who are visionary and courageous.”
“The idea is not simply a reaction to the George Floyd killing. These foundations have always had an explicit mission and focus of advancing equity,” Simon said.
While several cities across the state have received financial support from racial equity funds, the California initiative’s focus on “Black-led organizations is unique, said professor Una O. Osili of the Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.
Osili said that the donation becoming statewide created “an infrastructure and community around this work. I think that’s very important,” Mercury News reported.
That donations will be distributed in several rounds. The first donates over $6 million across three networks which included more than 50 organizations. The list was filled with groups that sought to maximize the participation of hard-to-count Black communities in the state’s redistricting process. Additionally, it included some that were fighting for police reforms.
This year, there are three more rounds set to be conducted. Simon said the second round would be announced by an advisory committee filled with activists and organizers. The initiative’s funds would also be used to support research, data, and other areas of the organizations.