How Philanthropy Can Support the Leadership of Black & Other Women of Color

Written by: Avery Crocker

Date: April 01, 2022

As we end Women’s History Month, its important to remember that we have an opportunity on a daily basis to honor the many generations of trailblazing women who have helped shape our lives today. For philanthropy, every day is a good day to examine its own support of these leaders and institutions, especially women-led organizations on the frontlines of change.

Here are some ideas for doing that, based on what we sent out to our subscribers and what we have posted to social media, earlier this month.

Supporting the Leadership & Needs of Black & Other Women of Color

One question that’s still on our minds this month is, “Is philanthropy listening to Black women?” With maternal mortality rates continuing to increase, funders can and should be doing more to support Black maternal health. How can funders do more now and moving forward? Former NCRP intern, Nichia McFarlane’s piece continues to offer four ways funders can break the mold and save lives.

It goes beyond health. “Change Begins With Funding For Women At The Local Level”, encourages funders to invest in organizations that are women-led and have grassroots initiatives, embed a gender equality lens in funding frameworks, and show support beyond just investing. “The smallest gesture can have the biggest impact,” wrote former intern, Sophia Cole. “You do not have to be a celebrity or a political figure to join in the sweeping movement. By investing in women-led grassroots organizations in the U.S, you are investing in a ripple effect that improves local communities, the region and our country.”

Finally, Denise Padín Collazo encourages donors to center and invest in the leadership of Black and brown women, sharing 7 tips donors can use to support Latinas and create environments in which women of color thrive. “Listen intently to what we need, and do your best to help us out. Sometimes when you are used to doing your work with limited financial resources, it becomes hard to imagine what it would be like to have lots more money. I have watched white women leaders advocate for 3 times the resources as their Latina sisters for the exact same work.”

How else can funders show support?

Donors can start by listening to and investing in women-led organizations like Khmer Girls in Action, Texas Center for Justice & Equity, United We Dream and Black Voters Matter Capacity Building Institute, just to name a few.

Looking to those funds resourcing intersectional gender justice movements and working to advance community power, like 2021 NCRP Impact Award winner, Third Wave Fund and The Libra Foundation, who won the “Changing Course” award in 2019 for integrating racial justice, gender justice and community-led power building into the foundation’s work.

“Right now, gender justice grassroots movements are taking really bold and courageous and unapologetic actions for justice and liberation, right,” said Third Wave Fund’s co-director, Ana Conner. “And as philanthropy, we have a choice to join them. And so we really hope that this award inspires others to commit to meeting movements where they’re at. So whether that’s with trust-based philanthropy, or de-siloed funding, or long-term resources, we have an opportunity.”

Other Sources of Information

The following organizations and pieces are also good sources to keep in your regular information diet:



Photo credits: Nellie Mae Education Foundation