Juneteenth marked the first anniversary of the Black Resilience in Colorado (BRIC) Fund, which is housed at The Denver Foundation and born from decades of bridge-building and investments in BIPOC communities. Established on June 19, 2020, the BRIC Fund, the first Black-focused community fund established in Colorado, quickly became an impactful entity providing financial resources to Black-led and serving organizations that were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. In its first year, the Fund raised more than $2 million and granted over $1 million to 62 nonprofit organizations through a process informed by the Black community and driven by local Black leaders.
“There is a rich history and culture of generational strength, resourcefulness, drive and resilience in the Black community,” shared LaDawn Sullivan, BRIC Fund Director and visionary. “It’s from that resiliency that BRIC was formed and strategically designed to bring philanthropic resources to organizations which are rising above systemic inequities.”
Although Black-led and serving organizations have often experienced challenges in obtaining the same level of funding as their white peers, resilience among these groups has remained at their core and is the thread that is woven into the fabric of Black communities and Black philanthropy. When faced with the COVID-19 pandemic and escalated racial unrest peaked by the murder of George Floyd, Black-led nonprofits adapted and continued to deliver valuable community services thanks in part to receiving support from the BRIC Fund.
“The Black Resilience in Colorado Fund is a model for philanthropy that is truly rooted in racial equity,” says Javier Alberto Soto. “From leadership and decision-making to grantmaking and relationships, the community is at the center of this Fund. BRIC reflects the insights, knowledge, experience, and purpose of the local leaders who brought it into being over many years. And after just one year, BRIC has already lifted up so many assets and strengths in Metro Denver’s Black community. It’s exciting to think about what’s ahead.”
BRIC has emerged as one of the fastest-growing funds of its kind due to the generosity of individual donors, local businesses, foundations, and Denver Foundation fund holders. The Denver African American Philanthropists, an all-Black male giving circle, was among the first to invest in the Fund along with a significant contribution from The Colorado Health Foundation. By August 31, 2020, more than $1 million was pledged to BRIC, and over $2 million was raised by mid-May 2021, surpassing the first-year goal of $1.5 million. BRIC now serves as a resource and blueprint for similar and emerging philanthropic funds being initiated throughout the country.
In addition to grant funding, BRIC established a unique partnership with the Urban Land Conservancy (ULC) to establish the BRIC Loan Program. The program offers low-interest loans up to $50,000 for pre-development and capital expenditures for Black-led and Black-serving nonprofits. Beyond the financial support, BRIC programs are designed to provide a full range of opportunities focused on organizational growth and community impact while strengthening the pipeline of Black leadership. Programs such as the Executive Directors of Color Institute (EDCI) and the Landscape Project Initiative deliver essential leadership development, organizational capacity building, and the necessary diversity, equity, and inclusion advocacy instruments to be a voice for change.
Ways to Engage with BRIC
- Visit BRIC’s new website
- Connect with BRIC on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
- Watch and share JC Futrell’s BRIC One-Year Anniversary Spoken Word Tribute, filmed on Welton Street in the historic Five Points neighborhood.
- Contact BRIC Director, LaDawn Sullivan
About Black Resilience in Colorado (BRIC) Fund
Black Resilience in Colorado (BRIC) Fund is the first Black-focused community fund established in Colorado, explicitly providing financial resources and support to Black-led and serving organizations. Established on Juneteenth (June 19, 2020), BRIC is More Than a Fund…It is A Movement Forward for change to address systemic racism and inequities that negatively impact Black communities throughout the seven-county Metro Denver area and beyond. BRIC is an inclusive entity that welcomes and empowers diverse support from organizations and individuals who seek to invest in the sustained growth of Black-led and serving nonprofits. Through BRIC, organizations can leverage community assets, build capacity, and secure emergency relief resources during times of crisis. Together with donors, emerging philanthropists, community networks, partners, and national peers, BRIC provides valuable resources and programs that strive to dismantle systemic racism while reinforcing the resilience of Black-led and serving organizations and their work in community – BRIC by BRIC. For more information about BRIC, please visit bricfund.org.