q Giving Together: Celebrating Black Philanthropy Month and the Power of Collective, Inclusive Philanthropy - Denver Foundation

Giving Together: Celebrating Black Philanthropy Month and the Power of Collective, Inclusive Philanthropy

August 1, 2021

Join the Black Resilience in Colorado (BRIC) Fund for a celebration of Giving Black Day, Friday, August 27 at 4:15 pm MST. RVSP for this event here

This August marks the tenth anniversary of Black Philanthropy Month, which was established in 2011 by the African Women’s Development Fund USA as an annual opportunity to reflect on the legacy of generosity within the Black community — and to imagine a future shaped by philanthropists of all kinds.

The Denver Foundation is proud to celebrate Black Philanthropy Month and to reflect on our journey to celebrate, support, and lift up philanthropy in Denver’s Black community. One way that we do this is by embracing the many definitions of “philanthropy,” placing equal value on the “Five Ts”: gifts of Time, Talent, Treasure, Testimony, and Social Ties are all philanthropic in nature, and anyone who gives of themselves to help others is, by definition, a philanthropist.

All five “Ts” are at work within the Black Resilience in Colorado (BRIC) Fund, which was established at The Denver Foundation in June 2020 to provide financial resources to Black-led and -serving organizations across Metro Denver. The first Black-focused community fund in Colorado, BRIC was born from over 20 years of bridge-building and investments in Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities. Its decision-making is led by local Black leaders who represent and understand and represent the communities BRIC is designed to serve.

“There is a rich history and culture of generational strength, resourcefulness, drive and resilience in the Black community,”

In its first year, 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 fundholders. The Denver African American Philanthropists (DAAP), a giving circle of Black men, was among the first to invest in the Fund along with a significant contribution from The Colorado Health Foundation. By mid-May of 2021, more than $2 million had been raised for the fund.

During Black Philanthropy Month, contributions to the Black Resilience in Colorado (BRIC) Fund from individual donors will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to a total of $50,000. Make a gift to BRIC.

Through a process informed by the Black community and driven by local Black leaders, BRIC granted more than $1 million to 62 nonprofit organizations, with an emphasis on those most impacted by the pandemic and those directly addressing racial injustice.

“There is a rich history and culture of generational strength, resourcefulness, drive, and resilience in the Black community,” says LaDawn Sullivan, Director of BRIC. “It’s from that resiliency that BRIC was formed and strategically designed to bring philanthropic resources to organizations which are working to dismantle systemic inequities.” 

BRIC now serves as a resource and blueprint for similar and emerging philanthropic funds being initiated throughout the country. And its programming extends beyond grantmaking. Last year, for example, 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. BRIC also manages the Executive Directors of Color Institute and The Landscape Project, two initiatives designed to increase diversity and inclusiveness within the nonprofit sector in Metro Denver.

Athletics Beyond Youth Participants At New Wellness Center
Students gather at a new wellness center in Montbello opened by Athletics & Beyond, a Black-led nonprofit that provides young people with opportunities to develop life skills, explore alternative careers, and have access to preparatory rigorous academic support. Athletics & Beyond has received support from many Denver Foundation fundholders and initiatives, including the Black Resilience in Colorado (BRIC) Fund and the Community Grants Program.

“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 is a significant marker of Elevating Philanthropy in Communities of Color (EPIC),  The Denver Foundation’s long-standing and nuanced approach to advancing racial equity in philanthropy. Through EPIC, the Foundation provides support to several giving circles for BIPOC donors, in which collective resources are pooled and distributed for maximum impact. Black identifying collective giving circles and/or donor groups at the Foundation include Denver African American Philanthropists (DAAP). The Foundation is also home to the White Rose Foundation Endowment Fund, which supports philanthropic efforts of  the Denver (CO) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, Delta Sigma Theta’s Denver Alumni Fund, and helped to establish Sisterhood of Philanthropists Impacting Needs (SPIN).

Olivia Thompson, Tracie Nash, and Sandra Roberts-Taylor (left to right), founding members of WOCMAD. Photo by Flor Blake.

A 2021 addition to the EPIC’s Giving Circle family, Women of Color Making a Difference (WOCMAD, featured on the cover), was formed in 2020 and now enslists 11 Black women as members. WOCMAD started after its organizer, Sandra Roberts-Taylor, approached LaDawn Sullivan to find out how to get involved with an existing circle at The Denver Foundation. Sullivan suggested  Roberts-Taylor start her own. WOCMAD is in the early stages of charting out its identity and priorities and has met its early fundraising goals.

“It’s definitely gratifying to know that somewhere down the road, we are going to make a difference,” says Roberts-Taylor. Throughout Black Philanthropy Month the Foundation will celebrate and elevate philanthropy in Denver’s Black community and beyond. Learn more about all of our identity based giving circles and other affinity groups at denverfoundation.org/donor-services/collective-giving.

Join the Black Resilience in Colorado (BRIC) Fund for a celebration of Giving Black Day, Friday, August 27 at 4:15 pm MST. During this virtual celebration, we’ll recognize the contributions of Colorado’s Black philanthropists investing their 5T’s – time, talent, treasure, testimony, and social ties to positively impact OUR community. We’ll also toast to celebrate the first anniversary of the BRIC Fund! This year, we’re excited to have Tina Walls and Jonathan Cunningham kick off the virtual celebration!

RVSP for this event here.