As the month of February comes to an end, it also brings with it the opportunity to honor the too often neglected accomplishments and contributions of Black Americans in every area of endeavor of America’s achievements. For the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro and the community which we serve, we are fortunate to seize the opportunity to not only honor the Black History Month but also to add to Greensboro’s rich local Black history. Greensboro is often recognized as a trailblazer community where Black leadership has been at the forefront of the Civil Rights Movement to make Greensboro a more just and equitable community. The Black Investments in Greensboro Equity Fund, or BIG Equity Fund, offers the promise of continuing Greensboro’s legacy as a trailblazing community.
The BIG Equity Fund reached an important milestone during Black History Month – $1 Million raised toward an ultimate goal of $3 Million. African American donors initiated and committed the first $250,000 to establish this permanent endowment, and they have since been joined by many in Greensboro’s broader community. What a perfect way to commemorate Black History Month. This type of philanthropic engagement with and philanthropic investment by Greensboro’s African American donors in the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro is the first of its kind in the foundation’s 38-year history.
BIG Equity Fund represents so much more than the financial and historic milestones recently achieved. BIG affirms the African American philanthropic tradition that emphasizes the practice of collective giving. BIG represents the importance of organizing Black philanthropic power collectively as an agent of change for positive outcomes defined by Black communities. BIG represents the intersection of philanthropy and social justice. The BIG Equity Fund provides Black communities a presence at the table where these two intersections are discussed, and decisive actions are taken. Where there is presence, there is representation of experiences and perspectives.
BIG EQUITY FUND= PRESENCE+REPRESENTATION!
As the BIG Equity Fund evolves and has an increasingly visible presence in Greensboro’s philanthropic landscape, it offers an opening to understand the past and present realities of Greensboro’s Black community to overcome systemic barriers borne of racism that have created socioeconomic disparities. Understanding the uniqueness of Greensboro’s Black philanthropy to create agency is a key to understanding the strength of Greensboro’s Black community in overcoming these barriers. The BIG Equity Fund’s mission to pool resources and leverage capital to break down systems that result in socioeconomic disparities in the Black community is a continuation of the Black community’s rich philanthropic heritage.
Greater presence and representation of Black philanthropy is a good thing for all of us who are working towards a vision of a more equitable Greensboro!
With BIG LOVE!
Athan Lindsay – Director, Community Philanthropy