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New report calls out Minnesota’s underfunding of Black-led racial justice work

As the community marks the third anniversary of George Floyd’s murder, a new report finds that local racial justice efforts continue to be underfunded by philanthropists.

The report was compiled by the Black Collective Foundation MN in partnership with the Center for Evaluation Innovation and with contributions from the Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity.

“We are willing to speak boldly and unequivocally because this can no longer be deferred, soft-pedaled, or ignored by the philanthropic and nonprofit community in Minnesota, a sector where white people are over-represented, especially in positions of leadership and high visibility,” leaders of the foundation stated in a press release.

Black Collective Foundation MN was formed in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, and is Minnesota’s first Black community foundation. Its report offers a detailed and comprehensive assessment of racial equity and racial justice funding, focusing on the years 2018-2021. The report acknowledges that funding for Black communities saw a sharp increase in 2020, but points out that it still made up just 0.6% of funding in Minnesota.

“For every 100 dollars awarded by organizations in the state of Minnesota, only 60 cents is going to support Black organizations in the state. Even after 2020.” said Lyle Matthew Kan, principal research consultant for the Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity.

Despite being the home of a global uprising, the report shows that Minnesota’s philanthropic funding efforts do not reflect the local racial disparities or the demands of racial justice movements.

Chera Reid of the Center for Evaluation Innovation says that Black-led changemakers are often forced to tailor their funding requests to wealthy white donors’ personal funding priorities.

“I feel like white people really want Black people to act a certain way in Minnesota.” Reid said. “We understand that those who control the power, control the accountability.”

In the state of Minnesota, racial justice grassroots movements were never awarded more than two percent of the state's annual grant funding. Overall, the report shows that racial equity holds more value in Minnesota philanthropic investments than racial justice, despite the state’s rising racial justice movements for public safety following the murder of George Floyd.

“Public safety is an area that captures all of the issues with police reform, and it is a very small funded area,” said Lyle Matthew Kan, principal research consultant for the Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity.

The report recommends more sustainable resources be devoted to racial equity and racial justice, that communities of color and racial justice movements be engaged in strategy and state funding decisions, that larger efforts be funded in support of transformational change, and that data is improved around racial equity and racial justice grantmaking.

You can read the full report here.

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