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Closing the ‘donation gap’ is important for the health and vitality of the city

“What we learned about gratitude…is that many people contributed to our success.”

This quote from former First Lady Michelle Obama is one we feel aligned with during this season of gratitude.

Nonprofits continue to do the landlord’s job by addressing entrenched and systemic inequities in our society. Achieving tangible solutions is more challenging because of the very real disparities in income and assets allocated to Black-led organizations, the “giving gap,” which extends across both race and gender.

What should foundations do to promote the needs of the black community? What do black-led nonprofits recommend regarding those needs? How does racial equity play a role in today’s giving landscape? And what is the long-term outlook for black philanthropy? For us, these are more than questions. They are our action items.

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Chicago African Americans in Philanthropy (CAAIP) advocates for equitable and effective philanthropy in African American communities. The Chicago Foundation for Women (CFW) invests in women and girls as catalysts, building strong communities for all. Forefront supports our missions. Our shared goal is to build equitable communities where we can all thrive.

Donations directed at women and girls account for less than 2% of all philanthropic support. CFW is among the few groups that provide general operational support and invest in hyperlocal organizations and community groups led by Blacks, Indigenous peoples, and other people of color. Forefront serves as the convener to unite the Illinois social impact industry to collectively solve our toughest problems. CAAIP advocates for investments in black communities and the expansion of leadership opportunities in the social sector.

With our emphasis on the South and West Sides, we are doing what we can to also elevate BIPOC and Black philanthropic giving. Our association shines a light on black donations that are important to the health and vitality of our city.

While our organizations are vulnerable to the threat of an economic downturn, our goal remains to support our constituents, share their stories, continue to build resilient communities, and create a united and thriving social impact industry that has a transformative impact on well-being and the economy. security and promotes equity throughout the region.

We encourage you to learn more. To visually experience how black philanthropy has evolved over generations, join CAAIP for the groundbreaking The soul of philanthropy – Reframed and Exhibited, opening at the Cultural Center in February.

Jessyca Dudley, former director, Chicago Afro Americans in Philanthropy; Felicia Davis Blakley, President and CEO of the Chicago Foundation for Women; Monique B. Jones, LCSW, President and CEO of Forefront.