The Foundation for Black Communities funds 31 Black-led, Black-serving and Black-focused projects as part of the Investment Readiness Program

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Foundation for Black Communities funds 31 Black-led, Black-serving and Black-focused projects as part of the Investment Readiness Program

In partnership with Community Foundations of Canada, Foundation for Black Communities’ Investment Readiness Program is funding Black-focused social purpose organizations across Canada.

Today, the Foundation for Black Communities (FFBC), in partnership with Community Foundations of Canada (CFC), is pleased to announce $1,506,205 in funding to support 31 projects through the Government of Canada’s Investment Readiness Program (IRP). This measure is supporting Black communities’ thriving in entrepreneurship and innovation, thereby reinforcing Black people’s well-being and economic prosperity throughout Canada. The Government of Canada’s $50 million renewed investment supports social purpose organizations (SPOs), such as social enterprises, non-profits, charities and co-operatives, as they strengthen Canada’s social finance market while helping their communities. 

The IRP supports social purpose organizations as they move towards investment readiness, creating sustainable long-term goals to join, or continue in Canada’s social finance market. Through the IRP, organizations are strengthening their operational and organizational capacity by building strategic plans, increasing marketing services, developing financial and tax services, or receiving legal and risk management services. Through these opportunities, social purpose organizations are preparing for the Government of Canada’s Social Finance Fund.

The FFBC received more than 400 applications, and through a participatory selection process, were able to identify 31 successful applications for funding. These 31 recipient organizations were selected based on the highest-ranking scores awarded by a Community Grant Review Panel, comprised of members of the Black community who brought the community lens into the grantee selection process. 

This funding is going to social purpose organizations working on remarkable projects, including:

  • $75,000 to fund TechSpark Canada of Ontario to scale the SparkPlug LearningDNA initiative, a tool created to empower educators and students to maximize their learning potential. 
  • $22,100 to fund Messengers of Change, Manitoba’s After-Hours Respite Childcare Feasibility Study to ensure that everyone involved in childcare services has the support they need.
  • $25,000 to fund Ubuntu Community Farm of Ontario to develop the Ubuntu Community Farm Sustainable Food System. Their mission is to support small urban farmers while building stronger communities and a better food system.
  • $74,940 to fund Ethos Lab of British Columbia to scale the Ethos Lab project. Ethos Lab aims to increase representation in Innovation by creating an inclusive space to amplify young, diverse voices.

“Our Government recognizes the integral role that social purpose organizations have in tackling social issues in Canada and the significant impact they have when given support and access to new funding opportunities. The organizations being funded by Foundation for Black Communities will help drive local solutions to improve the economic well-being of Black communities. The Investment Readiness Program supports our goal to increase inclusion and opportunities for participation of Canadians in their communities and is a foundational element toward building the economy Canadians want,” said Karina Gould, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development.

FFBC’s grant making follows the principles of the Ubuntu Model of Participatory Grant making (UMPG). It is based on the premise that we are all interconnected and that we can improve conditions for ourselves by improving conditions for those around us. The organizations listed above are but a sampling of the grantees that embody the philosophy of Ubuntu Participatory Grant making, as espoused by FFBC. 

“The Foundation for Black Communities is pleased to partner with the Community Foundations of Canada and the Government of Canada to deliver the Investment Readiness Program. It is profoundly important to acknowledge and invest in the entrepreneurial innovation of Black communities. By partnering on this initiative, we’ve been able to ensure that Black-led, focused and serving organizations are increasingly able to access funding opportunities to advance the well-being and economic prosperity of Black people throughout Canada,” shares Gladys Ahovi, President & CEO, Foundation for Black Communities.

The Investment Readiness Program has propelled social purpose organizations along the readiness continuum. As funded projects take root, the FFBC and CFC look forward to showcasing their impact in the community. To view the projects funded, explore the Investment Readiness Program results map and more, visit https://communityfoundations.ca/funding-results-investment-readiness-program/

To view the full list of recipients, visit:
https://forblackcommunities.org/grants/irp/ 

-30-

Winy Bernard
Communications
1-833-442-5225, ext. 709
[email protected]

OYWG Grantee, Somali Together featured in the Toronto Star

They were tired of gun violence in their community. So they took matters into their own hands

Support from all over Toronto from Black organizations to the Raptors president helped bring these friends’ idea to life.

Last September, Mohamed Hassan, received 50 tickets to take youth from his non-profit organization to a Toronto Maple Leafs pre-season game.

For many of them, it was a first. One of the kids turned to him and asked how much the tickets usually cost.

Hassan, a marketing manager at Tennis Canada, didn’t know, so they searched up the prices and saw tickets were a couple of hundred dollars on StubHub.

“Leafs games are that expensive?” said Hassan. “I didn’t know it was that much of a barrier for Somali kids to go to a Leafs game.”

That was one moment that reinforced why Hassan and longtime friend Ahmed Shiddo created an organization dedicated to Somali youth.

Since last fall, Somali Together has hosted about 40 kids from across the city biweekly in North York to partake in workshops, mentorship and hands-on learning experiences.

The organization’s mission is to enhance, on a consistent basis, the lives of Somali youth through education, community, culture and sport.

The idea came to Hassan and Shiddo following a tragedy in 2019. A friend of a friend, 18-year-old Aseel Yehya, died suddenly as a result of gun violence. The two friends reflected on this ongoing violence over the phone, ahead of Yehya’s funeral prayer.

“This … wasn’t the first time we faced (this) in our community,” Hassan said. “Sometimes you don’t even know how to react anymore. You become numb to the gun violence in Toronto, and you become numb to all the other issues our community faces.”

So, Shiddo and Hassan made phone calls and gathered about 50 community members at Etobicoke’s Khalid Bin Al-Walid Mosque to speak about what was going on in their neighbourhood.

By the end of 2019, gun violence in Toronto reached record levels and Shiddo was tired. He was tired of seeing friends mainly at funeral prayers. The 27-year-old didn’t want to become desensitized to losing friends and wanted to be around his people more, in life.

More importantly, Shiddo felt like it was time for his generation to do something, rather than leaving it up to the elders in the Somali community.

“All of our parents come from a war-torn country and they left everything they knew behind. We can’t even imagine what’s that like,” said Shiddo. “A new world, new language, new country — this is all for us. We have to capitalize on that or it was all for nothing.”

Hassan and Shiddo saw a need for attention and services dedicated to Somali youth. In 2014, 25 per cent dropped out of the TDSB, compared with 14 per cent of students overall. Among Somali boys, the dropout rate was a staggering 33 per cent.

On top of that, fewer Somali students applied to college or university, and 50 per cent were more likely to be suspended, placed in special education classes and have lower EQAO scores.

Eventually, Shiddo and Hassan got an opportunity to make that first gathering more concrete.

Raptors president and vice-chairman Masai Ujiri travelled to Somalia the summer of 2019 with the basketball youth organization he co-founded, Giants of Africa. Ujiri returned to the city wanting to know what he could do for the Somali community in Toronto.

Ilwad Elman, who helped co-ordinate the Somalia trip and basketball clinic for Somali girls, heard about the Etobicoke mosque meeting and reached out to Hassan.

And that’s how Somali Together was born. What started off as getting folks to gather at the mosque, turned into a sit-down proposal with Ujiri in December 2021, which gave the co-founders momentum.

During 2022, they put together a board of directors and sought funding to grow. The Foundation for Black Communities (FFBC) was an early supporter and provided a $25,000 sports and recreation grant.

Omar Omar, a director of community investment for FFBC, thought Somali Together was a perfect fit.

“They were doing the work in a way that resonated with them, and we were interested in supporting and learning from that. We see them as teachers in many ways,” Omar said.

The Foundation for Black Communities distributes $800,000 through the Ontario Youth Wellness Grant

For Immediate Release

The Foundation for Black Communities distributes $800,000 through the Ontario Youth Wellness Grant

In partnership with MLSE Foundation, the Ontario Youth Wellness Grant is funding Black-focused youth wellness initiatives across Ontario.

February 14th, 2023, (Toronto, ON) – The Foundation for Black Communities (FFBC) is pleased to announce the recipients of the Ontario Youth Wellness Grant, Explore stream – an $800,000 program to support Black communities to explore ideas, projects, structures, and systems that positively impact youth wellness through sports and recreation in Ontario. The grant is supported by funds from MLSE Foundation’s Change the Game Campaign, which invests in organizations that address systemic barriers preventing youth from reaching their potential.

“We are thrilled to announce the recipients of FFBCs Ontario Youth Wellness Grants. We applaud the work of each of these organizations and thank them for their tireless efforts to ensure the wellbeing of Black youth across Ontario,” shares Gladys Ahovi, President & CEO, Foundation for Black Communities.

The objective of the grant is to:

  • Increase the quantity and improve the quality of wellness programs for Black youth (ages 6-29) in Ontario
  • Increase the capacity of Ontario’s Black organizations and leaders
  • Provide opportunities for organizational growth
  • Support planning and piloting of new ideas that employ sports and recreation to positively impact Ontario’s Black youth

“These inaugural grants represent a meaningful step forward in the recognition and respect of agency for Black communities,” said Bridgette Estrela, Managing Director, MLSE Foundation & Social Impact. “MLSE Foundation is grateful to the Foundation for Black Communities for stewarding this work and we are hopeful that investments like these continue to be prioritized across the philanthropic sector.”

Funding for the second stream – Stabilize and Build – will be opening in the fall. This stream is open to registered charities and incorporated not-for-profits. A call for applications will be announced in the fall.

“The Foundation for Black Communities is privileged to support the innovative and impactful work of Black communities in Ontario,” says Omar, Omar, Director of Community Investments, Foundation for Black Communities.

33 grantee organizations have received funds in the amounts of $15,000 or greater to explore their wellness initiative.

For the full list of recipients, please visit https://www.forblackcommunities.org/grantees/

About the Foundation for Black Communities

The Foundation for Black Communities invests in change-making, working alongside the Canadian community, philanthropic, political, and business organizations to ensure that Black-led, Black-serving, and Black-focused non-profit, charitable, and grassroots organizations have the sustained resources and infrastructures they need to make a meaningful impact.

Media contact:

Winy Bernard
Communications
1-833-442-5225 ext. 709
[email protected]

The Foundation for Black Communities awarded stewardship of $200 million Black-Led Philanthropic Endowment Fund by federal government

For Immediate Release 

 

The Foundation for Black Communities awarded stewardship of 

$200 million Black-Led Philanthropic Endowment Fund  

by federal government 

 Historic investment to support and empower Black-led, Black-focused and Black- serving non-profits and registered charities to transform communities across Canada. 

February 8th, 2023, (Toronto, ON) – The Government of Canada has awarded the stewardship of the Black-led Philanthropic Endowment Fund to the Foundation for Black Communities (FFBC). This historic and ground-breaking investment of $200 million will positively impact Black-led, Black-focused and Black-serving non-profit organizations and registered charities across the country by investing in them to build, sustain and expand on transformational ideas and initiatives generated by Black communities.   

“On behalf of the FFBC Board of Directors, employees, and Black Canadian communities across our nation, we are pleased to accept stewardship of the endowment from the federal government,” said Gladys Ahovi, FFBC President and CEO. “The FFBC was honoured to receive overwhelming community support and over 830 letters of endorsement in response to our proposal for the stewardship of the federal Black-led Philanthropic Endowment Fund. We look forward to working collaboratively with other Black-serving organizations to realize projects that directly benefit Black Canadian communities and improve social and economic outcomes.”  

“In Canada, diversity is a fact, but inclusion is a choice. Our government recognizes the systemic barriers that Black Canadian communities have faced and continue to face,” shares Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion. “The Black-led Philanthropic Endowment Fund will provide direct support to Black-led, Black-focused and Black-serving non-profit organizations and registered charities across the country to help in the fight against systemic anti-Black racism. This selection is a significant step toward building a more inclusive and more equitable Canada where no one is left behind.” 

Black-led non-profit organizations and registered charities are critical to ending anti-Black racism and inequities across the country. However, as concluded in the FFBC’s Unfunded research report, Black-led and Black-serving community organizations are systemically underfunded in Canada’s philanthropic sector. Of the 40 public and private foundations reviewed in this study, only six had funded Black-serving organizations over the 2017 and 2018 fiscal years. Further, grants to Black-serving organizations represented a meagre 0.7 percent of total grants during the 2017 and 2018 fiscal years. 

“We celebrate the historic nature of this endowment and recognize the deep commitment to community it requires,” said Djaka Blais, Chair of the FFBC Board of Directors. “Our work begins now.” 

Black Canadians are calling for a new approach to philanthropy that is reflective of the community being served. The FFBC has experience answering this call, having partnered with organizations like the MLSE foundation, Jumpstart and Laidlaw to distribute over $800,000 in grants to-date and we continue to do so through our own grant-making initiatives. FFBC will use this experience to implement innovative solutions and partnerships to maximize the potential of the Black-led Philanthropic Endowment Fund. For example, FFBC has already signed an MOU with leading Black organizations to support our administration of the endowment, including lenders and investors such as FACE, Groupe 3737 and BKR. Further, as a part of our proposal, the philanthropic community has pledged to raise an additional $201 million—a transformational commitment.  

We thank the Government of Canada for their commitment to establishing the Black-Led Philanthropic Endowment Fund, dedicated to supporting Black-led charities and organizations serving youth and social initiatives.   

Additional Quotes  

“The Black-Led Endowment Fund is a remarkable opportunity to enhance infrastructure, and the economic well-being of Black Canadians. We applaud the leadership of the Foundation for Black Communities for their self-determination and tenacity to steward these resources and advance the work of our Ancestors. This is a phenomenal victory for Black communities across Canada. We are resolute in our decision to support this work and rally around FFBC in any way we can.” 

— Victor Beausoleil, Executive Director, Social Economy Through Social Inclusion (SETSI) 

“Following the release of the Unfunded report by the Foundation for Black Communities (FFBC) and its revelations on the socio-economic issues experienced by Black Canadians, Group 3737 proudly supports their appointment to manage the Philanthropic Endowment Fund. We are pleased to be able to work alongside them in synergy for a more inclusive and equitable Canada.”  

— Louis-Edgar Jean-François, CPA, Chief Executive Officer, Groupe 3737 

“Vancouver Foundation is proud to support the Foundation for Black Communities (FFBC) and their successful bid for the Black-led Philanthropic Endowment Fund. FFBC are leaders in community-informed, participatory grant making and are uniquely positioned to support Black communities across Canada to invest in their own solution-making.” 

— Kevin McCort, President & CEO, Vancouver Foundation 

About the Foundation for Black Communities 

The Foundation for Black Communities invests in change-making, working alongside the Canadian community, philanthropic, political, and business organizations to ensure that Black-led, Black-serving, and Black-focused non-profit, charitable, and grassroots organizations have the sustained resources and infrastructures they need to make a meaningful impact. 

-30- 

Media contacts: 

Winy Bernard
Communications
(o) 1-833-442-5225 ext 709
[email protected] 

 

A Thank you Letter to our Community

Dear friends and community members,

This Black History Month we want to celebrate the tradition of “call and response” which has been a vital aspect of African-disaporic/Black communities for generations — serving as a means of communication, expression, and community development for people of African descent for millenia. This tradition has been a quintessential element and fuel for the Foundation for Black Communities’ journey over the last 3 years. We have witnessed the power of community, wherein individuals from all walks of life come together to create a collective voice that resonates with energy and strength and allows us to support each other in our times of need.

Our community has consistently demonstrated its commitment to supporting each other and making a positive impact in our country through call and response. This was evident in the contributions you all made to our ground-breaking Unfunded Report, the rally to encourage the creation of a historic $200 million Black-led philanthropic fund in Budget 2021, and the co-designed granting programs that have invested over $2.5 million dollars in community-led initiatives to date. These efforts have led to substantial changes in the philanthropic sectors’ support of Black communities and will continue to allow us to confront the needs and challenges of our community.

When we called for assistance, our community responded with tremendous enthusiasm. This was most recently demonstrated by the overwhelming support we received from over 800 organizations and individuals in response to our submission for the Black-led Philanthropic Fund. This was an important reminder that the work of the Foundation for Black Communities is your work and that indeed, your work — is our work.

These achievements are a testament to the power of call and response in our community and the unwavering commitment of our members to creating a better future for us all. We can be proud of the impact we have made and the positive changes we have inspired through our collective efforts. As we continue to work together, our community’s call and response will continue to be a driving force for progress and change, and we look forward to building an even brighter future for all Black communities.

In the near future, we hope to have some positive news to share as to the next steps for the Foundation for Black Communities. And in that future, you can be certain of one thing, when our community calls, we will respond!

We look forward to continuing to work closely together to support a future where all Black people have the resources, infrastructure and agency to thrive and define our own futures! Happy Black History Month!

Gladys Ahovi
President & CEO

FFBC Announces Bid for $200 million Black-Led Philanthropic Endowment Fund

The Foundation for Black Communities announces intent to bid for the Government of Canada’s historic, Black-led philanthropic endowment.

The organization is calling on Black community, partners and allies to endorse their bid by signing a letter of support.

November 17, 2022, (Toronto, ON) – As the leading Black-led voice in Canada’s philanthropic sector, the Foundation for Black Communities (FFBC) announced today that it will be responding to the Government of Canada’s request for proposals for the new $200 million Black-Led Philanthropic Endowment Fund.

The Government of Canada’s historic pledge to support Black-led charities, non-profits, and grassroots community organizations was first announced in the 2021 Federal Budget, referencing our ground-breaking report “Unfunded: Black Communities Overlooked by Canadian Philanthropy,” which included a vision to establish a Philanthropic Foundation for Black Communities.

“This endowment puts Black communities squarely in the driver’s seat to relentlessly invest in our own agenda and priorities today and for future generations,” says Liban Abokor, Co-Founder and Board Member.

While there are many organizations that focus on addressing systemic barriers and anti-Black racism, what sets the FFBC apart is their community-informed and equity-focused approach to grants and giving. The FFBC continues to examine and evaluate the grant process to ensure that community needs are addressed, and communities thrive.

“Trust-based, participatory grant-making is central to our identity at FFBC. Our role as trustees of Black wealth is not to decide which priorities are funded or who receives funding. Instead, the best decisions are made by those who use the services and those who provide them. Nothing for us, without us. Simple,” shares Omar Omar, Director of Community Investments

To-date the Foundation for Black Communities has partnered and worked closely with foundations such as the MLSE Foundation, Vancouver Foundation, Edmonton Foundation, Calgary Foundation, Community Foundations of Canada, Ontario Trillium Foundation, Laidlaw Foundation, Inspirit Foundation, Sunlife Foundation, and Canadian Tire Foundation to ensure Black communities are prioritized and supported.

Through these partnerships they are:

  • Investing over $2.5 million dollars into Black communities through grant programs to date
  • Advocating to amend legislation to make it easier to fund Black-led community organizations and increase funding available to Black communities

The Black-led philanthropic endowment will allow the Foundation for Black Communities to continue investing in Black-led, Black-serving, and Black-focused charities, non-profits, and grassroots groups throughout Canada. The FFBC’s vision includes a future where Black communities in Canada have the resources, organizations, and influence necessary to shape their own future.

“FFBC is working every day for a future in which Black communities can readily and responsively invest in our own solution-making. It is no longer a question of if, but of when, and this endowment would bring us one step closer,” Djaka Blais, Co-Founder, Board Chair

About the Foundation for Black Communities

The Foundation for Black Communities invests in change-making, working alongside the Canadian community, philanthropic, political, and business organizations to ensure that Black-led, Black-serving, and Black-focused non-profit, charitable, and grassroots organizations have the sustained resources and infrastructures they need to make a meaningful impact.

 

Media contact:

Courtney Roberts

Communications Lead

Foundation for Black Communities

416-857-9036

[email protected]

 

Black Panther: WAKANDA FOREVER- National Community Screenings

The Foundation for Black Communities brings the World of Wakanda to Canadian Families with screening of “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”.

In partnership with the BlackNorth Initiative, Justice Fund, SETSI and the Black Screen Office screenings of the new Marvel film will be hosted at select Scotiabank Theatre locations across Canada.

FFBC Investment Readiness Program (IRP) Launch

The Foundation for Black Communities is proud to announce its Investment Readiness Program (IRP) in partnership with Community Foundations of Canada (CFC).