(Columbia, SC) — As a commitment to creating a more equitable, livable and just community, Central Carolina Community Foundation has awarded $70,000 in unrestricted General Operating Support grants to seven Black-led and Black-benefiting nonprofits in the Midlands. Central Carolina Community Foundation, the Midlands’ local center for philanthropy, is one of the first community foundations in the country to explore unrestricted general operating support grants specifically for Black-led and Black-benefiting nonprofit organizations.
The Community Foundation’s General Operating Support grant initiative is a $210,000 multiyear program aimed at removing some of the financial barriers nonprofits face as they strive to fulfill their missions. The seven nonprofits selected will receive $10,000 for up to three years, as well as organizational capacity-building training for recipients.
“Our region’s Black-led and Black-benefiting nonprofits told us that the lack of general operating support is a barrier to fulfilling their missions,” says JoAnn Turnquist, president and CEO of the Community Foundation. “These grants will help overcome this challenge and expand the impact of our seven grantees.”
The Foundation’s African American Philanthropy Committee (AAPC), along with Foundation staff, developed a list of Midlands-based Black-led and Black-benefiting nonprofits working within the service areas of education, human services and arts and culture. Following a webinar outlining grant requirements, Black-led and Black-benefiting nonprofits were invited to apply for the General Operating Support grants. Foundation staff and AAPC committee members interviewed 11 nonprofits in the final round, resulting in seven organizations being funded.
The following organizations have been selected by the Foundation as Black-led and Black-benefiting General Operating Support grant recipients:
- Cecil Williams Museum
- Communities in Schools of the Midlands
- Power in Changing: The Diaper Bank of the Midlands
- The Hive Community Circle
- The Luminal Theater
- Webgyrlz Code
Following the death of George Floyd in 2020, the Community Foundation committed to working with others to build a more equitable, livable and just community — for everyone. The General Operating Support grant initiative is one of the many ways the Foundation has worked to fulfill that commitment over the past year. Other initiatives include the following:
Community Foundation Hosts BIPOC Book Club
In January of 2021, the Community Foundation partnered with the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Central South Carolina Chapter to host a book club for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color executive directors, development staff and board members. The BIPOC Book Club taught participants fundraising best practices and skills that will help them best equip their staff, board and volunteers in supporting the fundraising goals of their organizations. Over the course of a month, the participants met weekly to discuss the book and fundraising topics, with a culmination discussion with the author.
“The BIPOC Book Club was an incredible experience that provided fundraisers of color with an opportunity to learn more about the work within our wheelhouse,” said Heather Singleton, principal consultant of Strategic Public Relations Consulting, who facilitated the book club’s discussions. “Even greater, we were given a chance to view this work in concert with our own lived experiences. It felt great to feel seen and supported within a safe space, and I’m grateful that the Community Foundation and AFP made this possible.”
Black, Indigenous and People of Color Leadership and Training Program
Beginning this month, June 2021, the Community Foundation’s Black, Indigenous and People of Color Leadership Training and Coaching Program — a free nine-month leadership development program for mid-level nonprofit professionals of color — welcomes its first cohort of 19 nonprofit professionals. The talent development and retention program is designed to increase participants’ knowledge, skills and confidence to seek promotional opportunities in the nonprofit sector.
Prioritizing Black, Indigenous, and People of Color-led Organizations in Grantmaking
Over the past year, the Community Foundation has prioritized Black, Indigenous and People of Color-led organizations in much of its grantmaking. In the spring of 2021, almost 30% of organizations receiving a Connected Communities grant were Black, Indigenous and People of Color-led. Most recently, more than 70% of One SC Fund: COVID-19 Response grants were awarded to Black, Indigenous and People of Color-led organizations that are highly trusted by and deeply embedded in communities most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Additionally, the Community Foundation created a Black-led and Black-benefiting nonprofit category on the Midlands Gives year-round platform allowing donors to easily identify and support Black-led and Black-benefiting nonprofits in the Foundation’s 11-county service area. Individuals interested in donating to Black-led and Black-benefiting nonprofits through the Midlands Gives platform can do so at www.MidlandsGives.org/nonprofits by adding the filter “Black-led, Black-benefiting.”
For more information about the Community Foundation’s initiatives, visit https://www.yourfoundation.org/impact-initiatives/ or call 803-254-5601.