The Black Future Co-op Fund, Washington state’s first Black-women-led philanthropy, announced $1.05 million in grants to 21 Black-woman-led organizations in their second round of statewide funding. These “We See You” grants represent the commitment the Black Future Co-op Fund has to investing in Black women who have invested in the wealth, health, and well-being of Black communities for generations.
“Black women have long been at the forefront of our collective liberation — strategizing, organizing, leading, and caring for our communities,” says Fund architect and State Senator T’wina Nobles (28th district). “With these grants, the Black Future Co-op Fund recognizes Black women who are champions and vital shapers of Black self-determination.”
The Black Future Co-op Fund was founded on the premise that Black communities know best what they need. Each grantee will receive $50,000 in unrestricted funds as an acknowledgment of and support for their work. Grants were made barrier free, intentionally breaking down obstacles to accessing needed resources.
“The ‘We See You’ grants illustrate our confidence in women who lead, but often do not receive adequate support to do the excellent work they envision for our communities,” says Andrea Caupain Sanderson, Fund architect and CEO of Byrd Barr Place. “This is about helping our people and organizations across the state be self-determined, to own our own stories, to reframe the narratives about us.”
Grant recipients are Black-woman-led organizations serving their communities through arts and culture, restorative healing, educational innovation, policy development, and more.
“We are four Black women from four very different backgrounds. In building this Fund, we’ve come together, walked together, and worked cooperatively together,” says Angela Jones, Fund architect and director of the Washington State Initiative at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “We are expanding the network of critical support created by those who came before us, and being good ancestors for future generations.”
For generations, Black-led organizations have been systematically under-resourced. Only 1.8% of traditional philanthropic dollars go to Black-led organizations.
“The Black Future Co-op Fund is shifting the philanthropic paradigm by building trust and investing in Black-woman-led organizations,” says Fund architect and Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle President and CEO Michelle Merriweather. “We know these Black women are best equipped to lead, and that they and their organizations deserve to be seen, supported, and encouraged to continue forging pathways toward a liberated and prosperous future.”
Since its launch in June 2020, the Black Future Co-op Fund has invested $2.75 million to advance its mission of igniting Black generational wealth, health, and well-being. This round of funding is intended to continue fueling the work already being done in Black communities across the state.