Facebook awards $1 million to Cleveland Black Futures Fund

Now over $4 million, the Fund plans to open applications early next year for
Black-led and Black-serving social change organizations engaged in anti-racism work in Cleveland

CLEVELAND (Dec. 11, 2020) – Catalyzed by a $1 million grant from Facebook, the Cleveland Black Futures Fund today announced it has amassed more than $4 million since inception on Sept. 1 to invest in and strengthen Black-led and Black-serving social change organizations.

Today’s announcement is part of Facebook’s commitment to support Black businesses, creators and nonprofits. The Cleveland Foundation was one of 20 community foundations to receive funding as part of the California-based social media corporation’s announcement today. The Cleveland Black Futures Fund has received additional support from George W. Codrington Charitable Foundation ($50,000), The HealthComp Foundation ($60,000), Saint Luke’s Foundation ($150,000) and the Treu-Mart Fund ($100,000), as well as nearly $40,000 in individual donations.

“We’re excited to work with the Cleveland Foundation to help bring much needed funding to nonprofits that are serving and supporting the Black community in Greater Cleveland,” said Marcy Scott Lynn, Facebook director of global impact partnerships. “We’re providing funding directly to the Cleveland Foundation to build on its track record of supporting Black-led nonprofits and ensure that people locally are making the decisions about where these dollars are most needed and can have the most impact.”

The overarching goal of the Cleveland Black Futures Fund is to strengthen the ecosystem of Black leaders and Black-serving organizations in Greater Cleveland by providing intentional resources to help grow organizational infrastructure and capacity. Long term, the foundation aims to deepen the field of leaders working to dismantle systemic racism and advance the community towards racial equity.

In recent months, both the COVID-19 pandemic and the historic protests happening nationally and locally have prompted a bolder call to action to address systemic racism and its devastating effects in the Greater Cleveland community. While Cleveland is home to a dynamic network of Black leaders working on solutions to these problems, The Association of Black Foundation Executives (ABFE) has reported that significant inequities exist within the national philanthropic field at a time when outcomes and disparities for Black children, families and neighborhoods in many areas have widened.

The Cleveland Black Futures Fund also announced today the inaugural members of its advisory committee, which will guide the application parameters and grantmaking process. The seven-person group is comprised of community leaders working alongside foundation representatives:

  • Courtenay A. Barton, Program Director for Arts & Culture and Racial Equity Initiatives, Cleveland Foundation
  • Carrie Carpenter, Board Member, Cleveland Foundation
  • The Rev. Dr. Robin Hedgeman, Board Member, Cleveland Foundation
  • Constance Hill-Johnson, Board Member, Cleveland Foundation
  • Treye Johnson, Regional Outreach Manager, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland
  • Shanelle Smith Whigham, Vice President, Sustainability & Social Impact, KeyBank
  • Timothy L. Tramble Sr., President & CEO, Saint Luke’s Foundation

“We thank Facebook, and all the foundations and individuals who have contributed to the Cleveland Black Futures Fund,” said Courtenay Barton, Cleveland Foundation program director for arts & culture and racial equity initiatives. “Dismantling systemic racism will require the cooperation of people in various capacities to all be committed to this long-term work. Just as there are visionary leaders on the ground creating new initiatives and responding directly to community needs, there are equally passionate people who can provide the resources necessary to get the work done. The Fund is a vehicle that can connect givers to doers.”

The Cleveland Black Futures Fund builds on the work of the African American Philanthropy Committee of the Cleveland Foundation (AAPC), which has promoted awareness and education about the benefits of wealth and community preservation through philanthropy since 1993. Established in 2010, the AAPC Legacy Fund supports a variety of organizations within the Black community of Greater Cleveland. The Cleveland Black Futures Fund will offer and additional pool of resources to complement the impact of the AAPC and its Legacy Fund.

The creation of the Cleveland Black Futures Fund came on the heels of a June vote by Cleveland City Council in which racism was declared a public health crisis, with the city required under guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to take action to eliminate disparities causing health issues. Cuyahoga County Council also passed a resolution declaring racism a public health crisis and announced a Citizens’ Advisory Council on Equity, to which Cleveland Foundation Senior Vice President for Program India Pierce Lee was appointed.

Additional details on the grantmaking process – including the application process and timeline – will be available in January 2021. For more information or to donate to the Cleveland Black Futures Fund, visit ClevelandFoundation.org/Futures.

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