Our sixteenth issue of PEAK Grantmaking Journal – Black Voices in Grants Management – makes space for Black grants professionals to be heard in the discussion on racial diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy. National conversations, various articles, and conferences have featured many voices from across the sector on these topics. However, the Black grants perspective has been largely bypassed and overlooked from the conversation.
The grantmaking community is still on its own journey to be seen and heard as strategic impact partners within foundations. The community’s role is often viewed as limited and functional, which can impact one’s sense of belonging.
Being Black in this context means having a distinct experience, both within our personal lives and within the professional sector. Like our colleagues, we have a unique opportunity to generate change and make an impact. But what too often goes unheard are our daily experiences navigating society within the challenging confines of race.
The purpose of this journal is to bring Black voices in grants management into the light and invite the broader PEAK membership and philanthropic community into some of these unheard experiences.
We want readers to absorb the variety of these experiences: To see color. To sit with the audacity of Black voices being heard and shaping the narrative. To feel the weight on Black agency and voice, and understand how the possibilities of this sector become damaged under the pressure to assimilate and conform to white-dominant culture. To challenge yourself to be uncomfortable. To discern the lessons from participating white allies.
Philanthropy is an isolated field, and grants management is more so. We want the Black grants community to know that your voice matters, and now has a platform to be heard.
“I am in the business world, not for myself alone, but to do all the good I can for the uplift of my race.”–Madam C.J. Walker to Booker T. Washington in 1912
This journal is dedicated to Madam C. J. Walker and her philanthropic legacy. First in her family to be born free, and one of America’s first black millionaires, Madam C.J. Walker was bold and successful in business and activism. She leveraged her fortune to fund black causes related to education, social services, and art, and was the largest funder of anti-lynching efforts in her time. Just over 100 years since her death, we honor her legacy of support for racial justice in America.
Roland Kennedy, Jr.
Image courtesy of Madam Walker Family Archives/A’Lelia Bundles