Only 1.6% of all charitable giving in the United States (US) has been directed towards women & girls (Mesch & Osili, 2020). Historically, nonprofits led by Black women and people of color win less grant money and are trusted less to make decisions about how to spend those funds when compared to nonprofits led by white men and women (Rendon, 2020). Even for nonprofits that focus on similar issues, the gaps in funding opportunities and revenue are large. In all, nonprofit organizations led by Black women receive less money than those led by Black men and white women (Rendon, 2020).
In May of 2021, I published my master’s thesis: “Black Women Entrepreneurs: Understanding the Challenges and Proposing Policy for Equitable Change”, where I theorized that an entrepreneur must have strong business relationships, entrepreneurial skills, and capital in order to be successful (Younge, 2021). While nonprofits differ from for-profit businesses, these three components are also necessary to run a successful nonprofit organization. As nonprofit organizations led by Black women struggle to raise capital to run their organizations, Black women founders of for-profit startups share the same disparities. On Average, Black women raise $42,000 for their startups whereas the average amount raised for startups by white people across genders is $1.14million (projectdiane, 2018).
Every year, Giving Tuesday falls on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Last year (2020), nonprofits in the US alone raised a record of $2.47 billion dollars. Giving Tuesday is one of the most important and exciting days for fundraising of many non-for-profit organizations; many organizations like Get Girls Going, who are raising money directed towards women and girls, are historically gifted a small share (1.6%) of the overall charitable giving. Get Girls Going’s identity as an organization led by a Black woman that serves predominately Black women and girls, situates it at the intersection of the aforementioned systemic inequities existing in fundraising.
Since Get Girls Going launched in 2016, the feedback we have received from funding organizations have been almost uniformly: “you aren’t quite ready”, “you need more time to mature to see results”, “your operational budget is too small”, “your aspirations are too large”, to name a few. For organizations that are newly founded equipped with ideas that will change the world, this kind of feedback can be frustrating. Without a genuine trust and stream of funding directed towards people who are creating innovative solutions to deep systemic problems they are facing, we cannot develop future generations of people our world needs.
In 2020, Echoing Green and Bridgespan collaborated on a research project to investigate the depth of racial inequities in philanthropic funding. There were 5 major findings of their research that illuminates why it is extremely difficult for nonprofit leaders of color to raise funding:
1) 92% of all foundation presidents and 83% of all full-time staff are white.
2) 75% of white people have entirely white social networks.
3) Building rapport with foundation leaders is extremely challenging for nonprofit leaders of color who are typically not part of white social networks.
4) Since white funders and nonprofit leaders of color do not share similar experiences, unconscious biases are created.
5) Funding institutions seek measurement so stringent that it becomes costly and time consuming, calling into question that there might be a lack of trust of the recipient.
Giving Tuesday is a rare and beautiful opportunity that invites everyday people to come together and share acts of kindness through donations and championing causes that they care about. Unlike traditional philanthropic streams of funding, on Giving Tuesday, power lies in the hands of everybody and not just a majority white demographic that govern powerful funding institutions. People give on Giving Tuesday without regard to the aforementioned concern in the form of feedback organizations like Get Girls Going receive from traditional giving institutions. Giving Tuesday offers a crowdfunding model that allows people that are affected by the problem to be investors in and champions of the solutions they believe can address that problem.
The purpose of this blog post is to raise awareness and a call to action which we hope illuminates the disparities faced by organizations led by people of color, and specifically Black women and organizations serving women and girls when looking to raise capital for their work. It is our hope that when you make your next donation or investment in an organization, that you highly consider supporting an organization like Get Girls Going, an organization led by a Black woman or organization that supports women and girls.
If you do not know where to start, you can start here at Get Girls Going, where 100% of your contribution will go towards making Black women and teen girl dreams come true.