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Fund to Assist African American Communities, which have been Disproportionately Impacted by COVID-19.

Oakland, CA – In partnership with the Brotherhood of Elders Network (BOEN), the East Bay Community Foundation (EBCF) today announced it will serve as home to the African American Response Circle Fund (AARC). Established in April 2020 through an initial $50,000 contribution in seed funding from foundations and individual donors, the AARC Fund is intended to respond to COVID-19 related needs, which has fast become a public health crisis for African Americans who live, work, and worship in Alameda County. Immediately, the Fund will respond to a number of pandemic issues, as well as be a vehicle for supporting future needs as they are identified.

Black Americans are among the highest confirmed cases of COVID-19 and have died from the coronavirus at a much higher rate than other racial groups. Add to this systemic inequities that have led to economic, housing and health vulnerabilities, and the outcomes are sobering. “Our communities are at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 due to underlying health conditions such as diabetes, lung disease, and asthma, in addition to being employed in an economy that was built on an essential workforce, that is predominately African American,” said Chief Network Officer of the BOEN, Greg Hodge.

Many African American-led organizations have begun reporting significant economic impacts including revenue and budget shortages in the areas of programming support for the arts, education, health, housing, civic engagement, youth, economic development, and other vital community services. The AARC Fund will support African American-led organizations and community leaders with relief efforts during the current and post COVID-19 crisis, which is estimated to have continued impacts in the years to come.

The fund’s grantmaking strategy will be informed by local non-profit organizations that serve African American communities. It will support actions recommended by fund advisors in the domains of K-16 education, housing and economic supports, health and well-being, and grassroots communications and access to information. Within those areas, an emphasis will be placed on sub-groups of K-16 students; unhoused neighbors; small and emerging businesses; returning citizens; people with disabilities; and senior citizens.

“As an African American, a civil rights attorney, and an executive in philanthropy ––  I have seen firsthand the ways that systems have failed the Black community,” said EBCF President and CEO, James W. Head. “Today however, I am thrilled to be a part of a forward-looking, committed group of leaders who are directing needed resources to communities that have been hardest hit.”

For more information, or to make a contribution, or to learn more about the AARC Fund, visit ebcf.org.

About The Brotherhood of Elders Network

The Brotherhood of Elders Network is an intergenerational network of men of African descent based in Oakland, California, whose mission is to foster environments where Black males are empowered to flourish. For more information, visit brotherhoodofelders.net. 

About East Bay Community Foundation

Founded in 1928, East Bay Community Foundation (EBCF) connects donors with community-led movements to eliminate structural barriers, advance racial equity, and create an inclusive, fair, and just East Bay. Recognized as 2019’s “Boldest Community Foundation” by Inside Philanthropy, EBCF is committed to ensuring that all members of our community are treated fairly, with equitable opportunity and outcomes. EBCF is supported by 600 local donors and has charitable assets under management of over $600 million.