Since 2010 over 400,000 registered nonprofits have either closed their doors or lost their 501 (c)(3) status. Bay Area Black-Led Organizations (BLOs), which are lifelines to local communities and critical vehicles for community empowerment and civic participation, have been especially impacted. Although vital to their communities, these nonprofit organizations are shrinking in number and often lack the resources and connections to weather sudden shifts in the economy, including unprecedented increases in rents, or changes in philanthropic funders’ priorities that limit grants to invited applicants only. Many are still recovering from a period of fiscal belt tightening, restructuring and even closures; operating without strategic plans, or long-term strategies to attract emerging leaders to replace long-tenured ones. These challenges have resulted in compromised services to the low and moderate income communities they serve.
To address the needs of local BLOs, leaders from The East Bay Community Foundation, The San Francisco Foundation, The Kapor Center for Social Impact, The Y&H Soda Foundation, The California Endowment, The California Wellness Foundation and Akonadi Foundation came together to invest in a collaborative, capacity-building initiative designed to support the growth, sustainability and impact of these groups in four Bay Area Counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco and San Mateo.