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The BLO Stabilizer is a component of the ASCEND:BLO Initiative to strengthen and preserve Bay Area Black-led nonprofit organizations.

Oakland, CA, February 3, 2020 – For the East Bay Community Foundation, its vision to advance an inclusive, fair, and just East Bay means increasing the capacity of local nonprofits to serve the needs of impacted communities. In service of this, today – the foundation announced the selection of six (6) Bay Area Black-led nonprofit organizations to join its inaugural ASCEND:BLO Stabilizer program. The Stabilizer program, the second component in the ASCEND: BLO Initiative, is a unique three-year program for mature, Black-led organizations. Each organization will receive financial support and strategic guidance as they plan for an executive leadership transition within the next two years. Designed for longstanding community anchor organizations, this multi-year program will bolster nonprofits serving Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, and is intended to minimize risk and provide strategic guidance through organizational transitions by providing leadership development, board recruitment and succession planning. The ASCEND:BLO inaugural nonprofit Stabilizer selections include:

  • A Black Education Network assists children and youth in reaching their full potential by facilitating academic and cultural excellence, using culturally informed research, technology, visionary parent education and networking in communities here and in diaspora contexts.
  • APEB (AIDS Project of the East Bay) works to prevent new HIV infections and supports individuals at risk for HIC infection or living with the virus through culturally sensitive, non-judgmental, and effective services.
  • Cypress Mandela Training Center is a community-based organization dedicated to improving the lives of the people by providing pre-apprentice construction, life skills training and employment assistance.
  • East Oakland Youth Development Center develops the social and leadership capacities of youth from high risk environments through interventions that foster relationships with caring adults to impart skills that increase well-being, academic excellence, and civic engagement.
  • Safe Return Project is comprised of formerly incarcerated individuals and their allies working to strengthen the relationship between people returning home from incarceration and the broader community; emphasizing self-sufficiency and long-term liberty.
  • The Hannah Project boosts the academic proficiency and college attendance of Marin City and other low-income youth of color by working in partnership to promote a community culture that encourages achievement, celebrates heritage, and equips families and students with the knowledge, skills, and strategies to fulfill their dreams and ambitions.

According to the Hill-Snowden Foundation and Alliance for the Black Foundation Executives (ABFE), many Black-led organizations face scarce funding, with the nation’s largest foundations contributing less than two percent (2%) of philanthropic funding to the Black community. In 2016, EBCF and leaders from other philanthropic organizations formed a funders’ collaborative to address these unique needs. The ASCEND:BLO initiative focuses on enhancing the growth, sustainability, impact, and sense of community for Black-led organizations through three programs: The Accelerator, Stabilizer, and the BLO Network. “The Stabilizer program addresses the ongoing funding shortfalls to ensure that vital community services are not interrupted,” said Byron Johnson, Capacity Building Initiative Officer. “As a community foundation, our duty is to champion local organizations so that they can thrive. We are thrilled to welcome the first members of ASCEND:BLO’s Stabilizer cohort and look forward to the collective progress we will make to strengthen local communities.” The foundation is particularly proud of the development of the BLO network which has grown from 175 Black-Led organizations in 2017 to over 300 today; throughout Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Mateo, San Francisco, and Santa Clara Counties. The ASCEND:BLO Network provides peer networking and learning for all affiliated BLOs, and includes access to workshops, speakers, and an annual conference. Combined, these Bay Area organizations manage over $610 million annually and employ over 9K people.


The ASCEND:BLO initiative is a capacity building program designed to support the growth, sustainability, and impact of BLOs in Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, and San Mateo counties. The first of its kind in the Bay Area, ASCEND:BLO has three (3) key components for effective nonprofit development – 1) A six-month Accelerator to bolster emerging, innovative BLOs; 2) a three-year stabilizer designed to support mature BLOs and; 3) a peer learning and networking community with access to relevant workshops and speakers. The collaborative is supported by the East Bay Community Foundation, the Akonadi Foundation, The California Endowment, The California Wellness Foundation, the County of Alameda, Kapor Center for Social Impact, The San Francisco Foundation, the Walter & Elise Haas Fund, and the Y & H Soda Foundation. Click here for more information about ASCEND:BLO.

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.