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ABFE is a left-of-center philanthropic organization that promotes grantmaking in black communities. The organization includes a coalition of grantmaking organizations, individual donors, and other nonprofits that work to improve conditions in African-American communities.1

The organization began in 1971 as a volunteer organization for African-American executives. ABFE has since become a professional organization, running several programs to implement its vision for African-American communities. ABFE also engages in advocacy, launching a program calling on the philanthropic community to take concrete action against racism. ABFE maintains a network of African-American philanthropic organizations, engaging with its member organizations for a number of initiatives, including programming in career development for African-American professionals. 2


The organization has an advocacy program, which it uses to support a number of initiatives including the Leverage The Trust program. The goal of the program is to increase the number of African-American trustees at philanthropic organizations and to encourage philanthropic organizations to support racial equity in their programs and giving.3

ABFE also works to increase the number of African-American finance professionals working in philanthropy to encourage wealth building and increased investment in the African-American community.  ABFE further encourages philanthropic organizations to sign a “diversity pledge” committing them to these goals.45

To further influence the philanthropic community, ABFE has developed the Responsive Philanthropy in Black Communities program that provides a system of measurements for grantmakers to reduce racial disparities. In addition to providing these metric tools, the program encourages African-American leadership in philanthropic organizations and lobbies against government programs and regulations that it views as harmful to the Black community.6

ABFE works extensively to provide networking opportunities for its members, maintaining a network of regional philanthropic organizations with African-American leaders. ABFE also hosts an annual conference and provides professional development opportunities for African-American professionals.7

In 2020, the organization called on philanthropies to take action against anti-Black racism. A coalition of philanthropic organizations supported ABFE’s statement.8

Leadership and Funding

Susan Taylor Batten is the president and CEO of ABFE. She has been involved with ABFE since 2009. Prior to joining ABFE, Batten worked as a senior associate at the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Batten also has experience in the public sector, previously working for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and for the government of the District of Columbia.9

Janet Gumbs is ABFE’s vice president for finance and administration. Previously, Gumbs worked as controller at the Partnership for Afterschool Education, a New York City nonprofit. Before coming to ABFE, she worked for 20 years in senior accounting positions for nonprofits.10

Edward Jones is the vice president of programs for ABFE. Before joining ABFE, he was the director of conference programming at the Council on Foundations. He is a founding member of Black Benefactors and the Black Philanthropic Alliance.11

In 2018, ABFE raised $3.6 million and spent $2.6 million. ABFE’s largest expense was holding its annual conference, which cost $381,099. Its second largest expense was for the Responsive Philanthropy in Black Communities program which cost $366,295 in 2018 alone.12


  1.     “We Stand With ABFE”. 2020. Independent Sector.  
  2. “We Stand With ABFE”. 2020. Independent Sector.  
  3. “Leverage The Trust”. 2020. ABFE.   
  4.            “ABFE | Smart Investing”. 2020. ABFE.  
  5. “ABFE | The Investment Manager Diversity Pledge”. 2020. ABFE.  
  6. “ABFE | Responsive Philanthropy In Black Communities (RPBC)”. 2020. ABFE.  
  7. “ABFE | Networking And Convening”. 2020. ABFE.  
  8. “We Stand With ABFE”. 2020. Independent Sector.  
  9.      “ABFE | Susan Taylor Batten”. 2020. ABFE.  
  10. “ABFE | Janet Gumbs”. 2020. ABFE.  
  11. “ABFE | Edward M. Jones”. 2020. ABFE.  
  12. Form 990. 2018. Ebook.   
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