Non-profit

California Black Freedom Fund

Website:

cablackfreedomfund.org/

Location:

Los Angeles, CA

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Type:

Grantmaking Organization

Formation:

February 2021

The California Black Freedom Fund (CBFF) is a left-of-center grantmaking initiative that plans to spend $100 million over 5 years to address alleged systemic racism against African Americans in California.  Formally announced in 2021, initial donors to the Fund include JPMorgan Chase, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the California Endowment, the Emerson Collective, the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, and the Weingart Foundation. [1]

CBFF is the first so-called “racial equity” fund to provide financial support exclusively to organizations run by African Americans that work in African-American communities. [2] In February 2021, CBFF launched its first round of funding with an initial investment of $32.4 million. The Fund distributed the grants to the Black Census and Redistricting Hub, the Black Equity Collective, and PICO California’s Live Free/Bring the HEAT initiative. [3]

Founding

The California Black Freedom Fund was formed out of discussions held by the California Executive Roundtable, a group of 16 leaders of leaders of left-of-center foundations in California brought together by the left-of-center Weingart Foundation. [4] California Executive Roundtable began raising money for the creation of the California Black Freedom Fund after the Black Lives Matter protests following the May 2020 police-custody death of George Floyd.

Funded Projects

In February 2021, CBFF launched its first round of funding with an initial investment of $32.4 million. The Fund distributed the grants to the Black Census and Redistricting Hub, the Black Equity Collective, and PICO California’s Live Free/Bring the HEAT initiative. [5]

PICO California’s Bring the HEAT initiative calls on every elected official to make a public pledge to “#FireAllRacistCops.” Bring the HEAT has also called on local police departments to violate officer privacy by investigating all “police issued phones, lockers, emails, chat rooms” in order to assess what it deems to be explicit racial bias among police officers. [6]

Funding Goals

The California Black Freedom Fund has pledged to donate $100 million over 5 years to address what it perceives as systemic racism. The organization has pledged that $73.5 million of that amount will go directly to nonprofit organizations, while $7 million will go directly to political campaigns and activities that endorse left-of-center perspectives on race. CBFF will issue several rounds of grants, including three rounds of invite-only grantmaking for 2021.[7]

The Fund has adopted several left-of-center goals of its own, including removing Confederate statues, re-labeling allegedly racist food packaging, closing prisons, and defunding law enforcement agencies. [8]

Administration

The California Black Freedom Fund will be managed administratively by the left-of-center Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF). SVCF has been the target of dozens of allegations of abusive management and sexual harassment in the past. [9] The Fund will be guided by an advisory team as well, but its members have not been made public as of March 2021.

Organizers

Stuart Burden represents the CBFF to organizations seeking to partner with the Fund. He is the vice president for corporate and foundation relations at the SVCF. He previously managed grant portfolios at the MacArthur Foundation and worked on special projects at the Ford Foundation. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University and a master’s degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. [10][11]

Kaci Patterson leads the Black Equity Collective, one of the CBFF’s major investments. Patterson claims that California has not sufficiently supported left-of-center black activism despite its reputation for “being reliably progressive and blue” because the state has not “centered a Black power-building movement structure.”[12] In an interview with the Southern California Grantmakers, Black Equity Collective president Kaci Patterson accused Republicans in the 2020 presidential election of voting for “blatant voter suppression, blatant misinformation, blatant racism, blatant misogyny, and blatant anti-immigrant sentiments.” [13] Patterson was previously a commissioner for the California Bureau of Security and Investigative Services. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communication from Pepperdine University and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of La Verne.[14]

Ben McBride is the founder of the Bring the Heat Campaign, another of the CBFF’s major investments. McBride claims that in 2008, he intentionally moved his family to a high-crime neighborhood known as the “Kill Zone” in Oakland, California in order to “understand and respond to the epidemic of gun violence, firsthand.” McBride is the co-chair of the California Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory Board.[15]

Financials

As of February 2021, the California Black Freedom Fund had raised $32.4 million, aiming to raise the rest of the planned $100 million over the next five years. The Fund’s initial financial backers include the grantmaking organizations of Facebook executive Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan, the investment bank JPMorgan Chase, and Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of former Apple executive Steve Jobs. California-based major grantmaking organizations such as the Akonadi Foundation and the San Francisco Foundation are also part of the initial effort to fund the CBFF.[16]

 

References

  1. Funders join together to Launch $100 Million California BLACK Freedom Fund. (2021, February 04). Retrieved March 07, 2021, from https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/funders-join-together-to-launch-100-million-california-black-freedom-fund-301222605.html ^
  2. Hadero, H. (2021, February 04). Zuckerberg part of $100m ‘California BLACK freedom fund’. Retrieved March 07, 2021, from https://apnews.com/article/race-and-ethnicity-laurene-powell-jobs-priscilla-chan-mark-zuckerberg-philanthropy-816ab1482e391bf5e21ed8139cd4e554 ^
  3. Funders join together to Launch $100 Million California BLACK Freedom Fund. (2021, February 04). Retrieved March 07, 2021, from https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/funders-join-together-to-launch-100-million-california-black-freedom-fund-301222605.html ^
  4. Weingart Foundation: Leadership in the sector. (n.d.). Retrieved March 07, 2021, from https://www.weingartfnd.org/leadership-in-the-sector ^
  5. Funders join together to Launch $100 Million California BLACK Freedom Fund. (2021, February 04). Retrieved March 07, 2021, from https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/funders-join-together-to-launch-100-million-california-black-freedom-fund-301222605.html ^
  6. Bring the HEAT. (n.d.). Retrieved March 07, 2021, from https://www.bringtheheat.info/ ^
  7. FAQ’s. (n.d.). Retrieved March 07, 2021, from https://cablackfreedomfund.org/faqs ^
  8. California Black Freedom Fund. (2021, February 04). Retrieved March 07, 2021, from https://cablackfreedomfund.org/ ^
  9. FAQ’s. (n.d.). Retrieved March 07, 2021, from https://cablackfreedomfund.org/faqs ^
  10. About The Fund. California Black Freedom Fund. Accessed June 11, 2021. https://cablackfreedomfund.org/#about ^
  11. Stuart Burden. Silicon Valley Community Foundation. Accessed June 11, 2021. https://www.siliconvalleycf.org/stuart-burden ^
  12.   Kaci Patterson. California Black Freedom Fund. Accessed June 11, 2021. https://cablackfreedomfund.org/kaci-patterson ^
  13. The Black Equity COLLECTIVE’S vision for racial justice and liberation. (2021, February 03). Retrieved March 07, 2021, from https://www.socalgrantmakers.org/news/black-equity-collective-s-vision-racial-justice-and-liberation ^
  14. Kaci Patterson. LinkedIn. Accessed June 11, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/kacipatterson/ ^
  15. Bio. Ben McBride. Accessed June 11, 2021. http://www.benmcbride.com/bio ^
  16.   Haleluya Hadero. “Zuckerberg part of $100M ‘California Black Freedom Fund.’” Associated Press. February 4, 2021. Accessed June 11, 2021. https://apnews.com/article/race-and-ethnicity-laurene-powell-jobs-priscilla-chan-mark-zuckerberg-philanthropy-816ab1482e391bf5e21ed8139cd4e554 ^
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California Black Freedom Fund


Los Angeles, CA