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Black communities overlooked by Canadian Philanthropy

Black communities overlooked by Canadian Philanthropy

Canada NewsWire

The Foundation for Black Communities emerges to bridge critical gap and spark change in philanthropic sector.

TORONTO, Dec. 2, 2020 /CNW/ - Research suggests the Canadian philanthropic sector has failed to support the urgent and specific needs of Black communities in Canada, according to Unfunded: Black Communities Overlooked by Canadian Philanthropy, a new report released today.  Experts across the country see the Foundation for Black Communities (FBC), a first-of-its-kind philanthropic foundation, led by and for Black people, with a focus on investing in and supporting Black communities as a unique opportunity to address this critical gap in Canada's philanthropic sector.

Prepared by the Network for the Advancement of Black Communities and Carleton University's Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership Program, the report reveals Canadian philanthropy has largely been absent in supporting Black people in Canada. In fact, a review of 40 leading Canadian foundations, whose assets total nearly $16 billion, revealed only 6 of these foundations funded Black-serving organizations and two foundations funded Black-led organizations between 2017 and 2018.

"The report's findings are startling, yet unsurprising." said Rebecca Darwent, working group member of the Foundation for Black Communities. "For many Black leaders within the charitable and non-profit sector, this report only affirms what we already knew, that Canadian philanthropy has turned a blind eye to Black communities."

There are currently 1.2 million Black people in Canada, representing 3.5 percent of the total population. By 2036, it is expected that the Black population will increase to nearly 5.6 per cent. While Black people in Canada make significant contributions to the social, cultural and economic well-being of our country, this community also faces severe inequity.  Worsened by COVID-19, the economic downturn and the enduring crisis of anti-Black racism, Black communities continue to face poor education and health outcomes, economic exclusion, precarity in housing, food insecurity, over-policing and disproportionate involvement with the criminal justice system.

Despite Canadian philanthropy's aim to ensuring the realization of fairness, equity and equality of opportunity for all Canadians, for Black communities that remains an unfulfilled commitment. "When you look at the philanthropic sector and you realize that we're not demographically representative, then you have to conclude that, even with the best intentions, I can't presume to be meeting your needs, because you're not telling me, because we're not in conversation. We're not in a relationship." said Kevin McCort, President of the Vancouver Foundation.

The report points to the Foundation for Black Communities as playing leading role in strengthening the relationship and renewing commitments between Canadian philanthropy and Black communities.

"The concerns of Black communities are often muted by the question where's the data?" says Liban Abokor, member of the working group for the Foundation for Black Communities. "This report lays out the stark numbers. Question is, now that we know, what will we do?"


  • 1.2 million Black people in Canada, representing 3.5 percent of the total population. By 2036, population of Black people expected to increase to nearly 5.6 per cent.
  • Most of Canada's Black population lives in large urban centres like Toronto and Montreal, but the Prairies have the fastest growing Black population.
  • The top 15 community foundations disbursed 0.07 percent of funds in the 2017 and 2018 fiscal years to Black-led organizations, and only 0.7 percent of funds to Black-serving organizations in the same timeframe.
  • Of the 25 private and public foundations we surveyed, only two foundations funded Black-led organizations over the 2017 and 2018 fiscal years, and only six foundations funded Black-serving organizations in the same timeframe.

About Foundation for Black Communities

The Foundation for Black Communities exists to ensure every Black person in Canada can thrive and all Black communities have agency in defining their own future.

The Foundation for Black Communities will invest in change making, working with Canadian philanthropic, political and business partners to ensure that Black-led and Black-serving organizations have the sustained resources they need to make meaningful impact.

The development of the Foundation for Black Communities is being led by a working group of Black professionals within the non-profit, charitable, philanthropic and community development sectors. The working group is also supported by a growing network of Black and Ally leaders from across Canada with expertise in various sectors such as philanthropy, academia, business/finance, technology, social innovation, youth engagement, non-profit management, arts & culture, healthcare, law and much more.

SOURCE Foundation for Black Communities

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