Black Philanthropy Month: Investing in Women and Girls of Color
Guest Blog: Reflecting on the Catalytic Impact of Investing in Women and Girls of Color
When I launched Moore Philanthropy in 2015 I made a commitment to highlighting investments made by donors in the African Diaspora, lifting up the demonstrated proof that we are investors and not only recipients. But as I reflect upon Black Philanthropy Month 2020 and my 21 years in institutional philanthropy, I am saddened and quite honestly angered by the ongoing failure to invest in Black women and Women of Color, not only in the U.S. but around the world.
While I re-examine both my own personal path in philanthropy and my work in institutional philanthropy I realize that all I have learned didn’t come from being the board chair of one of the largest women’s funds in the world. It also didn’t come from serving on the boards of local, national, and global foundations. When I reflect back on my life of tithing I must say that I learned all I know from the Women of Color in my life.
Initially there was my mother dragging me to cook and serve food for those with no home of their own and my grandmother waking me up at sunrise on Christmas morning to take food to folks who had no one. There’s my baby sister who, as a young college student, understood how systemic racism had already impacted our privileged lives. And I sit in awe of my sister-in-law’s gentle and quiet kindness using her talent as a stylist to make sure our beautiful elders, who paved the way for our success, always look their best irrespective of their ability to pay.
As a daughter, sister, and aunt of Black men and boys I fully supported the focus on carving out a path for not only their well-being but for their maximum success. But as the movement for Black Men and Boys continued (which later morphed into work around Boys and Young Men of Color) I began to wonder when we would examine the needs, sacrifices, and barriers of the women raising and supporting those Young Men of Color.
Women and Girls of Color are most often dismissed and rendered faceless while our consistent support continues to be felt well beyond our own households. Collectively we lift up entire communities. Yet even the most wealthy and educated of Women of Color in the U.S. still suffer devastatingly high maternal mortality rates, in part, because the stress of simply existing has taken its toll on our bodies.
But I am constantly heartened and emboldened when reminded of my sister colleagues in philanthropy like The Women’s Foundation of Colorado, The New York Women’s Foundation, the African Women’s Development Fund and Pivotal Ventures who all understand the value of Women and Girls of Color and have committed to investing in Women and Girls of Color.
Investment makes the difference. Investments help our partners working at the ground level to combat and break down barriers to success while replacing them with solutions that make sense for their community. And this is the work that has the potential to begin dismantling the systems preventing Women and Girls of Color from making our very deepest impact, ultimately lifting us all. Because that’s how Women of Color occupy the world. Our interest is in seeing not only our own communities thrive, but in seeing to the betterment of our neighbors as well.
2020 has become a year of revelation for many. Women and Girls of Color welcome you to the conversation. Will you join us or sit comfortably in your denial and privilege?
Yvonne L. Moore is the Founder and Principal Advisor at Moore Philanthropy and Moore Impact, advising donors of wealth and means on their philanthropic giving, both domestically and internationally, while investing for impact with a commitment to racial justice, equity, and shared power.