ATLANTA – The Southern Black Women and Girls Consortium (SBGWC or The Consortium) is pleased to announce that it awarded funding to 71 organizations or projects from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia through the Black Girl Dream Fund.
The Consortium launched the Black Girl Dream Fund in September 2020 with a 10-year fundraising initiative to raise $100 million to financially empower organizations that serve Southern Black girls and women in the United States. The inaugural round of funding supports 71 organizations or projects, many of them small organizations that are often not funded by larger philanthropic efforts. The SBGWC aims to shift current grantmaking efforts in the South, channeling greater resources toward organizations that are intentionally supporting and empowering Black girls and women.
Guided by the voices of hundreds of girls who participated in SBGWC Girlhood Listening Sessions, the Consortium has made a commitment to fund what they heard girls say they need. The Black Girl Dream Fund supports education, community development, entrepreneurship, health, travel and cultural exposure, and wellness and safety. The Consortium recruited a Wisdom Council of 37 Black women leaders from across a 12 state region to select grantee partners.
Funding What Girls Need
Our funding includes grants to ensure that Black girls and women are provided opportunities to engage in activities that improve and uplift their communities in the spirit of justice and equity and support their self-determination. The Consortium awarded more than $373, 000 for social justice projects, including the Fannie Lou Hamer Institute of Advocacy & Social Action in Wendell, North Carolina. The Fannie Lou Hamer Institute of Advocacy & Social Action teaches girls debate principles and how to research information for strong debate arguments that effectively promote their points of view; how to create advocacy campaign materials, and how to understand the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches of North Carolina Government.
The Consortium also provided funding for economic opportunity projects in which Black girls and women are provided opportunities and/or support to participate in career development and training, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy and wellbeing. The Miss Socialite Initiative in Dillion, South Carolina exposes girls from 10-18 to entrepreneurship. The group’s Young Socialite Scholarship Accelerator is a three-week summer camp that offers professional development, tours to local business schools, and self-esteem building. In Savannah, Georgia ReNforce will provide tailored training and educational opportunities in skilled trades to improve employment outcomes for system-impacted young women, ages 18-24 years old. System-impacted refers to the young women who have interacted with the criminal and legal system. When a young woman enters male-dominated skilled trades such as electrical, plumbing, or HVAC, she has the chance to become a leader and help fill a gap in the labor force. The Consortium awarded more than $120, 000 for economic opportunity projects to these and other grantee partners.
Projects supporting educational efforts were awarded more than $940,000 in grants. Among the SBGWC new grantee partners is Brown Girls Read from Spartanburg, South Carolina. The group aims to inspire girls to become lifelong readers, improve their literacy skills and develop leadership skills necessary to prepare and empower them for leadership in their communities. The project is driven by the 2019 Nation Report Card from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) that found that only 15 percent of Black 8th graders were at or above reading proficiency. Only 17 percent of Black 12th graders reached proficiency. The Consortium also funded EVE Robotics in Atlanta, Georgia, an all-Black girl STEM program. The program was started by a girl whose interest in robotics was not initially recognized. Today, the EVE Robotics ranges in ages from 9-18. They have been the only all-girl varsity level robotics team in Georgia since 2019 and they are the only all-Black girl varsity level team in the United States.
Throughout 2021 girls engaged in SBGWC programming prioritized their physical and mental health. As a result, the SBGWC funded more than $650,000 to organizations or projects geared toward projects that provide Black girls safe, nurturing, and healing preventive and curative experiences by trained and caring health professionals (i.e., physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual). In North Miami, Florida, Zoe’s Dolls enrolls girls ages 13-17 to give them access to a licensed family therapist, who is also a Black woman. The project, led by the 15-year old CEO, addresses mental health in girls through an innovative approach. The project pairs the popularity of the box subscription trend with mental health. Girls who are enrolled receive monthly “JOY” boxes containing weekly activities that girls can lead with their families. Also funded, Black Girls Smile efforts span the entire SBGWC 12 state region. Black Girls Smile is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, and focuses its programming and initiatives on girls ages 13 – 23. The program aims to increase mental health literacy, decrease suicide behaviors, and increase help-seeking behaviors. In Utica, Mississippi Back In The Saddle (BITS) creates a safe space for Black girls through horseback riding.
Successful grantee partners were able to demonstrate their ability to center girls as they learned about through the SBGWC grantmaking model. Funded projects included girls as participants and also called on girls to inform and lead the projects. The SWBGC will divide this inaugural class of grantee partners into regional cohorts to provide greater skill development and networking throughout the year-long funding period.
For a complete list of funding grantee partners visit southernblackgirls.org. To schedule an interview with an SBGWC leader or a grantee partner, contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
ABOUT: The Southern Black Girls & Women’s Consortium is led by— the Appalachian Community Fund, the Black Belt Community Foundation, the Fund for Southern Communities, and TruthSpeaks Innovation Foundation — all Black women in philanthropy, activism, and girls’ work, who hold deep roots in movement-building throughout the Southeast. Learn more at southernblackgirls.org
About Appalachian Community Fund
The Appalachian Community Fund (ACF) funds and encourages grassroots social change in Central Appalachia (East Tennessee, Eastern Kentucky, Southwest Virginia and West Virginia). ACF works to build a sustainable base of resources to support community-led organizations seeking to overcome and address the underlying cause of poverty and oppression. ACF awards grants to community-based organizations working for social, economic, racial and environmental justice. They support communities with little or no access to other financial resources and grassroots groups which are often too small, too new, or working on issues that are too controversial for traditional funding sources. Since 1987, ACF has granted over $6.5 million dollars to more than 300 grassroots organizations working on social change in Central Appalachia. Many of those grants were for general operating support, as well as special projects, and over $100,000 of that funding was for technical assistance. Learn more at http://www.appalachiancommunityfund.org.
About Black Belt Community Foundation
Alabama‘s Black Belt stretches across the middle of the state from Mississippi almost to the Georgia line. Rich in human, religious, geographic and political diversity, the Black Belt got its name from the region’s rich, dark soil. It is also home to the highest percentage of African Americans in Alabama. Founded in 2004 with the idea that those living and working in the Black Belt best knew the area’s challenges and opportunities, the Black Belt Community Foundation (BBCF) actively puts needed resources into the region that make a lasting impact. Learn more at http://blackbeltfound.org.
About Fund for Southern Communities
The Fund for Southern Communities (FSC) is a public foundation that supports and unites organizations and donors working to create just and sustainable communities that are free of oppression and that embrace and celebrate all people. Through grantmaking and related activities the Fund fosters social change initiated by community-based groups in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. Since it began in 1981, FSC has awarded thousands of grants, totaling over $7 million. We work with small, grassroots organizations that often are isolated from the larger movement networks and rely on individual volunteers – people directly affected by the injustices they are addressing. Our grantees serve approximately 10,000 people each year. Learn more at www.fundforsouth.org.
About TruthSpeaks Innovation Foundation
TruthSpeaks Innovation Foundation is a social impact foundation committed to providing critical business and organizational infrastructure support to Black girls and women across the global south. Black girls and women are the backbone of the nation. throughout the United States. Yet, they are often overlooked, underestimated, and underinvested in. With the largest concentration of Black girls and women residing in twelve states throughout the South, TruthSpeaks Innovation Foundation will center our work on providing them with leadership, social, and financial investment. For so long, we have done so much with so little. TruthSpeaks Innovation Foundation will be the multiplier that extracts the greatness and increases it for the good of communities.http://www.truthspeaksfund.org