To celebrate 8/28 Day, we asked some of our Black Equity & Excellence Fund recipients this question: “What was your organization able to achieve/build because of the grant from the Black Equity & Excellence Fund?”
Here’s what Karla Green of the Dunbar Association had to say:
Though the year 2020 and 2021 have made it impossible to ignore the fact that racism is alive and well in America, the Black Equity & Excellence (BE&E) Fund has helped to lessen the impact.
The Fund has empowered Dunbar Association, Inc. (Dunbar) to better serve and meet the demands of the youth & families within Black & Brown communities during one of history’s most challenging times.
This grant recognizes the crucial work of Black-led organizations. It has enabled Dunbar to be more equipped with stable leadership and flexible resources to help the Syracuse community endure challenging and catastrophic events. The funding specifically helped to; (1) Decrease the negative impact of the global pandemic in Dunbar’s community by enabling the organization to address the emerging needs in a timely manner, (2) Provide access to small group counseling sessions to help youth, teens, and seniors process the ripple effect of community violence, police brutality and systemic racism throughout the country, (3) Provide a stable administrative structure to guide the agency during this challenging time. The ability to hire qualified people of color who understand the needs, struggles and hidden rules of the Black population is imperative – this funding makes that possible without a need for explanation, and (4) Enhanced youth, teens, and senior programming.
We at Dunbar, are hopeful that the Black Equity & Excellence initiative with the CNY Community Foundation will serve as a catalyst to encourage other individuals and funders to respond to the call – The call to increase the support of Black-led organizations (as they lead as ED’s and/or Board members), but more importantly, as they lead, serve, and make decisions on behalf of individuals and families in Black communities.
Though not a direct material benefit, the BE&E Fund has had a direct personal benefit for Dunbar’s Executive Director. The stable funding offset the vulnerability associated with being a black woman attempting to advocate or address the pain, undertones, and subtleties of racism with employers, funders, and various political figures that is often suffocating and debilitating. As a result of the pain and anguish of our experiences, we are compelled to “do the work” and pave the way for the next generation.
Knowing that initiatives such as the BE&E Fund believe in your vision helps wounds become assets and lessens the ability for scars to become triggers, requiring daily maintenance and cognizance. Despite the negatives alluded to, the work must continue…Frederick Douglass once said, “It is easier to build strong children than it is to repair broken men.” Funding such as the Black Excellence & Equity grant makes it possible to help build strong children. Therefore, the most difficult “tests” must become “testimonies” along the journey to implement real change and for that, we are indeed grateful.