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Black Men XCEL: Changing the Narrative

Attend the Black Men XCEL Summit: Celebrating the Best of Who We Are, from August 30-September 3 in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. The goal of the conference is to honor black men, as part of the larger aim to “challenge and change the narrative of black men, from one of dysfunction and defeat, to a more accurate representation of leadership, excellence, and triumph, often in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.” The event will include an awards ceremony “designed to be the ultimate recognition of the brilliance and outstanding contributions of black men across industries ranging from business and entertainment to sports and social activism.” The Campaign for Black Male Achievement’s Shawn Dove will be presented as the first ever “BE Modern Man of the Year,” and Representative John Lewis, a civil rights icon, will be honored.

Prevent Foundations from Deepening Racism

Read Trabian Shorters’  analysis of the warped mentality many progressive foundations have when considering their work in black communities. Shorters argues that the combative War on Poverty narrative that “casts black children in the role of threat” and turns the “urban schools, homes, and cities in which they dwell” into battlefields helps cement racism, rather than fight it. He urges philanthropists to craft a new narrative by highlighting positive statistics and discussing the successes of black Americans in areas such as parenting, patriotism, enterprise, and generosity. He includes other tips for nonprofit leaders, including depositing money in black owned banks and working with consulting firms that have people of color in their senior leadership.

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August is Black Philanthropy Month

Get involved with 2017’s Black Philanthropy Month, an annual worldwide celebration of giving by people of African descent. The goals of BPM are “informing, involving, inspiring and investing in Black philanthropic leadership to strengthen African-American and African-descent giving in all its forms.” BPM was created in 2011 and now includes “high-impact events, media stories and service projects.” The central theme for 2017 is Giving Voice to Fuel Change. BPM Campaign Architects Dr. Jacqueline Copeland-Carson, Tracey Webb, and Valaida Fullwood are know as philanthropy trailblazers.

What Does Advocacy Look Like Today?

Dive in to key tips that the Urgent Action Fund (UAF) has identified for its frontline activists hoping to do effective organizing in the “different environment” that has emerged in the U.S. over the last six months. UAF has found that progressive agendas depend on grassroots mobilization, supporting intersectional activism is crucial, and working with international actors can be key to progress in the United States.

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MacArthur Foundation Commits to Chicago

Explore the array of Community Capital Grants, amounting to $10 million total, awarded by the MacArthur Foundation to strengthen Chicago organizations and prevent gun violence in the city. The Foundation considers justice one of its central tenets and is committed to “helping achieve a better Chicago for all.” Some of the grantees include: Black Youth Project 100 Education Fund, Latinos Progresando, Mikva Challenge, Little Black Pearl Workshop, Cabrini Green Legal Aid, Sweet Water Foundation, and The Chicago Fund for Safe and Peaceful Communities.

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Kenan Charitable Trust Invests in Young Black Men

See how the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust plans to make a difference in the lives of young black men with over $5 million in new funding for fellowships in Lexington and Louisville, Kentucky. Two civic leadership fellowships will be created in these cities for black men and boys aged 16-24, especially for those impacted by community violence, and hopefully encourage them to “invest in their futures and offer opportunities for education, jobs and careers combined with leadership development and mentoring support.” The Kenan Trust partnered with Cities United and the Campaign for Black Male Achievement to create this strategy, which is based on “the belief that young Black men are assets to our communities and cities. They are creative, resourceful and whole, and if given the right support system and opportunities, they will thrive.”

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Data Gives a Platform to People of Color

Learn about Data for Black Lives, a new “organization that compiles facts and figures to try to makes sense of black people’s individual and collective experiences as an act of social and political resistance.” Founders Yeshimabeit Milner and Lucas Mason-Brown aim to unite scientists and activists around solving issues of redlining, gerrymandering, police violence, and maternal mortality rates, and in doing so prevent data from being used against communities of color.

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Escaping the Mold: An Exchange on Manhood

Follow the deep and eye-opening email exchange between Dwight Vidale (founder of the Young Men of Color Symposium) and Dorian O. Burton (executive director of the Kenan Charitable Trust) as they discuss black masculinity, vulnerability, and self-love. As Dorian writes: “you are my brother and man to man I offer my ears to listen, my hands to do the work of our communities, and most importantly I offer my shoulder to cry on, because the sooner we realize boys do cry and they have a village willing to listen, work, and dry their tears, the quicker we will truly step into our masculinity and the men we have been destined to be.”

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My Value as a Black Male Teacher

Read this PBS piece written by Virginia middle school teacher Ricky House about the importance of black males educators in his own life, and the impact he hopes to make on his students and his school as one himself. PBS reports the troubling statistic that only 2 percent of U.S. public schools teachers are black males, and House concludes: “While black men alone cannot change the landscape of our nation’s public schools, they most certainly are needed in America’s classrooms. This country must come to truly appreciate their value in the classroom and do more to recruit and retain high quality black male educators.”

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Art for Justice Fund Established

Dive in to the news that philanthropist Agnes Gund has given a $100 million donation from the sale of her personal art collection to create the new national Art for Justice Fund. In partnership with the Ford Foundation and Rockefeller Philanthropic Advisors, Gund’s donation will “provide vital new resources to organizations working to address mass incarceration.” Gund chose to give to such organizations because she believes “the criminal justice system in its current state—particularly in its treatment of people of color—is unfair and unjust” and hopes her fund “can inspire change and help pave the way for a better, safer future for our communities and the millions of people whose lives are devastated by mass incarceration.”

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