#InvestBLK and the Black and Empty (BAE) Fund exists with a deep belief that Black folk and other marginalized groups can and should define their own needs without the due diligence of white abiding philanthropic leaders. Our goal is to sow into the lives of Black folk (and people who work and live in communities with Black folk) so we can release dreams, visions, projects, and/or ideas within our communities in the ways we define. We are purposely navigating away from systems created within white leaning philanthropy to ensure that the barriers it creates are alleviated in our giving process. Lastly, we want to challenge the idea that being a successful business means we must be profit maximizing. We intend to show that consultancies and small business have a new model to leverage change and reimagine community.
We invest directly with Black folk, folk who work and live in Black communities, and communities historically marginalized within our society. There is no need for any incorporation of your business; however, if you are a nonprofit we will count this as a donation to your organization. Our giving amounts are relatively modest, but we welcome people from across the United States to participate in the BAE Fund application process. Other than what has been shared, the only other guideline to apply is that you must have an idea that you believe will change you and a predominantly Black community; however, we are assembling a group of folk who love Black folk and have deep understandings of equity and community for our advisory council.
We currently have capacity for small investments under $2,000 and by 2031 our goal is to support individual investments of at least $10,000 with room for signature awards of greater amounts. We do not prescribe what a quality idea is – we want to learn from those most proximate to their community’s needs across the country about where they recognize growth areas and how they propose change. We will select ideas and people to invest in based on their perspective and the applicant’s intention for impact. We will request impact results from each awardee, but this is a growth-safe environment, and no one will be penalized for trying something new (whether it works out as planned or not). Moreover, the first financial investment is only the beginning of how we will support the awardees’ success. We offer three (3) phases of support: Financial, Technical Assistance, and Network Development, so our hope is that we will grow with awardees step-by-step.
#InvestBLK supports people and communities (which can be physical places or digital spaces) that are deeply inspired, inhabited, and supported by Black folk. We know that Black folk and people closest to inequities are living in a variety of sensibilities and geographies (urban, rural, etc.), and we aim to support people from various types of communities. We currently only fund domestically, but hope to one day be able to see investments in international Black communities as well.
#InvestBLK’s first application period will open on January 11, 2022 and we plan to offer one opportunity for funding each year. By 2024 we aim to offer two investment cycles (Winter and Summer).
#InvestBLK is a consultancy and burgeoning philanthropy, and we use #InvestBLK’s consulting profits as well as the support from BLK Sponsors to fund The BAE (Black and Empty) Fund. The amount of funding we give annually is dependent on our consulting business’ profits, so we cannot predict how much we will have to support each year at this time.
#InvestBLK will share money, technical assistance, and networks with Black folk, those in communities with Black folk, and marginalized communities to spark a reimagining of transformation led by the people most proximate to their communities’ growth, needs, and aspirations.
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