To honor, celebrate, cultivate, and support our Black donors, this year the ACLU of Louisiana launched a first-of-its-kind Black Donor Network, a group of 30 African American supporters who work in philanthropy, education, public health, finance, law, and other fields, and range in age from late 20s to mid 70s. Among the participants of honor is civil rights legend Leona Tate, who integrated McDonogh #19 Elementary School with Gail Etienne and Tessie Prevost, on the same day that Ruby Bridges integrated William Frantz Elementary School a mile away. Through the Black Donor Network, we sought to accomplish the following goals:
- Create a philanthropic community between our Black supporters and honor their support of the ACLU of Louisiana and allied organizations as part of the historic movement for racial justice;
- Foster a peer learning group where members can safely discuss lived experiences, philanthropic goals in Louisiana, and the challenges faced in pursuing those goals;
- Support members in advancing our philanthropic goals by bringing in desired speakers and resources;
- Cultivate a joint gift to the ACLU of Louisiana, and individual gifts to allied organizations working in the spaces members are passionate about;
- Glean insights and feedback from members on how the ACLU of Louisiana can grow our base of Black supporters.
Since the program’s launch in March 2022, our Black Donor Network members have met monthly and participated in virtual opportunities for engagement. Together, we’ve studied Black philanthropy as movement work throughout history; shared examples of what giving looked like in our own families - from cooking for the neighborhood every Sunday, to creating an endowed scholarship that would honor our ancestors; and we stretched the definition of philanthropy to include all the giving that the Black community does. We’ve gotten clear on our passion issues and where we want to make the most impact individually and as a community.
To encourage other groups and organizations to launch their own Black Donor Network, the ACLU of Louisiana has compiled the following tool kit as a resource: