California Black Freedom Fund

Making
Racial Justice Real
in California

Photo by Hamilton Families, courtesy of San Francisco Foundation.

About the Fund

The California Black Freedom Fund is a five-year, $100 million initiative to ensure that Black power-building and movement-based organizations have the sustained investments and resources they need to eradicate systemic and institutional racism. 

The first state-based fund of its kind, the California Black Freedom Fund prioritizes investments in the courageous and visionary grassroots advocates and community leaders who are transforming our cities, our state -- and our world.

By creating and accelerating a new statewide ecosystem of Black-led organizations confronting racism and anti-Blackness, this fund aims to effect the culture, policy and systems changes necessary to realize equity and justice in California.

Learn more by downloading the California Black Freedom Fund concept paper.

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WHO WE ARE

Marc Philpart, Executive Director

Marc was named executive director of the California Black Freedom Fund in April 2022, bringing more than a decade of leadership in advocacy working with grassroots organizations to build power for racial justice.

Prior to joining the California Black Freedom Fund, Marc led the Alliance for Boys and Men of Color. Under his leadership, the Alliance successfully advanced more than 100 state policies and established powerful partnerships with the California Senate and Assembly Select Committees on the Status of Boys and Men of Color and the California Funders for Boys and Men of Color. Through Marc’s leadership, the Alliance broadened its focus to include fighting for gender justice and ending intimate partner violence by addressing misogyny and patriarchy, as well as racial equity.

Through these experiences, Marc has gained deep campaign and policy expertise across a wide array of issues, including public health and violence prevention, police and prison abolition, education, the criminalization of youth, economic equity and poverty eradication, and voting and civic engagement. Marc serves on the board of directors for the California Immigrant Policy Center, Partners for Dignity and Rights, and is on advisory committees for the University of Southern California’s Equity Research Institute and The Colorado Health Foundation’s locally focused work, and he is co-chair of the Equity Subcommittee of the Essentials for Childhood Initiative, a coalition coordinated by the California Department of Public Health and the California Department of Social Services.

Advisory Board

  • Rick Callender - NAACP
  • Joseph Devall - Ballmer Group
  • Joanna Jackson - Weingart Foundation
  • Byron Johnson - East Bay Community Foundation
  • Felicia Jones - Congregations Organized for Prophetic Engagement
  • Michael McAfee - PolicyLink
  • Rev. Ben McBride - Empower Initiative
  • Dr. Monique W. Morris - Grantmakers for Girls of Color
  • James King - Ella Baker Center for Human Rights
  • Kaci Patterson - Black Equity Collective
  • Retha Robinson - San Francisco Foundation
  • Anthony Thigpenn - California Calls

Why It Matters

Since the Great Migration, millions of Black Americans have settled in California, searching for opportunity and a better life for their families. Today, California has the sixth largest Black population in the country, but trails in funding infrastructure and building the capacity of Black-led organizations. 

The racial justice uprisings that have swept the nation after the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and so many more have shifted policies and culture across the country and in our state, giving us a glimpse of what a new, racially just California could look like. 

Now, we have the opportunity to make lasting change. The California Black Freedom Fund (CBFF) is founded on the belief that increasing the capacity and effectiveness of Black-led organizations will, in turn, enhance the freedom and self-determination of Black people most impacted by structural racism in order to drive California as a whole toward systemic transformation.

Black-led, movement-building organizations in California are addressing the multiple and intersecting harms of systemic racism, police violence and racial inequities our communities face. For example, organizations focus on stopping police violence, promoting education equity, improving health outcomes, championing voter registration and civic engagement, and crafting policies around increasing access to housing. These organizations need resources, now and in the future, to continue and strengthen their work. 

Philanthropy has the opportunity to sustain, build upon and accelerate the Black-led racial justice movement underway in California. Doing so requires investing in Black-led organizations to build and strengthen their organizing power within our communities.

Grant Support

Over the next five years, the California Black Freedom Fund will strategically increase the resources available to Black-led organizations throughout California, prioritizing the courageous and visionary grassroots advocates and organizers leading California as a whole toward systemic transformation. 

ANNOUNCING OUR LATEST ROUND OF GRANTMAKING:

Nearly $9 million in general operating grants has been awarded to 74 Black-led groups across California as part of our commitment to resource, connect and strengthen Black-led power-building organizations in the state:


In its first round of grantmaking, the California Black Freedom Fund invested over $6 million to support three established Black networks with proven, long-term working relationships with more than 50 Black-led organizations across the state:

Black Census and Redistricting Hub

A network of over 30 Black-led and Black-serving organizations maximizing participation in the census and redistricting process among hard to count Black communities. 

Black Equity Collective

A community-public-private partnership strengthening the long-term capacity and infrastructure of Black-led and Black-empowering social justice organizations in Southern California (Los Angeles County and Inland Empire).

PICO California: Live Free/ Bring the HEAT

Organizing intervention to protect the basic health, safety, and well-being of all people by demanding a series of immediate and sweeping changes to the current policing system in the United States. 

Current Fund Partners

The California Black Freedom Fund has set a goal of raising $100 million over the next five years through a mix of foundation, corporate and individual donor support. As of February 2021, nearly two dozen funders have joined this important effort as fund partners. To learn about how you can join us as a fund partner, please email Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

Updates & Stories

Reflection on the Two-Year Anniversary of George Floyd’s Murder

Two years ago this week, George Floyd was brutally murdered by a police officer in Minneapolis. His killing sparked national outrage and a global uprising. Around the world, people grieved, marched and protested the systemic racism and patriarchal violence that enabled his public death. In response, lawmakers, funders, companies and other civic leaders made commitments to address the routine state violence facing Black communities and right the historic wrongs. 

California Black Freedom Fund Hires Marc Philpart as First Executive Director

The California Black Freedom Fund (CBFF) has hired Marc Philpart, renowned advocate for boys and men of color, their families and communities, as its first executive director. Beginning April 27, Philpart will oversee the five-year-long initiative to raise and distribute $100 million so that California’s growing ecosystem of locally rooted Black-led organizing efforts have the sustained investments and resources they need to eradicate systemic and institutional racism. 

The California Black Freedom Fund is hiring an Executive Director

CBFF is seeking an Executive Director who will bring passion and creativity to the  design and implementation of a transformative, multi-year initiative.

Recording: Investing in Black Organizers on the Front Lines

Meet California Black Freedom Fund’s New Grant Partners

How Philanthropy Can Make a Lasting Commitment to Racial Justice

In this period of continued racial reckoning in America, we are reflecting on the days after Michael Brown was killed by a Ferguson, Missouri, police officer in 2014. The death of an 18-year-old Black boy and the lack of police accountability for the killing led to a wave of righteous protests across the country, along with pledges from philanthropy to invest more in Black-led movements for justice.

California Black Freedom Fund Invests Nearly $9 Million in 74 Black-led Power-Building Groups Around the State

The California Black Freedom Fund today announced nearly $9 million in general operating grants to 74 Black-led groups across California as part of its commitment to resource, connect and strengthen Black-led power-building organizations in the state.

Rev. Samuel Casey

“Foundations and society often expect Black organizations to do more with less than their counterparts. They tell us to make bricks without straw. And that just isn’t sustainable. It’s time to build and invest in movement building specifically for Black communities.”

Powering Black Organizing and Movement Building in California

The Recording of the Virtual Event – February 2021 Webinar.

CBFF Black Organizing PSA

The California Black Freedom Fund is a Five-Year, $100 Million initiative to ensure that Black Power-Building and movement-based Organization have the sustained investments and resources they need to eradicate systemic and institutional racism.

Funders Join Together to Launch $100 Million California Black Freedom Fund

New Fund Invests in Black Power-Building and Organizing in California. February 4, 2021 — Today, philanthropic organizations and funders joined together to launch the California Black Freedom Fund, a new $100 million initiative to provide abundant resources to Black-led power-building organizations in the state over the next five years.

Hear from Our Funder Partners

“To make racial justice and equity real in California, philanthropy needs to elevate its investments in Black organizers who are focused on advocacy, organizing and holding our institutions accountable — something that we call power-building. The vision of California Black Freedom Fund is to bring justice to our communities by making sure Black-led organizations are sufficiently supported and strong, and their leaders are galvanized.” Lateefah Simon, President, Akonadi Foundation

Angela Glover Blackwell

“We all have come to realize that we’re not going to make change incrementally. It has to be transformative. So, unleash and catch onto the tail of your radical imagination and let that take you into the future that we need. Fund radical imaginations all across the country for sustainable transformative change.”

Ben McBride

“My own story makes me committed to ensuring that no more Black boys and Black girls have to stand under the moonlit sky, staring down the barrel of a gun in fear for their life. This is what frames my call to be responsive, to reduce violence and why I’m a deep believer and proponent of the California Black Freedom Fund.”

Kaci Patterson

“If we are ever going to really fully deliver on the promise of California as the golden state, it means that Black people and Black communities have to be at the forefront of that change. We have to center their experiences, the life wisdom of Black people who know what it’s like to be marginalized and who can actually take us to the promised land.”

Shimica Gaskins

“We’re constantly being told that our ideas are not innovative enough when, in fact, we are trying to reverse the impacts of racism and solve problems that have been persistent for generations, which is the very core of innovation.”

Join Us

In this moment of reckoning for racial justice, we have a shared opportunity and responsibility to marshal our resources in order to tackle systemic racism in communities across California. These unprecedented times call for all of us—including philanthropy—to respond in new ways.

Through the California Black Freedom Fund, private, corporate and community foundations and individual donors have the opportunity to prioritize investments in Black-led organizations as a strategic imperative and turn this moment into a sustained movement. Join us in building the capacity and power of Black organizers and advocates to make justice real in California.

Join Us Now

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