Every month I will highlight a Black artist, form of entertainment, business, or social media personality to help to spread awareness of Black Excellence. Be sure to check here on the 2nd of every month!
It's that time of year where everyone tries to rack up blessing points by donating to various charities and organizations. It's when the Salvation Army comes out ringing their bells and we drop countless dollars into the red buckets in hopes that good karma will come our way in return. Now this is all well and good, but may I suggest an alternative or maybe even an addition? Instead of just donating all of your holiday cash to a few tried and true orgs, try out some of these organizations, charities, and groups that could use the support AND that specifically target Black folks. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying it's bad to donate to organizations that don't focus on Black people, but just like with buying from Black businesses sometimes it helps to toss a few dollars to build up a community. By no means is this an exhaustive (complete) list, but you can definitely use it to help you find somewhere to start sending your money this holiday season.
The first organization I would like to highlight is actually a collection of charities and organizations dedicated to the betterment of Black people. For 13 years, the Institute For Black Charities has supported Black people by donating to educational causes, supporting Black families, and helping grassroots organizations maintain action. The Institute For Black Charities is a great place to start because of how many varied organizations they support, but for more specialized giving you have to look at a few other organizations.
The Lambi Fund is an organization founded through a joint effort from Haitians and Americans to assist the popular, democratic movement in Haiti. Named for the Haitian Creole word for conch shell (which has historical relevance to the organization), the Lambi Fund has historically supported Haitian development efforts since its inception. Considering the recent hurricane to devastate Haiti, supporting organizations in Haiti for Haiti is extremely important.
Speaking of important, it's hard not to recognize the slogan of the UNCF: "A mind is a terrible thing to waste." I shouldn't have to explain to you all how important an organization that gives scholarships almost exclusively to students of color is, but just in case I do, think about the rising costs of college education. Think about how people are almost forced to go to college nowadays to get the jobs they want, and then think about how few students can afford to even APPLY to college without some sort of scholarship. Then, once you've done all that, think about how much worse it can be (and often is) for Black students wanting to get an education. Thought about all that? Good. Now go donate to the United Negro College Fund.
Another very popular charitable/service organization is Black Girls Rock! Inc. The organization itself, though best known for the extremely popular awards ceremony, also does quite a bit to support Black girls all around the world with camps, initiatives, and just overall philanthropy to protect and support global Black girlhood. Beverly Bond created an amazing thing when she founded this organization, and if the AMAZING awards show is any indication, Black Girls Rock! Inc. is doing some great work in the community, and are more than worthy of support.
From the most popular to probably an organization you haven't heard much of, The Gentlemen's Foundation is an organization dedicated to bettering the lives of gay, bisexual, and transgender men of color. Though it is also a young organization (having been founded in 2014), The Gentlemen's Foundation and their annual gala, The Gentlemen's Ball, has done a lot to support queer men and honor them for their achievements. With constantly rising HIV/AIDS rates and QPOC (queer people of color) pushed to the margins in the mainstream LGBTQ movement, organizations like The Gentlemen's Foundation are particularly important.
The final organization to support on this month's spotlight is Array. Array is a film based movement headed by Ava Duvernay that is dedicated to releasing and distributing films by people of color and women filmmakers. It is responsible for movies like Mississippi Damned, Echo Park, and Middle of Nowhere being released to a large audience and for drumming up support of Black filmmaking. In a world where Black artistry is denied recognition and fighting to remain a factor, an organization like Array brings us the movies we so desperately want to see as well as give support to people who want to give us those masterpiece films that we talk about over Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner.