I was saying good-bye to one of our guests at last Friday's DER luncheon
in Oakland when another man came up to him and gave him his card. "I come to a lot of these gatherings, but you're the first Black man I've ever seen at one of these things, and I just wanted to introduce myself."
And he's so right. Oh, I could name a few other Black men I occasionally see at fundraising trainings throughout the Bay Area, put on by DER and other organizations, but the point is the fundraising profession --both here and across the country -- is overwhelmingly dominated by White-identified European-Americans, like me.
According to my Center of Philanthropy
Certification in Fund Raising Management 2004 training materials, in past years "there has been no significant change in the ethic backgrounds of fundraisers, at least among fundraisers who join professional organizations." In 1982 and 1990 CASE
surveys, People of Color represented 4.5% and 5.6% of their membership respectively. In a more recent survey [1999?] sent to a random 2,501 members of AHP
, CASE and NSFRE/AFP
, all but 4.1% of the respondents were White.
Now one could quibble and say there are so few Black men in our field is because it is dominated by women. That's true, to a point, as that same survey of 2,501 documented the number of women in our field has surpassed the number of men. (Though not in the higher-level and higher-paying jobs. Naturally.)
Yet there simply is no denying the fact that whatever the gender, there is a huge gap between the actual number of fundraisers of color versus the communities we represent and serve. According to the 2000 Census
68.7% of the folks living in Oakland are People of Color. The gap between this number, and the actual percentage of fundraisers of color, can only be described as a statistical measurement of racism.
How such a gap cannot leave anyone feeling angry and frustrated is beyond me. If one were to argue there were say, even 2 or 3 times as many fundraisers of color in the Bay Area or nationally than identified in recent surveys, we would still have a long way to go toward creating equality within our profession.
So while I know that talking authentically about race can be challenging for many, I want to point you to a handy resource you might find helpful in engaging your own community. It's Damali Ayo's free guidebook I Can Fix It!
Here's the Cliff Notes:
Do you want to change racism in the world? Guess what? You have to start with yourself! Cause you know what? If you're not part of the solution, you are part of the problem! Here are five easy things you can do starting right now (and continue for the rest of your life)!
People of Color
- Admit it. You have a race.
- Listen up. Honoring People of Color and believing their experience is eye-opening.
- Educate yourself. Read a book or get on the Internet.
- Broaden your experience. But not until you've successfully completed steps 1-3.
- Make a plan. Take action. Become visible.
Are you sick of racism? Of course you are! But you want to do something to help move things forward without going crazy from frustration. Here are five easy things you can do starting right now (and continue for the rest of your life)!
- Get real. It's not that easy being "green."
- Speak out. "You didn't really just say that, did you?"
- Educate yourself. You don't have to teach White people, but you do have to educate yourself and other People of Color.
- Build ties with others. There is power in numbers
- Take care of yourself. Racism and combating it take their toll.
Here in the Bay Area, I've found the anti-racist training I've done with Untraining
to be very liberating. Other area resources including SOUL
, Catalyst Project
, Center for Third World Organizing
, Data Center
, Project Change
, and Applied Research
When it comes specifically to fundraising, locally there's CompassPoint's Fundraising Academy for People of Color
, as well as AFP-Golden Gate Chapter's Multi-Cultural Alliance
, which will soon be rolled out nationally by AFP. But the best organizations I know working today to change the face of philanthropy are GIFT
and Grassroots Fundraising
, which are in the process of merging. If you are concerned about the future of this field, please give them a look and consider offering them your support.
Labels: Activism, DER, Fundraising_Resources