ABFE: A Philanthropic Partnership for Black Communities and the Hill-Snowdon Foundation launched the Black Social Change Funders Network (BSCFN) in 2015 understanding that the social and systemic changes necessary to make Black lives truly matter and thrive in this country can only be achieved if there is a robust and strong infrastructure for Black-led social, institutional and political power. BSCFN’s purpose is to advocate for philanthropy to significantly increase its investment in Black-led social change infrastructure over the long-term and in response to the lived conditions of the Black community. We see the Vision for Black Lives as a clarion call to action and philanthropy has to meaningfully step up to answer that call.

ABFE is a membership-based philanthropic organization that advocates for responsive and transformative investments in Black communities. Partnering with foundations, nonprofits and individuals, ABFE provides its members with professional development and technical assistance resources that further the philanthropic sector’s connection and responsiveness to issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion. Established in 1971 as the Association of Black Foundation Executives, the organization was credited with many of philanthropy’s early gains in diversity. It since has evolved into an influential network. In 2013, the organization shed its descriptor and adopted the simpler ABFE (ab-fee) to better reflect its broadening membership.

For more information, visit www.abfe.org.

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The Hill-Snowdon Foundation (HSF) was founded by Arthur B. Hill in 1959 and was managed by family members on a volunteer basis for 40 years as a typical “kitchen table” family foundation. By 1997, the Foundation’s assets had grown significantly, and the Board decided that they should be more strategic in their grantmaking. HSF partnered with the Tides Foundation beginning in 1998 and through this relationship developed a new focus to its grantmaking and began developing more systematic policies and procedures. In 2004, when Hill-Snowdon transitioned to a staffed foundation, the board members enumerated their goals. They wanted to take risks based on sound analysis. They wanted to be nimble and responsive to grant seekers. They wanted to be a leader among philanthropists, thereby educating other funders and encouraging them to consider investing in a strategic and underfunded program area.

The new focus for its grantmaking was grounded in a philosophy of justice and fairness for some of the most vulnerable members of this society, low-income families – particularly low-income, youth of color and low-wage workers. Specifically, HSF chose to focus on Youth Organizing and Economic Justice Organizing. Moreover, the Foundation’s new focus was also grounded in the idea of a re-invigorated democracy, particularly for those people who have been marginalized or whose voices had been held silent in the decision-making process to determine policies and practices that directly affect them. Thus, the Foundation adopted a core strategy of supporting community organizing in order to develop the leadership, skills and collective power of low-income communities to influence the decisions that impact their lives.

For more information, visit www.hillsnowdon.org.

To join the Black Social Change Funders Network, contact Edward Jones, Director of Programs, ABFE at ejones@abfe.org.