In honor of the 57th Anniversary of the 16th Street Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama, last week, a group of powerful Black women created a fund dedicated to Black girls to raise $1 billion throughout the next decade to support the development of the next generation.
According to a press release shared with Blavity, the Black Girl Freedom Fund is looking to bring in money to support the ambitions of the next generation of Black girls for investment in "innovation, health, safety, education, research, and joy of Black girls and their families.”
The group explained their goals, highlighting how philanthropic organizations donate just $5.48 per woman and girl of color in the United States, according to a study from July by the Ms. Foundation For Women.
According to the organization's research, foundations spend .5% of the $66.9 billion donated each year on women of color. The study also found that organizations serving specific populations like Black women and girls were generally operating with budgets less than $50,000.
“At this very moment, Black Lives Matter has emerged as our nation’s largest political movement and racial justice is receiving unprecedented philanthropic support. And yet, Black girls and young women still remain adultified, victimized by violence, and erased from the very same social justice movement for which they continue to risk their lives,” the letter stated.
The effort will be led by Dr. Monique Morris, executive director of Grantmakers for Girls of Color; LaTosha Brown, founder of Black Girls Dream Fund; Tarana Burke, founder of the ‘Me Too.’ Movement; Fatima Goss Graves, president and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center; Joanne Smith, founding president and CEO of Girls for Gender Equity; Salamishah Tillet and Scheherazade Tillet, founders of A Long Walk Home; Teresa Younger, president and CEO of the Ms. Foundation for Women.
The open letter was signed by a lengthy list of prominent Black women leaders including Melissa Harris-Perry, Valerie Jarrett, Rashida Jones, Jurnee Smollett, Gabrielle Union and many more.
In the open letter, the women said the Black Girl Freedom Fund will strive to provide Black girls with the kind of support that they need to thrive.
The support will come in a variety of forms but will focus mostly on organizing, mapping assets, legal advocacy and work to highlight the structural violence perpetrated against Black girls.
“We, Black women and Femme activists, artists, educators, organizers, and philanthropists, have come together at the historic time to call attention to the fact that Black girls in the United States are in crisis. From discrimination in education and healthcare to sexual assault and policing, the lives and livelihoods of Black girls and young women are notably absent in the public narratives, policies, and justice movements most crucial to addressing inequality and racial trauma,” the letter read.
Within the Black Girl Freedom Fund is also the Black Girls Dream Fund, which is looking to raise $100 million in a 10-year initiative led by the Southern Black Girls and Women’s Consortium.
The Black Girls Dream Fund is focused exclusively on Black girls in the south of the United States and is striving to fundraise and increase access to grants for Black women-led organizations in the south.
“We believe that by investing $1 billion in Black girls and young women over the next decade, we can make the biggest change possible. It is clear that, with intention and investment, Black girls can thrive. We call on you to robustly invest in Black girls and women’s leadership, innovation, wellness, advocacy. This support is necessary for our collective freedom and to ensure that all Black Lives Matter, now and tomorrow,” the letter said.