The Cleveland Foundation is providing grants totaling over $1.3 million to 36 Black organizations as part of the most recent round from a fund that has given out over $6.8 million since its inception in late 2020.
According to the foundation, its grants are a component of the Cleveland Black Futures Fund, founded in the wake of the George Floyd protests to promote and increase the capacity of Black-led and Black-serving nonprofits.
The endowments come at a time when Edward Blum, a conservative activist who was a driving force behind the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down affirmative action in college admissions, has started a campaign to use the Civil Rights Act of 1866 to attack diversity efforts in business.
Joe Black, program manager for racial equity & racial justice programs at the Cleveland Foundation, noted a nationwide fundraising boom after Floyd’s murder in May 2020, but it has since subsided.
“We are committed to raising additional funds to continue supporting Black-led organizations, demonstrating our desire to focus not just on the moment,” Black said in a statement, “but to think about the long-term impacts of change.”
The Cleveland Black Futures Fund’s long-term objectives include expanding the pool of leaders engaged in the fight against structural racism and moving the people closer to racial parity.
The fund, which has given over $4.4 million in grants to more than 130 groups in Northeast Ohio, is currently funding its fourth round of awards. Jordan Community Resource/Residential Center, which helps women recovering from addiction and human trafficking, received the largest donation of $100,000. Other recipients include Hands-On Health, The Tavern Coffee House, Ohio Sister Circle, Young Men Growing, Larchmere Porchfest and Queen IAM, their gifts ranging from $15,000 to $75,000.
Eligible organizations can apply for the fifth round of funding in early spring 2024.
The Cleveland Foundation and its contributors have committed hundreds of millions of dollars to enhance healthcare access, housing, education and employment opportunities in greater Cleveland — where, while its expenditures have raised the quality of life for area families, racial gaps still persist. Even more than 50 years after the passage of the Fair Housing Act, the city remains among the most racially divided in the country, both physically and in terms of the outcomes of the economy, education and health, among other factors.
The focused efforts of Blum, president of the American Alliance for Equal Rights, are among them.
In June, the Supreme Court determined that the University of North Carolina’s and Harvard University’s race-conscious student admissions standards are illegal, a result of challenges brought by the Blum-founded Students for Fair Admissions.
He plans to use that successful legal action as the basis for the group’s future litigation.
So far, AAER has filed at least three lawsuits against initiatives to advance diversity. Its founder asserts that they are discriminatory because they exclude candidates based on race.
“The common theme of these organizations is to challenge in the courts the use of racial classifications and preferences in our nation’s policies,” Blum said, theGrio previously reported.
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