Marc Philpart was named executive director of the California Black Freedom Fund in April 2022.
The five-year $100 million fund is an initiative to ensure that Black power-building and movement-based organizations have the sustained investments and resources they need to eradicate systemic and institutional racism.
On December 13th, the fund announced $1 million in general operating support to be distributed to five Black power-building organizations in Los Angeles. This is the fund’s fifth round of grants to date, with a total of approximately $26 million in investments that are building Black power across the state. Los Angeles Community Action Network (LA CAN), Dignity & Power Now, Students Deserve, The Hub at LA Black Worker Center, and Youth Justice Coalition were recipients of the funding to supercharge their organizing efforts in 2023 and beyond.
California Black Media asked Philpart to reflect on the past year and share his plans for 2023.
With the work you do advocating for African Americans in California, what was your biggest accomplishment in 2022?
The California Black Freedom Fund is a five-year, $100 million initiative to ensure that Black power-building and movement-based organizations have the sustained investments and resources they need to eradicate systemic and institutional racism.
The first state-based fund of its kind, the California Black Freedom Fund prioritizes investments in the courageous and visionary grassroots advocates and community leaders who are transforming our cities, our state -- and our world.
In 2022, across three rounds of grants, the California Black Freedom Fund invested approximately $11.8M in Black led power building organizations and networks across California.
What did you find most challenging over the past year?
Part of our work is to organize and educate the philanthropic sector on the giving gap and needs facing Black power building organizations in California.
Philanthropy has a shared opportunity and responsibility to marshal our resources in order to tackle systemic racism and anti-Blackness in communities across California.
We believe that private and corporate philanthropy has a huge opportunity to prioritize building the power and capacity of Black-led organizations as a strategic imperative.
I look forward to working with philanthropic leaders throughout California in the next year and beyond on this goal.
What are you most looking forward to in 2023?
We are excited to develop programs that can support the advocacy, research, and programming needs of Black power building organizations throughout California. By creating and accelerating a new statewide ecosystem of Black-led organizations confronting racism and anti-Blackness, this fund aims to affect the culture, policy and systems changes necessary to realize equity and justice in California.
What’s the biggest challenge Black Californians will face next year?
Our communities must prepare for a mass civic engagement effort that will dramatically expand the Black electorate in the 2024 election. Black power building organizations will need to advocate for new laws, educate and register voters, and innovate new approaches to voter turnout.
CBM: What’s your wish for this holiday season?
My one wish is that people keep ever present the threat that Black communities face with so much injustice in the world and give to Black led power building organizations in their communities or to the California Black Freedom Fund to support the critical work happening throughout the state.