Story at a glance

  • Following the explosion of Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping, Giving Tuesday was started to encourage donating to charities and other causes.
  • This year, many Americans have been inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement to give towards racial justice.
  • A new collaboration highlights Black-led nonprofit organizations to donate towards.

In the eight years since Giving Tuesday was born in New York, the movement has spread across the United States and the world. But while giving is good in theory, activists are now asking Americans to take a closer look at whether they are really putting their money where their mouth is.  


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“In recent months, there has been an unprecedented level of giving to criminal justice and racial justice causes, but relatively little of that funding has gone to organizations with Black leadership. It is imperative that we use this moment to advance Black communities and that starts with supporting organizations that are rooted there,” said Patrice Sulton, attorney and founding director of DC Justice Lab, in a release. “Change that is well-informed and led by the people who are most directly affected is more likely to be effective long-term.”

Ninety percent of the largest nonprofits are led by white directors, research shows, and Black-led nonprofits are often awarded less money with more strings attached. The low pay can also be a barrier to people of color who don’t have the means to support themselves and sometimes their families on such salaries. Meanwhile, those who can report some nonprofit organizations tokenize people of color, allowing them into the room without relinquishing any power. 


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"Just as many POC have done, our White colleagues need to look critically and without shame at their own generational history and trauma, the residue of White supremacy that persists in a country built on slavery and the construct of Whiteness, and the ways it permeates your thoughts and behaviors," wrote Helen Kim Ho for The Nonprofit Revolution

Which brings us to the Give Back Black project, which was launched by DC Justice Lab, a team of law and policy experts addressing incarceration, and Diverse Representation, which focuses on raising the number and profile of Black agents, attorneys, managers and publicists in sports and entertainment industries. The website has lists of civil rights and criminal justice organizations led by Black people, as well as a list of organizations led by Black women. The directory — available year round — reviews applications to be included on a quarterly basis, according to the website. 

“After the success of Diverse Representation, my former law school classmate Patrice and I both realized the need for a professional directory that accurately highlighted nonprofits that are committed to diversity and equality from the top down,” said Jaia Thomas, attorney and founder of Diverse Representation, in a release. “We’re especially proud to showcase Black women-led groups that are making a difference right now.”


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Published on Nov 30, 2020