Skip to Content

AUSTIN, Texas – Austin Community Foundation announced today the launch of The Black Fund, a new giving network that aims to unleash the power of Black-led organizations and uplift solutions to benefit the Black community in Central Texas. Driven by data and community voice, The Black Fund strives for an equitable, just society that nurtures the growth, economic security, and wellness of Black people.

Spearheaded by Black leaders in Austin, The Black Fund was established in response to systemic inequities impacting Black people in Austin. For decades, Black-led organizations have worked to advance justice, through organizing and advocacy in Austin, yet, they still remain underfunded. According to a study by the Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity, in 2018 only 6% of philanthropic dollars supported racial equity work and only 1% supported racial justice work. The Black Fund is best positioned to sustain the critical work that has historically been undercapitalized. 

The Black Fund at Austin Community Foundation is committed to investing more than $1 million in the Black community over the next three years. The Foundation has dedicated $200,000 of its discretionary funds to build the framework of the program. To date, Google, Indeed, Notley, and MFI Foundation, among others, have provided generous grants to help launch the fund.  

“The creation of the Black Fund is an opportunity for Austin to intentionally invest in equity, embrace the unique assets of the Black community, and support longstanding impactful initiatives of Black-led and Black serving organizations,” said Colette Pierce Burnette, co-founder of The Black Fund and former president of Huston-Tillotson University.  

By investing in Black-led organizations, The Black Fund will work to create an equitable system in which Black people can thrive, disparate outcomes will decrease, and Black-led organizations will be fully empowered to contribute to a more sustainable community that benefits everyone. 

“We recognize that economic security for Black residents is essential to our region’s collective success,” said Mike Nellis, chief executive officer, Austin Community Foundation. “By co-creating The Black Fund at Austin Community Foundation, we are taking a deliberate approach toward racial equity in the region so every Central Texan can thrive and prosper. We are thankful to the community leaders who have helped lead and guide this work, and now we’re asking for support from our entire community to ensure its success.” 

The Black Fund will distribute funding through grants to Black-led and Black-serving nonprofits. The first grant applications will open in September and funding will be awarded in February 2023 to organizations working in four impact areas defined by leaders of The Black Fund, which include: 

  • Education 
  • Health and Wellness 
  • Power Building, Organizing and Advocacy 
  • Wealth Building 

More details about the grant application will be released soon.  

Founders of the fund include Colette Pierce Burnette, Ed.D., Kendra Garrett, and, Jameila “Meme” Styles. Terry P. Mitchell and Pam Benson Owens are fundraising co-chairs.   

To learn more about the Black Fund and how you can donate, visit www.austincf.org/TheBlackFund