NEW REPORT: On the Frontlines: Nonprofits Led by People of Color Confront COVID-19 and Structural Racism


Kavita Mehra (Sakhi for South Asian Women) is one of the executive directors of color that Building Movement Project interviewed in the process of producing our latest report, On the Frontlines: Nonprofits Led by People of Color Confront COVID-19 and Structural Racism. The report presents data collected from over 400 nonprofit executive directors and CEOs of color about the effects of COVID-19 and the uprisings against anti-Black racism on their communities, organizations, and themselves.

On the Frontlines makes five key findings:

  1. The Crisis Is About To Get Worse: Organizations led by people of color are preparing for multiple crises in the immediate future due to unmet survival needs, a resurgence of COVID-19, and policies that criminalize communities of color.
  2. Nonprofits Are Filling Government Gaps: Since the start of the pandemic, organizations have been pivoting to meet the pressing demands of their communities and filling the gaps left by ineffective government policies and systems.
  3. Women of Color Leaders are Bearing The Brunt: The toll on nonprofit leaders of color, particularly women of color leaders, is immense.
  4. The Long-Term Sustainability of POC-Led Nonprofits Is Unclear: The long-term financial stability of POC-led nonprofits is unclear.
  5. We Must Unite to End Anti-Black Racism: POC-led organizations that are responding to the uprisings against anti-Black racism need partnerships and investments that deepen their organizing, advocacy, and solidarity efforts.

We heard an overarching message from leaders of color: there is no going back to normal, and this is the opportunity and moment for meaningful systemic change.

How do we get there? The report offers recommendations for how nonprofits, foundations, and the sector can support leaders of color so that they can continue doing their vital work, how we can focus our efforts on systemic and structural issues, and how to achieve transformational change.

You can explore more of the data, findings and recommendations here. And, we invite you to join us in October at several online events including a presentation at Upswell, a conversation with nonprofit leaders in New Mexico, and our national webinar about the report on October 20th.

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