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

Building Movement Project’s latest report, On the Frontlines: Nonprofits Led by People of Color Confront COVID-19 and Structural Racism, shines a spotlight on how 2020’s social upheavals are affecting people of color-led (POC) nonprofit organizations and their communities, programs, leadership, and financial sustainability. BMP surveyed 433 nonprofit leaders of color and conducted 41 in-depth interviews over the past few months to understand the impact of leading during times of crisis and possibility.

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Our report shows that POC-led nonprofits – which tend to be smaller, community-based and less resourced – are at the frontlines of crisis response related to both the pandemic and the calls for systemic change. And, people of color leaders tell us that they expect to be in crisis mode in the near future as they address the overwhelming needs of their communities.

Despite these conditions, POC-led nonprofits are refusing to return to business as usual. They are charting new paths for systemic change, solidarity, and sustainability. Now it’s up to the nonprofit sector, philanthropy, and government actors to follow the lead of POC-led nonprofits in order to secure a more equitable and just future for everyone. Read the executive summary and the full report, and share with your colleagues, networks, and on social media.

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#POCNonprofits #OnTheFrontlines

Key Findings Overview

1 | The Crisis Is About To Get Worse

2 | We Must Unite to End Anti-Black Racism

3 | Nonprofits Are Filling Government Gaps

4 | Women of Color Leaders Responding to the Crisis Are Experiencing an Immense Toll

5 | It's Time For Systemic Change

Systems and
Policy Change

  • Access to Basic Services for All

  • Provide Universal Access to Health Care

  • Ensure Food and Housing Access

  • Safeguard Rights of Workers

  • Provide Access to Technology and Education

  • Defund and Dismantle Policing Systems

Recommendations for Philanthropy

  • Commit to Supporting Black- and POC-led Organizations

  • Align Internal Commitments to Racial Equity with External Grantmaking

  • Balance Rapid Response Funding with a Decades-Long Strategy

  • Invest in POC Leaders with an Emphasis on Sustainability 

Recommendations for the Nonprofit Sector

  • Create a Culture of Well-Being

  • Recognize and Respond to the Effects of the Current Climate

  • Listen to and Follow Knowledge and Experiences of POC Leaders

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