The Building Movement Project’s 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. The report also provides recommendations to strengthen these nonprofits, leaders of color, and their communities well beyond the crisis response and recovery period and for decades to come.
In May 2020, BMP invited nonprofit executive directors and CEOs of color from across the United States to complete an online survey about the effects of COVID-19 on their communities, organizations and themselves. 433 nonprofit leaders of color responded to the survey. In June 2020, BMP conducted one-on-one interviews with 41 executive directors of color, drawn from the pool of survey respondents. These interviews took place after the start of the national uprisings, and explored questions related to both COVID-19 and anti-Black racism.
As this report shows, POC-led nonprofits are on the frontlines of response and recovery efforts related to both the pandemic and the calls for systemic change. As a result, their programs and strategies are shifting, and their financial and leadership needs are increasing. 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. The nonprofit sector, philanthropy, and government actors must follow the lead of POC-led nonprofits in order to secure a more equitable and just future for everyone.