The coronavirus pandemic has become an amplifier of the structural racism that exists in the United States. In an age when anyone can reach mass audiences through social media, evidence of unequal treatment and racial bias toward the Black community abounds. Guided by their mission, “to help people respond effectively to injustices in the world,” Color of Change is the nation’s largest online racial justice organization. With 7 million online members, Color of Change advocates for justice by working with decision-makers in corporations and the government “to create a more human and less hostile world for Black people in the United States.”
To achieve racial justice and equity, Color of Change advances solutions to the systems oppressing the Black community from a holistic standpoint in areas such as criminal justice, culture change and media justice, voting freedom and democracy, technology justice, right wing politicians and white nationalism, and economic justice. During this time of social unrest and crisis in the country, funds from CAF America donors supported general operations at Color of Change in the name of social justice.
Operational funding is significant as it recognizes and addresses the acute need to support experts in the space, and demonstrates trust in organizations’ ability to allocate the funds where most needed. Moreover, as a result of the pandemic, many organizations’ ability to survive depends on funding directed to support their digitization process —purchasing of cloud-base services, equipment, or securing internet access for staff —covering salaries, office rent, and other overhead costs. In a CAF America survey, 60% of the respondents (779 organizations) ranked unrestricted funding to cover operational cost as their most acute need, while in a corporate survey 49% of the respondents (72 corporations) allocated funding for salaries, rent, utilities, technology, and other operational expenses. It is uncertain when this global pandemic will end, however, it is clear that there is a need for a more strategic approach to strengthening the infrastructure and future-proofing the social sector.
The country’s journey toward racial justice is one as old as the nation itself. The pandemic has only heightened the need for wholesale reform and Color of Change has been a force in pressing for it. Interest in supporting the movement is gaining momentum. According to a Center for Effective Philanthropy report, in the US alone, almost 90% of foundations said that they will be focusing more on racial equity. For more information on Color of Change, visit the website.