In Celebration of Black Philanthropy Month, Waterbury Residents Form a Group to Create Economic Opportunities in the Black Community
Every August, community leaders, nonprofits, donors and foundations around the world celebrate Black Philanthropy Month, which was launched in 2011 to commemorate the United Nations Year and Decade of People of African Descent. This year, the creation of the Waterbury Black Giving Circle (WBGC) is shining a light on Black philanthropy in our local community. The WBGC, which was launched on Juneteenth, is made up of residents who share a desire to create change through charitable giving and to have a positive impact on the local Black community.
Giving circles like WBGC bring together people with similar interests or backgrounds to fund nonprofit initiatives that affect their community. In the case of the WBGC, members of the giving circle will pool their funds and select local nonprofit organizations whose work they will support through grants. WGBC plans to support Black-led initiatives aimed at developing and sustaining solutions to economic inequities through education, resources, and coalition building, and in turn fostering trust-based philanthropy by and for the Black community. Connecticut Community Foundation will hold and manage the fund for WBGC.
“It’s really important for us to talk about collective giving, and how economic sustainability can impact our families and our community as a whole,” said Akia S. Callum, Waterbury resident and member of the Giving Circle.
“I like the fact that with the Waterbury Black Giving Circle we can have ownership of where the money goes,” said Alicia Pittman, an Advisory Committee Member of the Circle, as well as a local entrepreneur and photographer. “I think that it will be beneficial to the community and small business owners like myself.”
“Many years ago, I heard a statistic that stuck with me. In the United States, nearly two-thirds of African American households donate to organizations and causes, to the tune of $11 billion each year. Indeed, aggregate charitable giving by African Americans is increasing at a faster rate than either our aggregate income or aggregate wealth. That data point, from the Kellogg Foundation, paints a very different picture of the Black community than we typically hear. It affirmed what I already knew—we give! It tells me that we are not merely the recipients of aid but that we are actively involved and committed financially to causes and organizations that we care about,” said Kathy Taylor, WBGC Advisory Committee Member. “Knowing the power of community, unity, and collective and cooperative economics, I am happy to be a founding member and part of the Waterbury Black Giving Circle. I invite join us and be a catalyst for positive change within our community!”
Voting membership in the WBGC is open to people who identify as Black/African-American. Membership runs from January 1 through December 31 of each year. An annual minimum contribution of $365 is required to vote at the grantmaking meeting. Individuals who do not identify as Black/African-American but who would like to support the Circle’s work may also contribute as non-voting Solidarity Members. Please visit: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/waterbury-black-giving-circle if you would like to become a member or contribute.