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Op-Ed: Four Things Philanthropy Should Do Differently This Black History Month

Feb. 6, 2024

By Makeeba McCreary

February is Black History Month, an annual celebration when we sharpen our focus on the achievements of Black people in the United States. Since its inception in the 1970s, Black History Month has also served as a reminder of the sacrifices made by Black people and the structural racism embedded in systems that drive disparate outcomes for people of color today. 

As a Black woman in a position of privilege, I brace myself every February for a myriad of speaking invitations, corporate announcements and new initiatives. Though I do believe most of these are well-intentioned, Black History Month has traditionally served as a time when America attempts to repair centuries of harm with a mile-wide, inch-deep approach that does not disrupt systemic racism in a meaningful way. 

This Black History Month, philanthropy has an opportunity to take a different way forward. Instead of doing more of the same — extra funding for education initiatives, a new scholarship program or a fleeting new community empowerment project — corporations, foundations and philanthropists can change their giving practice to better support Black leaders and begin to resource them with equitable dollars and respectful relationships. If we can remake philanthropy using this vision, we can change Black History Month from a month of acknowledgement and remembrance to a catalyst for disruption.

Read full op-ed in Inside Philanthropy.