It’s Giving Tuesday and You Have a Choice to Make

December 3, 2019, 5:47 PM UTC

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Today is #GivingTuesday, a beautiful day focused on generosity. It’s become a global movement. 

Last #GivingTuesday, online donations totaled more than $400 million in 150 countries and generated more than 14.2 billion media impressions. That’s a lot of good being spread around the world.

But today is also an important opportunity to think about who doesn’t typically get funding and why.

Vanessa Daniel is the executive director of Groundswell, an organization that supports the community organizing efforts of transgender and women of color. She says that the MVPs of social change, black women, are left out of the loop.

From her recent opinion piece in the New York Times:

“I run a national public foundation, and I see up close that the people who are overrepresented in success at social change—women of color who lead grass-roots nonprofits—are wildly underrepresented in funding. Only 0.6 percent of foundation giving was targeted to women of color in 2016. The record for individual donors is not much better. 

Our misdirected philanthropy is costing us beyond measure. A mountain of evidence shows progressive victories are surging up from groups led by women of color, particularly black women, that build power on the ground—not trickling down from large Beltway organizations headed by white men.”

It’s also why lots of small donations can make such a difference. 

Aniyia Williams of Black & Brown Founders, Ellen Pao of Project Include, Karla Monterroso of Code2040, and Kimberly Bryant of Black Girls CODE made a similar point in a group Medium post.

They’re all women of color. They each run an organization dedicated to improving the diversity and quality of the tech sector, and like all nonprofit executives, they all worry if they will have the resources they need to keep going and growing. 

But they also know that big money can come with big problems.

“Our organizations run lean, with less money and fewer people than we’d like, and we squeeze the most of every minute of the day,” they write. “At this point in time, we must all recognize an uncomfortable truth: Our success relies on upending the status quo. The success of tech capitalists, their foundations, and big foundations in general relies on maintaining it.”

So, as you enjoy your Giving Tuesday, I encourage you to consider including the smaller, leaner organizations hiding in plain sight, and especially those run by people who look like the communities they wish to serve. 

When trickling up means breaking barriers down, a small amount of money, time, or social capital can go a long way.

Ellen McGirt


On Point

The Radcliffe Camera at Oxford.
David Madison via Getty Images

Tech investor Arlan Hamilton creates a new scholarship for Black undergrads at Oxford It will be a first for the storied university. The scholarship will fund the fees and living expenses of one undergraduate student a year for three years starting in 2020. Her goal is to make an Oxford education more available to Black students in the U.K.; recipients will be of African or Caribbean heritage and from low-income families. The scholarship is named for her mother, and is the first of many, she hopes. “I plan on doing this for several schools over the next decade, and starting with Oxford because I’ve spent a great deal of time with their students and faculty, and Dillard because it’s my mom’s alma mater and shaped her,” Hamilton says. Click through for her story. Even if you already know it, it’s worth your time.
USA Today

Harlem Capital closes a $40 million inaugural fund Founded in 2015 as an angel investing syndicate, the diversity-focused firm has closed its Harlem Capital Partners Venture Fund I, LP at $40.3 million, outperforming its target of $25 million. The fund has 55 limited partners, including TPG, State of Michigan Retirement Systems, Vanderbilt University, the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Consumer Technology Association, and Dorm Room Fund; half of the fund’s individual limited partners are women or people of color. The investments have begun and include Jobble, a marketplace for the gig economy; Wagmo, a pet wellness platform; and Aunt Flow, a B2B feminine hygiene products company.

Commuters exit the Wall Street subway station.
Michael Nagle—Bloomberg via Getty Images

A visual representation of U.S. wage inequality The New York Times has created a clear picture of where “inequality and economic growth now go hand in hand,”  in cities across the U.S. While the wage gap has increased across the U.S. since 1980, the gap between lower and higher-paid workers has grown significantly wider in places like New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Houston, Washington. Much of it has to do with the fact that higher-paid jobs are concentrated in the city, among other forces. But, says sociologist Tom VanHeuvelen, “[i]t seems obvious to me that it doesn’t need to be the way that it is right now. This isn’t the only inevitable outcome we have when we think about the relationship between cities, affluence and inequality."
New York Times

On Background

Nipsey Hussle web version
Nipsey Hussle attends the 61st Annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 10, 2019.
David Crotty—Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Remembering Nipsey Hussle GQ has done the world a service by collecting and publishing the tender memories of the people who knew and loved Ermias Joseph Asghedom, better known to the world as Nipsey Hussle. Asghedom was shot and killed outside his clothing store on March 31, 2019, a shocking end for a man who loved his neighborhood and was determined to reshape the world. "He was not confused about who he was and what his mission was," says his partner Lauren London. "And it was the upliftment of us, as a people."

How bias destroys science Kuheli Dutt is the assistant director for academic affairs and diversity at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, and a researches bias and gender in STEM fields. In this foundational piece, she ticks through the many ways implicit bias operates and explains how the persistent white-maleness of STEM fields have created an affirmative culture that’s hard to break. She offers some helpful tips to mitigating individual biases, but the big takeaway is that the system needs to change. “[I]f a certain group dominates a discipline, the new hires, future leaders, and role models in that discipline will also likely belong to that group and will continue to perpetuate the existing culture,” she writes.
Scientific American blog

The rise of Spanglish Not gonna mentir, this take has generated a healthy debate in the raceAhead network. All language evolves, but there’s an entire new version of Spanish emerging, the result of the collision between two cultures. And some educators are embracing Spanglish as a legitimate dialect. It’s also an opportunity to help some first-generation kids feel less guilty or called out for speaking a “less pure” version of the language their elders speak. “I think people get confused because they assume if you're brown, you speak perfect Spanish," says one college student. "People everywhere just expect you to be a certain way because of how you look."

Tamara El-Waylly helps write and produce raceAhead.


"The most important thing, number one, is you gotta get rid of doubt. If you got doubt in what you're doing, it's not gonna work and the way to do that is you have a plan. 'Cause if you got a plan, it's not just like a pipe-dream, you have a step-by-step list of things to do to get to your goal. If you don't have that, it’s very hard to really have faith in what you're doing 'cause soon as something pop up, it's gonna look like the end-all."

Nipsey Hussle


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