The movement for racial justice is ongoing, and you can pitch in. During 2020’s Black Lives Matter protests, millions of people across the country mobilized in the streets to protest against racism and police brutality, including the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Tony McDade, among others. The demonstrations emphasized the power of community, protest, and what it means to consistently strive for a better future — and that work will always need leaders. There are plenty of opportunities to help organizations working toward change, so if you're looking to bolster the futures of Black leaders, here's where to donate to support Black youth.
A big focus for many groups supporting Black youth is working toward providing equal opportunity and resources for children of every race in the school system. An August 2012 study from the Center for American Progress focusing on 2009 expenditure data from the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) found the department spent $733 less per student per year in schools with 90% or more students of color than it did in schools with 90% or more white students. In February 2019, non-profit organization EdBuild calculated educational expenditure data from 2015-2016 reports from the U.S. Census and the National Center for Education Statistics, and found that non-white school districts got a combined total of $23 billion less nationally than white districts, despite having a similar number of students. Black youth are also more heavily disciplined in schools than white students, leaving them vulnerable to the school-to-prison pipeline, a system in which students are criminalized for otherwise normal misbehavior, and being pushed out of school altogether and into the criminal justice system.
Black youth are also frequently disproportionately impacted by issues outside the classroom. When it comes to health care and resources, young gay Black men are the group most at risk for HIV/AIDS in the United States, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And while school shootings in white neighborhoods get much of the attention when it comes to gun violence, Black youth and teens are at much higher risk than their white counterparts — a 2019 paper from gun policy advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety found that Black children and teens were 14 times more likely to die by gun homicide than white children and teens, and gun violence was actually the leading cause of death for Black youth as of 2017 data.
In addition to help provide access to equitable education, these organizations also help Black youth facing discrimination and racism in daily life. This list will be continually updated with new organizations focused on supporting Black youth.
1. Brown Girls Do Ballet
Ballet has long been criticized for its lack of diversity: American Ballet Theater made headlines when it named its first Black principal ballerina, Misty Copeland, as recently as 2015. Brown Girls Do Ballet is a non-profit dedicated to fostering “diversity in the arts by providing annual scholarships, a mentor network, and community programs” to empower young Black and brown dancers. To help this organization “raise the barre” for representation in the ballet industry, you can donate here.
2. The Sphinx Organization
Founded in 1996 by Aaron Dworkin to address cultural and racial stereotypes in classical music, the Sphinx Organization is committed to addressing the underrepresentation of people of color in the arts. Through education and access, artistic development, arts leadership, and more, this non-profit organization is elevating young Black and brown musicians to pursue their passions in classical music. You can donate here.
3. Black Girls Smile
According to a 2009 study on African-American women and mental health care, Black women are significantly less likely to seek help for issues with mental illness than white women. Black Girls Smile is a non-profit organization that aims to eliminate these disparities by empowering young Black girls through mental health literacy programs, therapy scholarship funds, and more. You can donate here.
4. My Brother’s Keeper Alliance
President Barack Obama launched the My Brother’s Keeper initiative in February 2014, to address opportunity gaps for Black and non-Black youth of color. The My Brother’s Keeper Alliance (MBK Alliance) followed in 2015, and it “focuses on building safe and supportive communities for boys and young men of color where they feel valued and have clear pathways to opportunity.” MBK Alliance became an initiative of the Obama Foundation in 2017, and it provides mentorship programs, partners with national impact communities, and advocates for equality in education for young Black men and non-Black youth of color. You can donate to the cause here.
5. GoodKids MadCity
This Chicago-based non-profit was started by teens in April 2018, shortly after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas school shooting in February 2018. The group is formed of mainly Black teens from the South and West side of Chicago, and it focuses on addressing gun violence in parts of the city. The group meets weekly to provide a safe space, support, and mental health resources for young people affected by gun violence, and it also holds forums with people in power to advocate for investing in underserved communities. During the coronavirus pandemic, the group has been giving money and food to Black teens who have been affected by the effects of the pandemic. You can donate to the cause here.
6. Girls for Gender Equity
The Brooklyn-based non-profit is “committed to the physical, psychological, social, and economic development of girls and women.” The organization’s movement-building staff mobilizes young people to advocate for the decriminalization of schools, safe learning communities, and the free expression of gender and sexuality. Its 2020 National Agenda for Black Girls will be presented to the 2020 presidential candidates through virtual town halls, and it focuses on the needs of cisgender, gender nonconforming, and transgender Black girls in its call for six national policy priorities. They include expanding education justice — as Black girls are more likely to attend poorly-funded schools — and passing a Black Girl Bill of Rights, which includes “the right to education and information about African and Black history and her story.” You can donate here.
7. The Conscious Kid's anti-racist children's book fund
The Conscious Kid is a group focused on providing anti-racist children's books by advocating for their importance in childhood education in classrooms across the United States. The funds go to their fight to get a list of 41 anti-racist children's books approved as classroom teaching materials. You can see their list of children's books they're advocating for the inclusion in classrooms across the country, and donate to the fund here.
8. Official Gianna Floyd Fund
Gianna Floyd, age six, is the daughter of George Floyd, who was killed by police on May 25. To help Gianna Floyd, as well as her mother, following the death of husband and father George Floyd, you can donate to the official Gianna Floyd Fund on GoFundMe. Your donation here goes into a trust fund for Gianna and her mother.
9. Pretty Brown Girl
Pretty Brown Girl (PBG) educates and empowers girls of color by promoting self-acceptance. Their work includes a focus on Black girls' social, emotional, and intellectual well-being through after-school programs, clubs, and empowerment events. You can donate to the cause here.
10. Know Your Rights Camp
Colin Kaepernick's Know Your Rights Camp works to educate Black and non-Black youth of color on their rights, as well as providing legal resources for those who can't afford them. On Wednesday, June 3, Kaepernick announced the expansion of Know Your Rights Camp, which expanded the organization's legal defense initiative on a national level, as well as work to help protesters across the country, and provide bail funds to protesters in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The funds go toward assisting the important civil rights education for Black and brown youth and communities. To donate, click here.
11. Black Girls Code
Black Girls Code is a youth organization working to empower Black girls and non-Black girls of color to gain success in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields. It provides girls ages seven to 17 with community events and after school programs to teach them skills like coding, which will increase their chances of breaking into the digital space and STEM fields. You can donate to the cause here.
IntegrateNYC is a youth-led organization that calls for integration and equity in New York City schools, which even as of 2020 is one of the most segregated school districts in the United States. The group is advocating for inclusion in local school districts, demands equality in NYC high school admissions, and created a petition to retire segregation in NYC schools, which you can sign here. They also stand for representation of young people in decision-making at local, city, state, and federal levels. IntergrateNYC holds advocacy events, attends city council meetings, and workshops in hopes their voices will create a needed change in New York City education. To help them make an impact and fight against inequity as they begin to expand to a national network with IntegrateUS, you can donate here.
13. Youth Breakout
Seeking to help Black LGBTQ youth in New Orleans, Louisiana, Youth BreakOUT! has the ultimate goal of ending criminalization of Black LGBTQ people and non-Black LGBTQ people of color. The organization has helped launch a Trans Defense Fund, which provides legal assistance for transgender Black youth and non-Black youth of color in NOLA ages 13 to 25, and organizes leadership development programs, training and workshop events, and healing for those who have been directly affected by the criminal justice system. You can donate to the cause here.
14. Fair Fight
Founded by Stacey Abrams, a member of the Georgia House of Representatives from 2007 to 2017 and New York Times bestselling author, Fair Fight aims to end voter suppression by equalizing rights for fairer elections in Georgia and around the country. Donations to Fair Fight go toward providing voters with an education on their voting rights, election reform awareness, and helps the fight against suppression of youth and adult voters of color. Fair Fight also works to educate young Black women who are voting for the first time by providing resources and information.
15. The Thurgood Marshall College Fund
The Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) represents historically Black colleges and universities and predominantly Black institutions. The fund provides students with leadership development conferences, internships, and scholarships to help the next generation of Black youth achieve success. TMCF is also a notable source for top employers seeking internship and job applicants. Your donation helps change and empower the lives of Black students.
16. Youth Over Guns
Youth Over Guns is an organization in New York, working to build the power of Black and brown youth throughout the nation, as well as encourage legislative advocacy to prevent gun violence. You can donate here to help the Youth Over Guns' youth leaders get the resources they need to bring awareness about the causes of gun violence and advocate for solutions.
17. Black Youth Project
The Black Youth Project works to research challenges the Black youth in American confronts, and provides a platform for Black youth to speak freely about their own experiences through activism, educational resources, and the opportunity to blog about their experiences and social justice. Black Youth Project also runs fellowship programs in Chicago, Illinois, in partnership with the University of Chicago to encourage student activism and solve problems in the Black communities. You can donate to the Black Youth Project here.
18. Say Her Name campaign
Founded in December 2014 by the African American Policy Forum (AAPF) and Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies (CISPS), #SayHerName works to bring awareness to the names and stories behind Black women, girls, and femme victims of police brutality, as well as providing support for the victims' families. By donating here, you'll aid the call for police reform and the necessary attention Black women and youth deserve. While you may be more familiar with victims such as Breonna Taylor, the AAPF says Black girls as young as seven have been victims of racism in the justice system.
19. Black Youth Leadership Project
Serving the state of California, the Black Youth Leadership Project's (BYLP) is headquartered in Sacramento. Founded in 1999, BYLP is a non-profit dedicated to developing the next generation of public policy leaders, working to encourage Black students to lead in civil matters through education about California's legislative process, as well as speech and debate. Donate to BYLP here.
20. United Negro College Fund (UNCF)
The UNCF works to increase the number of Black college graduates by taking action to ensure students have the knowledge, power, and funds to make it through to graduation. The UNCF works to build the number of Black college graduates, and has helped over 500,000 students earn their degree since its founding. The organization awards over $100 million in scholarships to Black students each year. You can donate to help Black students here.
21. Jackie Robinson Foundation
Named after professional Black baseball player Jackie Robison, the Jackie Robinson Foundation was founded in 1973 by Robinson's wife, Rachel Robinson. The goal of the foundation is to help ensure equal opportunity for Black students in higher education. Your donation supports the foundation's multiple scholarship awards per year, along with support services and fellowships for Black youth.
22. 100 Black Men of America
100 Black Men of America works to mentor Black youth and provide them with tools to be self-sufficient future leaders. Donating helps the organization continue its work with children and teens, bringing leadership training and support to Black youth in need.
23. The National Black Child Development Institute
The National Black Child Development Institute (NBCDI) focuses on providing Black parents with assistance for their children from birth to when they turn 8 with health and wellness programs, family engagement, and advocacy and training for early child care and education training. Donations go toward NBCDI's work in community-based organizations, foundations, school systems, child care, and government partnerships to empower Black families with young children, as well as ensuring resource equity.
24. Fierce NYC
Fierce NYC helps LGBTQ Black and non-Black youth of color in New York City, with youth-led campaigns, leadership development programs, and cultural expression through media and the arts. Your donation will aid in developing the next generation of social justice leaders.
25. Rainier Scholars
Rainier Scholars helps low-income Black and non-Black students of color in Seattle, Washington, with a 12-year program to prepare them for a four-year college education. Your donation gives students "access to transformative educational opportunities," leadership, and valuable education to prepare them for their future.
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