As the 2021 Canadian federal budget is drafted, the Foundation for Black Communities (FFBC) has submitted a proposal to have money set aside for Black-led charities.

Ottawa urged to commit $200 million to Black-led charities in upcoming federal budget

Foundation for Black Communities has submitted a proposal to have money set aside for Black-led charities

By Angelyn Francis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Toronto Star

As the 2021 Canadian federal budget is drafted, the Foundation for Black Communities (FFBC) has submitted a proposal to have money set aside for Black-led charities.

During an open call for prebudget recommendations from the Department of Finance, the foundation submitted a proposal for the federal government to allot $200 million to FFBC, to kick start an endowment.

The organization plans to supplement it by raising $100 million from the private and philanthropic sector, and with an endowment model, be able to provide sustainable resources to Black community organizations.

Working group member Liban Abokor said he hopes their proposal will be considered, especially with the rise in commitment to support Black Canadians and anti-racism efforts.

“If we think about Canada’s plan to build back better, (we want to ensure) that includes Black communities,” said Abokor.

In addition to funding anti-racism efforts through a four-year plan, much of the funding provided to support Black Canadians federally has been for business and entrepreneurship loans. Just over $220 million was earmarked by Ottawa and financial institutions to offer business loans to the Black community.

Abokor acknowledged that what has been done so far are important steps, but “I think there’s additional investments needed,” Abokor said.

There have also been some hiccups fulfilling the federal government’s current offers. Recently, hundreds of Black-led groups were denied Black community initiative funding by Employment and Social Development Canada, with a response that the groups were not sufficiently Black-led.

The Foundation for Black Communities was founded by Abokor and other Black people involved in the philanthropic and charitable sector to provide a foundation dedicated to empowering Black-led and Black-focused non-profit organizations.

A report it authored late last year found that Black-led charities and non-profit organizations have been getting the short end of the stick when it comes to funding.

It found that for every $100 of grant funds dispensed by 15 of the leading foundations in Canada, only 30 cents go to Black community organizations.

Social worker Ken Williams has seen the way funding models can be a barrier to effectively serving Black communities. Grants and funding are often provided on a project-by-project basis, which can be unstable.

“Young people’s lives don’t work in a one-year cycle or a three-year cycle … a lot of times, you know, you need supports that are ongoing,” Williams said.

Williams also said that it can take time for groups to get running, build community connections and “a lot of the times … the funding doesn’t actually assist in that process.”

FFBC plans to remove some of these barriers to make funding more accessible to grassroots organizations.

The lack of diversity in charitable leadership is significant in Canada.

Last month, a Statistics Canada survey revealed that there is a “diversity deficit” among board members in Canadian charities and not-for-profit organizations, even though government funding and public donations are their main source of revenue.

Sen. Ratna Omidvar of Ontario challenged the sector to begin keeping demographic data after the racial uproar that began last summer.

With the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the country, the 2021 budget will be vital to planning an effective recovery.

A Department of Finance official reiterated that the government acknowledges that systemic racism is an issue in Canada and these communities have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

Abokor has seen how local groups have pivoted to support racialized communities, and how needed they will be in the recovery.

Who is going to help Black youth who have had their education upended over the past year? Or help women who have disproportionately lost work re-enter the job market? Or support seniors who have had to stay home more out of caution, he asks.

“Without investment in Black-led, community organizations, those services aren’t going to be available,” Abokor said. “And if they’re not available … then I think we should be worried about our community being left in actually a worse off position than we were prior to this pandemic.”

federal government

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The new study commissioned by the City of Terrace will evaluate environmentally sensitive areas around Ferry Island and the airport lands. (Binny Paul/Terrace Standard)
City to update two decades old environmentally sensitive areas report

New study will document areas excluded from previous 1998 report

Jessica McCallum-Miller announced on her Facebook page that she is the recipient of the Lieutenant Governor’s Medal for Inclusion, Democracy and Reconciliation on April 17, 2021. (Jessica McCallum-Miller/Facebook)
Jessica McCallum-Miller to receive Lieutenant Governor’s Medal

Former Terrace councillor, Coast Mountain College student ‘honoured’

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

Skeena Valley Farmers Market is expected to kick off its 2021 season from May 1, with COVID-19 safety protocols in place ( Skeena Valley Farmers Market/Facebook)
Skeena Valley Farmers Market on track to reopen next month

The first market day of the season will be held on May 1, at George Little Park

Coast Mountains School District 82 announced a shuffle of leadership positions in Terrace and the Hazeltons for the upcoming 2021/22 school year. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Coast Mountains School District 82 announces leadership shuffle

Several principal, vice-principal positions in Terrace affected

A lone traveler enters the Calgary Airport in Calgary, Alta., Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
VIDEO: Trudeau defends Canada’s travel restrictions as effective but open to doing more

Trudeau said quarantine hotels for international air travellers will continue until at least May 21

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson leaves the assembly with Premier John Horgan after the budget speech Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Paid sick leave for ‘hard-hit’ workers left out of provincial budget: BCGEU

‘For recovery to be equitable it requires supports for workers, not just business,’ says union president Laird Cronk

A large crowd protested against COVID-19 measures at Sunset Beach in Vancouver on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. (Snapchat)
VIDEO: Large, police-patrolled crowds gather at Vancouver beach for COVID protests

Vancouver police said they patrolled the area and monitored all gatherings

In this image from video, former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin, center, is taken into custody as his attorney, Eric Nelson, left, looks on, after the verdicts were read at Chauvin’s trial for the 2020 death of George Floyd, Tuesday, April 20, 2021, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minn. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Court TV via AP, Pool
George Floyd’s death was ‘wake-up call’ about systemic racism: Trudeau

Derek Chauvin was found guilty Tuesday on all three charges against him

Former University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams is photographed in the stands during the Greater Victoria Invitational at CARSA Performance Gym at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, November 29, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Rowing Canada sanctions former head coach of B.C. varsity women’s team

Suspension of Barney Williams would be reversed if he complies with certain terms

A man pauses at a coffin after carrying it during a memorial march to remember victims of overdose deaths in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. announces historic half-billion-dollar funding for overdose crisis, mental health

Of it, $152 million will be used to address the opioid crisis and see the creation of 195 new substance use treatment beds

Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a CEFA (Core Education and Fine Arts) Early Learning daycare franchise, in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. budget to expand $10-a-day child care, but misses the mark on ‘truly universal’ system

$111 million will be used to fund 3,750 new $10-a-day spaces though 75 additional ChildCareBC universal prototype sites over the next three years.

Most Read