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$80 million to advance racial and ethnic justice

By July 27, 2021News & Current Affairs
Racial and Ethnic Justice

Grants support an equitable recovery from the pandemic and combat anti-Blackness, uplift Indigenous Peoples, and improve public health equity.


MacArthur today announced roughly $80 million in grants centered on advancing racial and ethnic justice. The Equitable Recovery grants are funded by MacArthur’s social bonds, issued in response to the crises of the pandemic and racial inequity.

“As we emerge from this moment of crisis, we have an opportunity to improve the critical systems that people and places need to thrive. Our systems and structures must be rebuilt,” said MacArthur President John Palfrey. “We are committed to ensuring that our response to the pandemic is focused on supporting the reimagining of systems that create a more just, equitable, and resilient world.”

MacArthur is supporting work in four areas:

  • Racial Justice Field Support, with a focus on combatting anti-Blackness, supports building Black power by supporting Black-led and -focused philanthropic organizations. MacArthur also will take a leadership role in positioning reparations and racial healing as issues that philanthropy helps to meaningfully address.
  • Self-determination of Indigenous Peoples supports uplifting Indigenous communities to enable autonomous pursuit of a recovery guided by their priorities, cultures, and practices.
  • Public Health Equity and COVID-19 Mitigation and Recovery supports improving access to resources for immediate health challenges while advancing new policies, models, and structures to support a more equitable and resilient public health sector in the future.
  • An Equitable Housing Demonstration Project supports restoring communities and reducing incarceration and housing instability by generating an array of housing solutions that can help to permanently end the use of jails and prisons as housing of last resort.

MacArthur identified the areas through a participatory process with a diverse group of external advisors, who informed our strategic approach. Our participatory process aimed to center the voices of communities that are affected by our decisions and have a stake in our grantmaking outcomes.

Almost two-thirds of the awards represent new grantee relationships, and most of the organizations are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color-led or -serving. The grants also reflect MacArthur’s global reach: 45 percent of the new funding supports work outside of the U.S., including 12 percent in India, and 14 percent in Nigeria, where MacArthur has offices.

Racial Justice Field Support

In Racial Justice Field Support, MacArthur approved 37 grants totaling $36 million to organizations including:

  • Institute of the Black World 21st Century (IBW-21) will receive $1.5 million to build the capacity and power of Black communities in the U.S. and globally to work on cultural, social, economic, and political upliftment, including support for the National African American Reparations Commission. IBW-21 will serve as the fiscal sponsor for National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations (N’COBRA), which will receive $1.5 million for non-lobbying activities to support the movement for reparations for people of African descent in the United States and the global Black diaspora.
  • LEAP Africa will receive $2 million to create the Nigeria Youth Futures Fund in partnership with the Ford Foundation, to build on momentum from the youth-led #ENDSARS movement and to inspire, empower, and equip a new cadre of leaders with skills for personal, organizational, and community transformation.
  • The Barack Obama Foundation will receive $5 million to develop programming space within the Obama Presidential Center that will focus on leadership training, racial healing, and civic engagement on Chicago’s South Side.

Self-determination of Indigenous Peoples

In Self-determination of Indigenous Peoples, MacArthur approved 15 grants totaling $16 million to organizations including:

  • Cultural Survival will receive $900,000 to support its work for a future that respects and honors Indigenous peoples’ inherent rights and dynamic cultures and empowers Indigenous peoples to pursue their self-determination and sustain their lands, cultures, and ecosystems.
  • Allied Media Projects will receive $3 million for the Decolonizing Wealth Project, which will increase investment in Native American-led and -serving organizations that focus on issues such as self-determination, climate change, and COVID-19 recovery.
  • Native BioData Consortium which is led by Indigenous biomedical scientists and governed by a board and community advisory group that includes tribal experts in precision health, technology, law, policy, business, ethics, and cultural matters—will receive $2 million to use health data for quality-of-life improvement and to ensure that advances in genetics and health research benefit all Indigenous people.

Public Health Equity and COVID-19 Mitigation

In Public Health Equity and COVID-19 Mitigation, MacArthur approved 35 grants totaling $22 million to organizations including:

  • Healthcare Ready will receive $325,000 which it will use to make the U.S. healthcare supply chain more resilient to disruptions and to promote an equitable response, especially in communities of color.
  • Latino Policy Forum will receive $360,000 which it will use advance a Illinois racial equity reform agenda and to support Illinois Unidos, a collaborative COVID-19 vaccine access and public health initiative.
  • Socio-Legal Information Centre will receive $1 million to help public and community organizations in ten states in India build awareness and learning about healthcare and other social protections associated with COVID-19 relief and recovery.

Housing Demonstration Project

MacArthur also will support a $5 million Equitable Housing Demonstration Project. Urban Institute will serve as the coordinator for a national project to support locally-developed housing models that help people stay out of jail, remain in the community, and reduce the harms of short stays in jail.This cross-cutting area will bring together racial justice and public health equity by showing how housing can reduce incarceration and its disproportionate impact on Black and Latinx people. The project will highlight the impact of decades of housing discrimination and potential reparative solutions.

Equitable Recovery Initiative

In the fall of 2020, MacArthur established a $125 million Equitable Recovery Initiative. The Foundation deployed $40 million of bond proceeds through 24 grants. Initial grants focused on strengthening voter mobilization and election protection, addressing anti-Black racism, and supporting Native Americans impacted by COVID-19. Grants also supported Black, Latinx, Asian, and Indigenous arts organizations in Chicago, technology and justice and a fund for social entrepreneurs advancing racial equity.


Source: MacArthur Foundation

IBW21

About IBW21

IBW21 (The Institute of the Black World 21st Century) is committed to building the capacity of Black communities in the U.S. to work for the social, political, economic and cultural upliftment, the development of the global Black community and an enhanced quality of life for all marginalized people.