When Black Girls Are Free - Celebrating Two Years of Black Girl Freedom Fund and #1Billion4BlackGirls Campaign
We are thrilled to be celebrating two years of Black Girl Freedom Fund (BGFF) and the impact we have contributed to the #1Billion4BlackGirls campaign.
Black girls deserve to be safe, and free, to grow up healthy and thriving, and to have joy. Even in the face of the insurmountable odds Black girls, femmes and gender-expansive youth face, they are making tremendous strides and contributions in this country. Black girls, femmes and gender-expansive youth are leading civic engagement efforts, advancing literacy, starting mutual aid efforts, creating art, and dreaming of a better future for us all. Not only are they leading in their families and communities, Black girls also are more likely than girls of any other race to see themselves as leaders in their homes and communities—despite an underinvestment in their power as changemakers.
Imagine what 2030 will look like if there is a significant investment made in the lives and livelihood of Black girls now. Imagine what can happen when Black girls are truly free. That’s why, two years ago today, we launched the #1Billion4BlackGirls campaign and the Black Girl Freedom Fund (BGFF). We invite you to celebrate how far we’ve come in that time.
How the #1Billion4BlackGirls Campaign Started
Black girls, femmes and gender-expansive youth are so often on the frontlines of change, taking the brunt of the negative impact while simultaneously experiencing erasure when the fruits of their work are fully realized.
Recognizing this, a group of Black women leaders united on September 15, 2020, to launch the #1Billion4BlackGirls campaign, a call for the philanthropic investment of $1 billion in Black girls over the next decade. The co-founders of the #1Billion4BlackGirls campaign are:
- Dr. Monique W. Morris, President and CEO, Grantmakers for Girls of Color
- LaTosha Brown, Southern Black Girls and Women’s Consortium
- Tarana Burke, Founder, ‘me too.’ Movement
- Fatima Goss Graves, President and CEO, National Women’s Law Center
- Joanne N. Smith, MSW, Founding President and CEO, Girls for Gender Equity (GGE)
- Dr. Salamishah Tillet, Co-Founder, A Long Walk Home
- Scheherazade Tillet, Co-Founder, A Long Walk Home
- Teresa Younger, President and CEO, Ms. Foundation for Women
The Black Girl Freedom Fund is Grantmakers for Girls of Color’s largest initiative, and engages Black cisgender and transgender girls and gender-expansive youth as decision makers in the fund’s priorities and vetting process for granting resource in support of the #1Billion4BlackGirls campaign. Since BGFF’s launch, we have granted over $7 million to more than 100 organizations, and over half of those grants were awarded through a participatory grantmaking council of eight Black girls, femmes, and gender-expansive youth.
Highlights from our second year:
In the second year of our fund, we continued to build capacity and structure to help mobilize $1 billion in investment for Black girls, femmes, and gender-expansive youth by 2030. Here are some highlights of our Black Girl Freedom Fund impact:
Second Annual Black Girl Freedom Week
In February 2022, special guests such as Marley Dias, Tracee Ellis Ross, Rashida Jones and Sanaa Lathan joined us at our second Black Girl Freedom Week, a week-long event celebrating the leadership, dream and power of Black girls, femmes and gender-expansive youth. Programs throughout the week highlighted the artistic vision and genius of Black girls, femmes and gender-expansive youth, and advanced narratives that Black girls feel are important to achieve the justice they are seeking, particularly within the beauty and fashion industries. The events also featured esteemed panelists such as Susan L. Taylor, Eva Reign and Lorelei Williams, along with the Black Girl Freedom Fund co-founders and youth members of our Grantmaking Council. Black girls, femmes and gender-expansive youth also shared with us what they would do with a $1 billion investment in them, their families and communities. Revisit Black Girl Freedom Week with videos on our event site.
$4 Million to Nearly 70 Organizations
In April 2022, we announced a second round of grants totaling more than $4 million to 68 organizations throughout the U.S. and territories. For this round, we focused on organizations whose work promotes and expands the leadership and organizing power of Black girls, femmes and gender-expansive youth.
Similar to the first round of grants, these 68 organizations were selected by the second cohort of the Black Girl Freedom Fund Grantmaking Council, comprising six Black girls and gender-expansive youth ages 14-22, who selected the grantee partners from more than 200 applications. They came together to define what leadership means to them and co-create the vetting process for funding.
We believe an investment in Black girls and their leadership is an investment in our collective freedom. Because every issue is a Black girl issue. Black girls are the voice and the heart of so many social justice efforts. With intentional investment of time and resources, we can cultivate their capacity to lead. Learn more about our second round grantees here.
Centering the Leadership of Young People
After nearly two years of learning and building together virtually, the Black Girl Freedom Fund Youth Grantmaking Council joined us for an in person retreat in June in Brooklyn, along with G4GC’s Youth Advisory Committee and Design Team. All together, there were 13 girls, femmes and gender-expansive youth of Color who joined us to share their insights around what it means to engage and center young people of Color in philanthropy, to deepen their relationships with each other and the G4GC community, and to celebrate their work and leadership. We are so grateful for their wisdom, time and enthusiasm to collaborate with us in this philanthropic initiative.
In The News
Black Girl Freedom Fund and the #1Billion4BlackGirls campaign continues to make an impact across media and platforms. This year, Black Girl Freedom Fund and the #1B4BG campaign has been featured in major mainstream outlets including Forbes, Black Enterprise, AfroTech, WWD and more. Visit our BGFFNews page to read the articles and share with your network!
Join our Twitter Chat for the #1B4BG Anniversary
We’re excited to invite you to join us for a tweet chat celebrating the second anniversary of the Black Girl Freedom Fund and the #1Billion4BlackGirls campaign on Thursday, September 15th, 10-11 a.m. PT / 1-2 p.m. ET. Featuring the campaign’s co-founders, supporters, staff, donors and grantee partner organizations, we’ll discuss the goals of the #1BillionBlackGirls campaign, our progress and the urgency of this moment.
Follow our account @BlkGrlFreedom and use the hashtag #1Billion4BlackGirls to participate!
Black Girl Freedom Week 2023!
Save the date – February 13 to 19 – for our third annual call to action and celebration of Black girls, femmes and gender expansive youth.
We are deeply thankful to everyone who has supported this work over the past year by participating in our events, sharing information about the campaign, contributing resources, and believing in the power of Black girls, femmes and gender expansive youth.
With deep gratitude,
Cidra M. Sebastien
Manager, Black Girl Freedom Fund