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

Ladysmith Save-On-Foods. (Cole Schisler photo)
$5.4 million in renovations coming for Ladysmith Save-On-Foods

Save-On-Foods would not say when the renovations will begin

Stz’uminus Elder George Harris, Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone, and Stz’uminus Chief Roxanne Harris opened the ceremony. (Cole Schisler photo)
Red dresses to be hung from Ladysmith to Oyster Bay, showing solidarity against racism

Leaders from Stz’uminus First Nation and the Town of Ladysmith hung new dresses on Sat. April 17

Volunteers tend to White Rock’s waterfront native plant demonstration garden, during a work party Saturday (May 5). (Contributed photo)
Ready your gardens, the pollinators are coming

By R. Quinlan With the arrival of Spring, this year has more… Continue reading

Bruce Whittington making a founding gift to the Ladysmith Community Foundation Fund, presented to then Nanaimo Foundation Board Chair, Ted Carson. (Submitted photo)
New Ladysmith Community Fund set up to support local charities

The fund will be managed by the Nanaimo Foundation and all funds will remain in Ladysmith

B.C. Centre for Disease Control maps showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 4-10. (BCCDC image)
Parksville-Qualicum passes Nanaimo in new COVID-19 cases

Greater Victoria had more new cases than any other Island area: B.C. Centre for Disease Control

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

Pat Kauwell, a semi-retired construction manager, lives in his fifth-wheel trailer on Maxey Road because that’s what he can afford on his pension, but a Regional District of Nanaimo bylaw prohibits using RVs as permanent dwellings, leaving Kauwell and others like him with few affordable housing options. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Rules against RV living hard on Island residents caught in housing crunch

Regional District of Nanaimo bylaw forcing pensioner to move RV he calls home off private farm land

(Black Press file photo).
UPDATED: Multiple stabbings at Vancouver Island bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault in Comox

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. finance minister to table historic pandemic-challenged deficit budget

Budget aims to take care of people during pandemic while preparing for post-COVID-19 recovery, Robinson said

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Tremmel States-Jones jumps a player and the goal line to score a touchdown against the Kelowna Owls in 2019. The face of high school football, along with a majority of other high school sports, could significantly change if a new governance proposal is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM May 1. (Malin Jordan)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions are against the new model, but B.C. School Sports (BCSS) and its board is in favour

Most Read