Originally published in Austin Monthly’s I Live Here I Give Here Magazine, February 2022
It’s been 18 months. 18 months since George Floyd’s murder. 18 months since the Black Lives Matter protests began. 18 months since thousands of individuals, businesses, and organizations across our country took a vow towards change. Now it’s time to ask yourself—in 18 months, how has your anti-racism work progressed?
At I Live Here I Give Here, we started with a list of commitments. We intentionally ensured each commitment was actionable and quantifiable so we could more easily measure the progress of our promises over time. Our list included increasing BIPoC representation across our staff and board by 25% and having our Community Advisory Council review all of our programs for DE&I improvements, then making those improvements. We also committed to using our platform to amplify the voices and work of BIPoC-led nonprofits and nonprofits advancing racial and social justice.
BIPoC-led social change encompasses organizations, ideas, and strategies led predominately by individuals (including the staff, board, and, if relevant, constituents) who identify as BIPoC and that aim to shift power and advance equitable outcomes for Black, Indigenous and all People of Color. — Meme Styles
Early on in this work, we realized it’s one thing to commit to supporting BIPoC-led social change, and another to make our own transformative system change. We knew we wanted to use our platform but how do we actually do that? And more importantly, is that even what Black-led organizations want? We began by partnering with the Black Leaders Collective. They had recently conducted a survey to gain lived-experience data on inequalities in philanthropy and fundraising for Black-led nonprofits in Austin.
What we learned was Black-led organizations in Central Texas struggle to reach the same equitable standards as other organizations. Furthermore, there is not only a widespread need for more stable funding but also for the infrastructure to support planning and development.
As we’ve continued to work with the Black Leaders Collective and begun collaborating with other local experts, including Meme Styles Consulting, we set a plan in motion. This year, the Amplify Austin Day fundraising platform will offer donors the ability to search for BIPoC-led organizations or nonprofits that support racial and social justice. Donors can also search for organizations that have adopted a racial equity statement. And for the first time, we are offering a match on Amplify Austin Day for Black-led nonprofits through the I Live Here I Give Here Amplify Fund.
This has been our commitment and journey thus far. We know you have your own and encourage you to keep the momentum going. Lasting, transformative change does not happen overnight.
It has taken our organization 18 months to get where we are now. But we also know that this is just the beginning. It has to be.Amplify Austin Day runs Mae 2-3, 2022 and you can get an early start on supporting Black-ed non-profits such as the African American Leadership Institute and DOZENS of others by visiting the Amplify ATX website.