These organizations are paving the way for increased opportunities for African-descendant individuals and communities. Fighting for higher diversity, political justice, environmental stewardship, and equity in the United States and across the globe, these initiatives are making monumental strides.
Founded in 2017 by Karen Washington and Olivia Watkins, the Black Farmer Fund, a nonprofit organization, aims to put agricultural funding into the hands of Black entrepreneurs and food producers.
Washington and Watkins began the organization together after witnessing firsthand the difficulties aspiring Black landowners and farmers faced when applying for loans. Historically, banks and lenders have been discriminatory against the community in applying for capital to start agricultural ventures. The pair decided that specific funding and financial guidance dedicated to Black communities would be essential to improving their presence in the agricultural sector.
Today, the Black Farmer Fund provides these landowners and agricultural stewards with capital, coaching, guidance, and networking opportunities they otherwise may have not been awarded through traditional lending. The organization operates in the Northeast, but hopes others will feel inspired to start similar initiatives across the country.
Dr. Jackie Bouvier Copeland founded the WISE Fund in 2020, when the world was in the chokehold of the COVID-19 pandemic. Copeland realized that more than ever, Black communities were underfunded and overlooked in healthcare, social justice, environmental equity, and opportunities for advancement.
As a 501(c) charity, the WISE Fund uses donations and funding from investors to provide Black and Indigenous communities with money necessary to obtain technologies, education, and strategies to combat climate change, pollution, and public health issues. Low-income and Black communities are often most affected by climate change and environmental degradation, but are met with the least amount of funding and solutions to combat it.
The WISE Fund now operates in Africa, Brasil, India, Australia, and The United States.
Women, in general, only make up about 34% of all STEM careers in the United States. Of that 34%, about 14% are women of color. In 2011, mother, Kimberly Bryant, wanted to build the world of STEM with an influx of confident and competent young Black women. It was then that Black Girls Code began.
The organization offers computer programming training, free webinars, scholarships, and more to those aged 7-17 years of age. Their mission is to support young Black women with developing their programming skills in coding, robotics, website design and application generation. In addition, their mission is to create a more diverse and equitable STEM discipline.
Once a month, the organization in 14 chapters across the United States, and one in South Africa, meet to share new tech ideas, workshops, panels, and mentorships to blossoming Black women interested in STEM careers.
Six women started the Black Women for Wellness (BWW) in 1997 with a mission to combat maternal and infant mortality in the African American community. The organization currently operates out of Los Angeles county in California, and provides services to those in Joaquin Valley and Stockton.
The organization provides health and reproductive education and workshops, and peer-to-peer support for mothers and infants. Since 1997, the organization has expanded their programs to include environmental justice work, civil engagement, and more. Black Women for Wellness serves women ages 12-65 years and older.
Founded by Glynda C. Carr and Kimberly Peeler-Allen in 2011, Higher Heights for America is now the largest political action committee at the federal and state level. The PAC is dedicated to supporting Black political figures and generating a more diverse political arena; where their voices are used to create change.
Since its conception, Higher Heights for America has helped to secure the largest number of Black seats in Congress, and has assisted in generating election wins for this community as political leaders serving as mayors in the top 100 most populated cities across America. The organization is composed of activists, volunteers, members, and supporters to carry their mission.