Grant Funds, More Help for Black Nonprofits
By Dianne Anderson
Competition is always stiff for small mom and pop nonprofits just trying to survive, partly due to the maze of scattered grant information, or they don’t know where to look and how to access funding.
Equity is the big buzzword since the fallout of the pandemic that spurred billions in federal funding to address, among other issues, the hard impact on Black and Brown communities.
But the funding is out there, and nonprofits can get in the mix for grants and other funds until it’s gone.
Yaoska Machado, spokesperson for the County of Riverside Executive Office, is excited about the new round of federal ARPA funds to help nonprofits.
“We’re thrilled, we’re encouraging nonprofits to apply to this,” she said. “We want people to pay attention whenever there are opportunities like this. It’s a great chance to get additional funding to continue your mission.”
Riverside County is accepting applications for ARPA funds until December 2023, and probably beyond. The county wants a head start as ARPA funding must be spent or obligated by December 2024.
Nonprofits should look out for ARPA grants as well as other opportunities. The good news is the information is available online.
“Sometimes community organizations may not have time because they’re busy trying to assist the community. Please visit the website so you can learn more about how you can apply and how this can make a difference not only in your org but in the community as a whole,” she said.
Denise Booker of the B.L.A.C.K Collective is ready and willing to go after whatever funds can help their organization reach more people with resources and services.
Until 2022, their program was mainly funded by herself, some friends, and family digging deep in pocket, but she said the IE Black Equity Fund made a difference in their nonprofit offerings.
“I’ve seen it too with the Juneteenth event, and with senior centers and homes where we take food for them, and the holidays. It was a big relief to get assistance from [the fund] and it also showed us the need that is out there, the little things that people don’t have,” she said.
The B.L.A.C.K Collective is one of 16 nonprofit groups funded in the first 2022 round of $740,000 in grants awarded through a partnership by the IE Black Equity Fund, IE Funders Alliance and Inland Empire Community Foundation.
The funding helped, and she hopes the Black Equity Fund stays around for a while because so many organizations need the support. She has applied for other outside funding streams over the years, but said the fund application process was easy.
“I’m a total novice when it comes to applying for grants. The questions were not difficult, if you’re doing the work it comes very easy to answer the questions,” she said.
Recently, Inland Empire Community Foundation received a $108K donation from Amazon, with high hopes for more support for Black nonprofits across the Inland Empire.
Charee Gillins said as the funding becomes available, it will benefit IE-CF Signature Funds targeting Black and Latino communities, with extra attention to environmental causes, and also more resources to the Youth Grantmaker Program.
“Among several environmental causes in the IE are rising temperatures, air pollution, wildfire threats, the loss of agricultural land, and inadequate water infrastructure. Currently, there are over one million people in the IE living in communities that are designated as vulnerable populations severely burdened by negative environmental factors,” said Gillins in an email.
Nonprofits should keep a close eye and regularly check the IE-CF website to avoid missing the call for grant applications and updates. The most recent deadline to apply was August 10, and Gillins said they will include a recent policy webinar for community review following that event this week.
Nonprofits or anyone operating under a fiscal agent can also apply to one or more funding streams as the Signature Funds become available, she added. She encourages reaching out to other capacity-building support programs, including IECF for capacity-building support, the Inland Empire Community Collaborative, RAP Foundation, Caravansarai Project, and Academy GO.
“All of these regional organizations are excellent partners that equip, empower and train nonprofits for success,” she said.
Magdalena’s Daughters, another organization that benefited from the Black Equity Fund, helps girls in trouble.
Ashley Hill said the funding assisted to put more systems in place to reach more girls. They are developing a webinar course and curriculum, and set to recruit trainers to teach the curriculum.
“These are people who want to give back and want to be a part of this movement of saving girls. Anyone can be a trainer. They will have to undergo fingerprinting and background check,” said Hill, founder of the nonprofit Magdalena’s Daughters.
Funding also reaches girls in school settings, with a focus on foster youth in group homes. There, they will implement education on human trafficking for youth in foster care and residential staff.
Since COVID, she said human trafficking recruitment of girls and fosters has increased, and a lot of it takes place online.
“Traffickers and pimps are identifying vulnerable kids who they know they can exploit for their own personal gain. It’s sad and disgusting really,” she said, adding that school distance learning was needed, but it also opened a dangerous door.
Predators trapped more kids online during the pandemic. In 2020, the nonprofit Polaris cites a 125% increase in reports of recruitment on Facebook over the previous year and a 95% increase on Instagram.
Hill said that her nonprofit is committed to partnerships because no one group can fix it alone.
They also work with the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools, Cal State University of San Bernardino, among others. This school year, they are starting Foster Youth Advisor Boards to understand the experiences of youth in foster care, teach about career options, resume writing, and self-advocacy.
In the future, she hopes to expand housing for foster youth, and vulnerable or victims of human trafficking. She also collaborates with The Tiny Home Lady to provide housing for sexually exploited foster youth.
They are seeking donations to sponsor a home.
“With every organization we work with, the focus is on serving BIPOC girls as they are more vulnerable to human trafficking. We are always desiring to collaborate with other organizations and are reaching out because frankly, we are better together,” she said.
ARPA funding is part of national dollars that must be spent or obligated by December 2024. Most counties are now calling for similar applications and RFPs for nonprofits and vendors to access funding – about 25% of the statewide pot of dollars remains.
The 2021 White House ARP and Black Communities Fact Sheet states the COVID-19 pandemic and corresponding economic crisis devastated Black communities. Blacks make up 13% of the national population, but nearly 24 percent of age-adjusted COVID-19 deaths.
Black families also dealt with high unemployment, among many other impacts.
“Approximately 1 in 5 Black households are also struggling with food insufficiency, and more than 1 in 3 Black renters have fallen behind on payments. The American Rescue Plan will change the course of the pandemic, deliver immediate relief for hardhit Black families and small businesses, build a bridge towards economic recovery, and reduce poverty in Black communities by 34 percent,” the fact sheet stated.
To learn more about Riverside County ARPA funding, see https://rivco.org/american-rescue-plan-act
To learn more about the Inland Empire Community Foundation funds, see
For more information on nonprofits, see
https://www.magdalenasdaughters.org/ and https://www.facebook.com/groups/theblackcollective
For the White House Black Fact Sheet on ARPA,