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An Open Letter to Funders

BIPOC Executive Directors Coalition of Washington State

We, the undersigned BIPOC Executive Directors Coalition of Washington State, are writing to urge you to double the amount of funding you release to nonprofits; ensure the additional funds are going to organizations led by and serving Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color; foster long-term stability of these organizations by providing multi-year, general operating grants; and support systems-change work led by these communities.

Black, Indigenous, and communities of color have been disproportionately devastated by the intersecting crises of the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and systemic racism. Our nonprofits are facing increased demands for services while our resources have dwindled. We need you to give more, to fund differently, and to partner with us to address the host of problems our communities are facing. 

Over the past few months, we nonprofits have been pushed to our limits. With everything in crisis, demands for our services—food banks, mental health counseling, human services, housing, etc.—have exponentially increased. While everyone is suffering, pervasive racism means Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and other people of color have been dying from COVID-19 at a higher rate than the general population. We are experiencing disproportionately higher levels of unemployment, hunger, homelessness, and other issues. Voter suppression in BIPOC communities is putting our democracy in jeopardy. Racist and xenophobic attacks on our communities are relentless. The effects of these crises will get worse in the coming months and will be felt for decades to come. 

Over the past few years, funders have talked about equity, diversity, and inclusion. Many of you have attended workshops on undoing racism and have made public statements in support of Black lives. However, we have seen little of this translating into actual changes in your practices that would allow us to effectively do our work during this critical moment. We still see the same tokenizing behaviors, the lack of trust, and the hoarding of resources at a time when we nonprofits and the communities we serve need you to step up. 

It is unconscionable that so little funding has gone to communities of color over the past decades.1 Many of you have released special funds, but they are not enough. Your solidarity statements are meaningless unless you back them up with substantive actions. Below are the actions we need you to take immediately: 

1. Increase your annual payout rate to 10% or more

The 5% minimum legally mandated foundation payout rate was designed to allow foundations to save the other 95% for a rainy day. It is now that day. It is pouring outside!  Even with an increased 10% payout rate,  foundations would still be able to sustain a sizable corpus to continue investing. If you host Donor-Advised Funds, challenge these donors to increase their giving to at least 10% as well. If you are a government funder, find ways to release additional funds.

2. Provide significant multi-year general operating funds

Organizations and leaders cannot plan for the long-term if they do not have stability of resources and the autonomy to use them. Organizations and leaders need to be able to focus on their work and not spend half their time fundraising and piecemealing small grants together. Commit to giving unrestricted funding to organizations for a minimum of five years to ensure they have the stability to focus on their missions and the ability to weather potential future crises. 

3. Designate the additional funds for organizations led by Black, Indigenous, and Communities of Color

It is not acceptable that so few dollars go to organizations led by Black, Indigenous, and communities of color. Our communities face extreme and disproportionate levels of injustice and must have the resources to lead the way in solving these problems.

4. Support BIPOC-led systems-change work

We cannot expect structural racism to end without BIPOC-led systems change work. There is very limited funding available for advocacy work in general and even fewer dollars available for BIPOC-led systems change work. You must fund work focused on advocacy, voter registration, increasing the number of women of color in elected office, changing the tax codes, ending gerrymandering, removing the influence of money on politics, and other efforts that will protect democracy and lead to systems change. 

The next few months are critical. Our communities are experiencing an unprecedented number of crises. Nonprofits will continue to provide services for as long as we can. But we need you to be partners in the work. If you are serious about equity, if you truly mean what you said in your solidarity statements, then release more funds immediately, ensure they are going to organizations led by the communities most affected by systemic injustice, provide multi-year support, and support community-led solutions.

In Solidarity, BIPOC Executive Directors Coalition of Washington State

Andrea Caupain Sanderson, Byrd Barr Place
Afua Kouyate, ADEFUA Cultural Education Workshop
Adie Simmons, Washington Family Engagement
Willetta (Kiti) Ward, The Agape House
Taffy Johnson, U.T.O.P.I.A. Seattle
Bridgette Hempstead , Cierra Sisters
Simon Javan Okelo, One Vibe Africa
Elisa Lopez, Team Naturaleza
James Miles, Arts Corps
Michael Crentsil, Global Leadership Center For Health and Economic Sustainability
Sylvia Hadnot, E3 Washington
Hana Kawai, All Girl Everything Ultimate Program (AGE UP)
David Song, Kandelia
Laura Wright, WA-BLOC
Wendy Nakatsukasa-Ono, Cardea
Najja E. Brown, YIELD TO THE KING MINISTRY
Angela Griffin, Launch
Jéhan Òsanyìn, Earthseed
Luis Rosales, Trilogy Recovery Community
Muguette Guenneguez, NAMI Seattle
Hazel Cameron, Clergy, Community for Children & Youth Coalition (4C)
Tracy L. Stewart and Omitosin King, Gathering Roots Retreat & Wellness Center
Judy Chen, Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Peter Bloch Garcia, PBG Partners
Chi May Praseuth, The Good Foot Arts Collective
Jim Wigfall, Sound Generations
Sharone Navas, Equity in Education Coalition
Erin Okuno, Southeast Seattle Education Coalition
Dennis McCain, Safehaven Development Association
Eddie Nyasulu, Hanna Ashagre, Henry Garrett, Martha Lucas, & Hibo Sahal, Washington State Coalition of African Community Leaders
Zamzam Mohamed, Voices of Tomorrow
JC Ephraim, Sister In Common
Joseph Seia, Pacific Islander Community Association of Washington
Dr. Stephan Blanford, Children’s Alliance
Michael Tulee, United Indians of All Tribes Foundation
Val Thomas-Matson, Look, Listen and Learn TV
Carla Arnold, Youthnet
Carlos Jimenez/Angie Hinojos Yusuf, Centro Cultural Mexicano
Mona T Han, Coalition for Refugees from Burma
Marshaun Barber , Reclaiming Our Greatness
Hamdi Abdulle, African Community Housing and Development
Diana Avalos Leos , Clark County Latino Youth Leadership
Marcia Wright-Soika, FamilyWorks
Rich Stolz, OneAmerica
Digna Saad, Entre Hermanos
Yordanos Teferi, Multicultural Community Coalition
Faisa Farole, Global Perinatal Services
Srijan Chakraborty
Risho Sapano, Mother Africa
Jaimée Marsh, FEEST
Susan Brown, Kids Co.
Saleem Robinson, Renegades For Life Inc.
Jackie Jones-Hook, 9th and 10th Horse Cavalry Buffalo Soldiers Museum
Karen T. Lee, Pioneer Human Services


Victoria Santos, Young Women Empowered
Ananda Valenzuela, RVC
Regina Elmi, Somali Parents Education Board
Jay Banks, Pizza Klatch
César E. Torres, Northwest Justice Project
Estela Ortega, El Centro de la Raza
Jamila Coleman, You Grow Girl!
Christine Tang, Families of Color Seattle (FOCS)
Joomi Kim, Korean Community Service Center
Lyn Idahosa, FW Black Collective
Tera Beach, Spectrum Dance Theater
Apollo Rimando, The Be Good Project Foundation
Ryan Quigtar, Renton Innovation Zone Partnership
Quynh Pham, Friends of Little Saigon
Lupe Mares, Communities In Schools of Benton-Franklin
Sharon Lee, Low Income Housing Institute
Lika Smith, Pacific Islander Health Board
Mario Orallo-Molinaro, Jet City Improv
Jackie Vaughn, Surge Reproductive Justice
Jeff Thungc, Mien International Enrichment Network
Janet Gboluma-kalonji, First Five Years & Beyond
Paula Sardinas , Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound
Floribert Mubalama, Congolese Integration Network
Amy Hirotaka, Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Michelle Merriweather, Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle
Josephine Tamayo Murray, Communities of Concern Commission
Tyler TerMeer, PHD, Cascade AIDS Project
Munira Mohamed, East African Community Service
Michael Byun, Asian Counseling and Referral Service
Chitra Hanstad, World Relief Seattle
Agnes Navarro-Garcia, Filipino Community of Seattle
Gustavo Gutierrez Gomez, Downtown Pasco Development Authority
D’Artagnan Caliman, Building Changes
Royal Alley-Barnes, MAT, Center on Contemporary Art (CoCA)
Steve Bury, Urban Impact
Aaron Counts & Nikkita Oliver, Creative Justice
Storme Webber, Voices Rising: LGBTQ of Color Arts & Culture
Shelley Cooper-Ashford, Center for MultiCultural Health
Chimaera, Powerful Voices
Gloria Hatcher-Mays, Rainier Valley Food Bank
Paulina Lopez, Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition
Janice Deguchi, Neighborhood House
Steven Sawyer , People of Color Against AIDS Network
Kimberly Powe, 3E Integrity
LaJuana Johnson, Win Win Action & Win Win Network
Gabriela Ewing, Hispanic Disability Support SWWA (Pasitos Gigantes)
Leann P. Weaver, Weaver Foundation – Georgia Mattson Memorial Shelter
Marvena Kemp, Marvin Thomas Memorial
Lilliane Ballesteros, Latino Community Fund of Washington State
Carmen Pacheco Jones, Peer Navigator Training Program
Sabino Cabildo & Marvo Reguindin, Multi-Ethnic Business Association – AHANA
Mary Diggs-Hobson, African Americans Reach and Teach Health Ministry
Joseph Staton, Central Area Youth Association
Maria D Rodriguez, Rural Community Development Resources
T’wina Nobles, Tacoma Urban League
Steven Sawyer , POCAAN

Jodi Nishioka, Communities Rise
Charlett Shoecraft , Empowering Youth and Families Outreach
Dila K Perera, Open Arms Perinatal Services
Teresita Batayola, International Community Health Services
Michael Itti, Chinese Information and Service Center
Thomasina Schmitt, Seattle Neighborhood Group
Sili Savusa, White Center Community Development Association
Jill Mangaliman, Got Green
Tobi Hill-Meyer, Gender Justice League
Olympia Edwards, Project Girl Mentoring Program
Sarah Salazar-Tipton, Olympic Nature Experience
Lauren Thomas, Hopelink
Gregory Davis, Rainier Beach Action Coalition
Pa Ousman Joof, Gambian Talents Promotion
Ophelia Noble, The Noble Foundation
Bettie Williams-Watson, Multi-Communities
Farhiya Y Mohamed, Somali Family Safety Task Force
VERONICA VERY, Wonder of Women International
Alice Fong, Center for Ethical Leadership
Cynthia Yongvang, Hmong Association of WA
Monique Brown, FOB Hope
Cleora Hill-Scott, Potlatch Fund
Ariel Bradler, Theatre Puget Sound
Elizabeth Baxter, North Sound ACH
Susan Yang, Denise Louie Education Center
Elaine Ishihara, Asian Pacific Islander Coalition Advocating Together (APICAT) for Health
Jacque Julien, Communities of Color Coalition
Sandy Restrepo, Colectiva Legal del Pueblo
Anthony Austin, Southeast Youth and Family Services
Jeri Moomaw, Innovations Human Trafficking Collaborative
ChrisTiana ObeySumner, Epiphanies of Equity LLC
Virginia Herrera-Páramo, Para Los Niños de Highline
Aneelah Afzali, MAPS-AMEN (American Muslim Empowerment Network)
Marsha Mutisi, Washington Coalition of African Community Leaders
Paul Patu, Urban Family
Kayla Somvilay, Lao Community Service Center
Sharon Chambers-Gordon, Raising Girls
Aline Prata, Whatcom Peace & Justice Center
Colleen Echohawk, Chief Seattle Club
Jaqueline Garcia Castillo, Mujer Al Volante)Women Driving
Francoise Milinganyo, Congolese Integration Network
Ndudi Chuku, Mission Africa
Dian Ferguson, Central Area Senior Center (The Central, CASC)
Quinton Morris, Key to Change
Ahmed Ali, PharmD, Somali Health Board (SHB)
Guadalupe Torres, College Possible Washington
Beth Takekawa, Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience
Ginger Kwan, Open Doors for Multicultural Families
Anne Lee, TeamChild
Elizabeth Hodges, Communities in Schools of Seattle
Zamzam Mohamed, Voices of Tomorrow
Renato Foz, The Austin Foundation
Paul Lwali, Friends of Youth
Cinthia Illan Vazquez, The Washington Bus
Debbie Lacy, Eastside For All

About Us

Working at the Intersection of Action and Wellness

The BIPOC Executive Directors Coalition of Washington State connect nonprofit leaders of color across the state to support each other in healing from racial trauma and to develop unified strategies for advancing equitable policies. Support the work of the BIPOC Coalition and propel BIPOC-led systems change for a just Washington state.
You can donate through Byrd Barr Place to the BIPOC ED Coalition of Washington State fund by clicking the button below.

RSVP for Our Monthly Gatherings

Designed for BIPOC Executive Directors

December 9th, 2020
3 to 5 pm

Participate in our next healing workshop, an intentional safe space to care for ourselves and each other so we can effectively care for our communities.

This healing session will be led by Norma Wong. More information coming soon.

2021 Schedule Coming Soon

We are in the process of developing the 2021 healing and strategy monthly events. Feel free to submit suggestions to our general feedback form if you have ideas about healing and group facilitators for our 2021 schedule.

Our Voices

Why This Work Matters

Victoria Santos of Young Women Empowered

Black, Indigenous and other communities of color are disproportionately under-resourced and marginalized, suffering the most disproportionate harms. Social indicators of health, education, wealth and housing show BIPOC at the bottom. This is no accident. It is by design, a strategic win for white supremacy that builds on colonialism, slavery, redlining and exploitation. To dismantle this legacy, to stand for justice and compassion, we must invest in BIPOC communities and BIPOC leaders. BIPOC-led organizations are savvy, resilient and culturally grounded in our communities: they are uniquely effective changemakers. The time is now!

The pandemic coincides with a reckoning with racial justice, and philanthropy must not behave as if the world hasn’t changed significantly.

Rich Stolz, One America

Our BIPOC nonprofit leaders need abundant funding to tackle centuries-strong injustices. If we are to have any hope of achieving our collective liberation, funders must take dramatic action immediately.

Ananda Valenzuela, RVC

What we’re doing is movement building, this is an important ingredient in the quest for a just and equitable world.

Andrea Caupain Sanderson, Byrd Barr Place

We are closest to the problems and are therefore closest to the solutions.

Joseph Seia, Pacific Islander Community Association of Washington

Contact Us

BIPOC Executive Directors Coalition of Washington State