Philanthropic investments in the Black community

As Memphis and the world marks the anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. there is much to reflect on and much to look forward to. Our reflections can be a source of inspiration for what we can accomplish together moving forward into the future. We can embrace the “fierce urgency of now” that Dr. King spoke of.

“We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there “is” such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time.”

The work of social justice and social change continues through churches, local and national organizations, partnerships, shared learning, persistent advocacy, social organizing, lawsuits, and through advancing policy agendas. And, it continues with support of foundations, many of whom are members of ABFE.

Who, you may ask, is ABFE? ABFE is a philanthropic partnership for black communities. It is a membership organization established in 1971 that advocates for responsive and transformative investments in Black communities. ABFE partners with foundations, nonprofits and philanthropists, providing professional development and technical assistance resources that further the philanthropic sector’s connection and responsiveness to issues of equity, diversity and inclusion.

Early on ABFE advocated for the inclusion of African Americans within the leadership ranks of philanthropic foundations. They have consistently advocated for an awareness of issues facing the black community and the importance of investing in African American communities, institutions and leadership. Now, 45 years later, there are African Americans in leadership within the philanthropic sector. And there has been – and continues to be – a consistent push for responsiveness, education, and dialog on how both philanthropy – and a lack of philanthropic investments – impact Black communities. ABFE encourages research and shared learnings, all with the goal of promoting effective and responsive philanthropy in Black communities. It is an influential network.

And, ABFE is coming to Memphis – to the Peabody Hotel to be exact. The 2018 annual conference – titled The Fierce Urgency of Now – begins Saturday April 14th and closes Tuesday morning the 17th.

The opening plenary is fittingly named A Call to action for Philanthropy and Black Communities. Two sessions focus on diversity within the African American community. These are Championing Alliances for Black Immigrants; and the session titled Inclusion Within the Black Community: Making Philanthropic Investments in the LGBTQ Community. Another session – Fortifying Black-Led Organizations: Strategies and Tactics – will focus on the needs of organizations that are led by African Americans, and the special challenges they face.

Learn more and register to attend The conference is for all who want to increase their knowledge and their network. The agenda is all about increasing public and private investments in Black communities. It can’t get any easier to connect and learn.

 “This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is time for vigorous and positive change.” – Dr. King, 1963, March on Washington.

Copyright 2018 – Mel and Pearl Shaw

Mel and Pearl Shaw believe in the importance of investing in the African American community. If you want help growing your fundraising, call them at (901) 522-8727 or  visit