Get to Know the Black Community Fund

Sarah NavranCommunity Foundation News

The Black Community Fund (BCF) is Kansas City’s largest institutional funder wholly dedicated to serving the Black community. Since its founding in 1983, BCF has invested more than $4 million in organizations addressing critical community needs within the Black community. Additionally, BCF is committed to expanding educational access for Black students. In 2023, BCF awarded $176,000 in scholarships to 40 Black students, enhancing their ability to pursue higher education.

We sat down with Executive Director NaTika Rowles to delve deeper into how BCF is shaping positive change.

Q: What are the key areas and causes BCF is focused on?

A: BCF cares about a variety of issues that contribute to the well-being and empowerment of the Black community, such as access to education, economic empowerment, health equity, wellness, social justice, arts and humanities, job readiness, youth development and mentorship, technology and innovation, organizational strengthening, and philanthropic empowerment. We do this by making grants to Black-led, Black-serving nonprofits, providing scholarships to Black students, convening around critical issues concerning the community and mobilizing philanthropy in Black communities.

Q: What values does BCF hold when grantmaking?

A: BCF recognizes the inequities in the grant funding process and the barriers that nonprofits face when seeking funding and building capacity. Our values lie in being an engaged funder and creating access for organizations, through equitable grantmaking practices that shift the culture of philanthropy.  Our approach is to support organizations that are affecting positive change in our community.

Q: For the past several years, BCF has held a “Vision Workshop” to help build capacity for Black-serving organizations. Can you tell us more about it?

A: The Vision Workshop aims to empower and equip grassroots, Black-led, Black-serving nonprofit leaders with the skills and knowledge they need to thrive, ultimately leading to stronger, more resilient organizations and communities. The comprehensive, full-day workshop is facilitated by content experts addressing challenges that affect capacity building, mission, and impact. Each nonprofit leader in attendance receives a grant award (typically between $500 and $1,000) for completing the full-day workshop and is invited to pitch for a larger competitive grant. The workshop is a tool to achieve trust-based, relational grantmaking and organizational strengthening opportunities.

Q: Are there any new projects BCF has planned for 2024?

A: BCF has several new exciting initiatives for 2024. A few highlights include:

  • Mental health education
  • Empowerment for Black leaders
  • A second season of the Culture of Giving Podcast
  • Access to education for Black students

Q: How can donors support BCF and its initiatives?

A: Donors can contribute to the sustainability and success of BCF with financial contributions, networking opportunities to connect with potential partners and resources, and, on a broader scale, use philanthropic influence to advocate for social justice and equity, addressing systemic issues that impact the Black community.

The Greater Kansas City Community Foundation aims to empower nonprofits, philanthropists, business and civic leaders, government officials, and others to understand the important role they can play in advancing racial equity. Learn more about the Community Foundation’s work with racial equity, BCF and more.