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Our Right to Heal: Stories from Black Women Fundraisers

By June 10, 2020September 18th, 2020Nonprofits, Storytelling

I, like many of you, find myself having important conversations about my deeply embedded blindness of racism. When I saw the AFP Global project “Our Right to Heal,” with stories from Black women fundraisers, I was disturbed by what I had never noticed. Thank you to Nneka Allen, CFRE for her leadership in raising these voices. And thank you to each of these women for their courage in sharing their personal and professional stories.

I share their stories to help me, and all of us, listen, educate ourselves, and stand in solidarity with these and all Black women fundraisers.

It is time to understand. And then take action to make things right.

As Nneka says, “Our stories are shared both for the reader to learn and empathize, but this is also medicine for the women who write. The agony of being made invisible, the assumption that our lived experiences and stories are not worth telling and the ultimate exclusion of our contributions must be acknowledged. These Bright Papers serve as an illumination and a therapy.”

Two Bright Papers to get you started:

Healing by Anonymous. Stark and poetic.

Mining the Treasure and Talent of our Rich Diversity by Marva Wisdom.

She writes powerfully about the heavy burden of exclusion, racism, and inequality.




  • I’ve been in fundraising goes to my career, back when AFP, was NSFRE. I so appreciate this post and the sharing. I’m now a CEO for an affiliate of a federated organization and shared my thoughts with my peers…

    Yesterday, I posted on my personal facebook page that “I suddenly realized, I was not okay’. I’m not telling you this for sympathy, but in the spirit of “Listening, learning and seeking to understand”. Racism against black people is everywhere and not just on the neck of black men. I am reminded that I carry a burden that hurts me to my core because it impacts our mission. As a black CEO, I do not have some of the same level of access to wealth as my white counterparts, the playing field is far from even. Research by the Bridgespan Group found revenues of the Black-led organizations are 24 percent smaller than the revenues of their white-led counterparts, and the unrestricted net assets of the Black-led organizations are 76 percent smaller than their white-led counterparts. I work my butt off for this mission, I love what I do. I have 30 years of experience, both nationally and locally, with over a decade as a CEO. You tell me I’m a good leader and I receive that from you. But every time we miss the mark of hitting our financial goals so we can move forward, I’m reminded and frustrated that I don’t have access to some of the privileged doors that many of you walk through everyday. I start to doubt my capacity to really lead. Please, please know I’m sharing this from a deep place of hurt and not one of righteous indignation towards you. Real wealth is few and far apart in the black community because of systemic economic and social racial constructs – generational wealth that we don’t have to pass down. Even if you built your own wealth, you were able to move forward without the unique barriers of being black. Racism is real. It sabotages my good efforts…our good efforts (intentional or unintentional). Many of you have access in places I never can. As a 3rd generation college graduate, I was afforded a comfortable upbringing, but it didn’t take away the injustices of being black. As my mother used to say, “Because of the color of your skin you will have to work twice as hard”, but I’m encouraged that you have a hand on my shoulder as colleagues and not my neck. We will lift up this organization together.

    • Jeanine,
      Thank you for your heartfelt, important words. It is important that I, and others, hear you. Today and going forward.
      I offer my personal support in your fundraising work in a way that feels meaningful to you. I’ll reach out soon. Just know that today you are being heard and energetically supported. – Lori Jacobwith

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