The Black Civic Engagement Fund was established in 2012 to develop and coordinate resources for investment in national and local organizations focused on engaging Black communities around nonpartisan issues related to voter participation. In 2012, BCEF raised and granted $3 million to 18 local and national organizations to lead voter education, voter protection, and mobilization efforts in five states.
Through its first three years of activities the BCEF has sought to:
- Coordinate resources for investment in Black civic engagement infrastructure;
- Bring together strategic partners in the donor community to develop and implement funding strategies for Black communities;
- Encourage, through targeted investment, the coordination of national civic engagement organizations; and
- Invest in anchor organizations and critical capacities in key states to help strengthen the work on the ground.
The result of those investments include: seeding a national table to coordinate field work and develop shared capacities for member organizations; providing strategic resources for state and local groups to engage Black communities to both educate voters to participate in elections and to advance critical issues facing Black communities including healthcare advocacy and voting rights; evolving a set of anchor organizations that coordinate national and local efforts; and coordinating collaborative nonpartisan voter mobilization efforts and collective narrative and message development. Our partner organizations have talked to hundreds of thousands of voters and community members, and mobilized them to the polls, to rallies and community events, and to engage with their elected representatives to advocate for smart solutions on community issues.
The BCEF is the only donor collaboration in the country specifically dedicated to building and strengthening Black civic infrastructure. We believe that providing a center of gravity for coordination among national groups, expansion of capacity among local anchor groups at the state and regional level, and coordinating donor strategy and investments for this sector is a necessary component of sustaining infrastructure for progressive philanthropy.