ABFE Presents ─ Headline News and Announcements

Meet the 2022-2023 Connecting Leaders Fellowship Cohort
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 22, 2022 Contact: Lya Wesley(lwesley@abfe.org)
ABFE Announces 2022 -2023 CONNECTING LEADERS FELLOWS   New York, New York — ABFE: A Philanthropic Partnership for Black Communities has selected ten foundation executives for the 17th class of its Connecting Leaders Fellowship Program (CLFP). CLFP is a year-long experience designed to sharpen the skills and strengthen the leadership capacity of foundation staff, donors, and trustees who are committed to assisting Black communities through philanthropy.   The 2022- 2023 cohort of fellows were chosen based on a set of criteria covering their experience in philanthropy, their future goals, as well as their interest and passion for making systemic change in Black communities.   "The Class of 2022-2023 is an inspiring group – all of whom are accomplished trailblazers,” said TJ Breeden, ABFE Programs Director. “In today’s social climate, it is imperative to bring thought leaders together to find innovative ways to promote effective and responsive philanthropy in Black communities. Only through collaboration and meaningful dialogue will we be able to leverage our collective efforts to amplify impact.”   The Fellowship begins with a week-long Leadership Summit held in Atlanta, GA. In addition, fellows conduct a 360-degree evaluation and are assigned a leadership coach. Each fellow is required to complete a community-based learning project, which serves as a vehicle for integrating professional development with community service goals.   This year's cohort will learn from seasoned Grantmakers and peers on a regular basis, understand how to be more effective agents for change within their institutions, and participate in a network that focuses on innovative solutions to community challenges.   “I am honored to welcome this class of CLFP fellows,” said ABFE’s President and CEO, Susan Taylor Batten. “Each year, we select a remarkable cohort of Black professionals who are shaping the narrative of philanthropy. It is our privilege to support their important work and help amplify their voices and innovative ideas.”   Since 2005, ABFE’s Fellowship Program has supported more than 160 Fellows as they pursued ambitious approaches to advancing the sector. This year’s Fellows have vast experience across a range of issue areas and work in diverse fields across various foundation and nonprofit organizations.  
2022-2023 Connecting Leaders Fellows include:  
  • Camarrah Morgan ─ Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation, Program Partner/Network Partner
  • Chris Ellis ─ The Pittsburgh Foundation, Program Officer for Healthy Children and Adults
  • Christopher LeFlore ─ The Kresge Foundation, Special Assistant to the President
  • Kent Olden, MS ─ The Health Foundation for Western & Central New York Communications Content Manager
  • Lasindra Webb, MPA ─ Blue Cross NC Foundation, Grant Manager
  • Monique Carswell ─ Walmart.org, Director, Center for Racial Equity
  • Nomzana Augustin ─ World Education Services - Mariam Assefa Fund, Senior Manager, Partnerships & Strategic Initiatives
  • Temi Bennett, Esq. ─ if, a Foundation for Radical Possibility, Director of Policy
  • Tyrell Smith ─ Smith Family Foundation, Board Treasurer/ Community Engagement
  • Tenaja Jordan, MPA ─ CHANGE Philanthropy, Research & Communications Director
  View their individual profile sheets here: CLFP Fellows 2022-23              

Celebrating Black history and Black futures
Cowritten by ABFE and Candid
  While recently recognized as a federal holiday in 2021, Black people have long celebrated the historical importance of Juneteenth. From kitchen tables to campuses of Historical Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Juneteenth is well revered in the Black community as an important narrative thread with a rich and complex tapestry. This blog provides a brief overview of Juneteenth and the role that HBCUs have played as guardians of Black history and Black futures.     Looking back at the history of Juneteenth and HBCUs   Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas learned that they had in fact been granted their freedom in 1863 and had spent two additional years in bondage at the hands of exploitative plantation owners. While the history of the holiday is a bitter tale that involves immense trauma and deceit, we have grown to celebrate and reflect on the day as the first semblance of freedom Black people were granted, albeit nearly 100 years after the Declaration of Independence boldly offered freedom to everyone else.   It is not a coincidence that Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) came into prominence around the same time. HBCUs were established to provide higher education opportunities to Black Americans. This was necessary, as Black students continued to be unwelcome at institutions of higher education, despite legislation that promised otherwise. The first HBCU was established in 1837 (the African Institute; now Cheyney University of Pennsylvania), and a few others were established in the mid-1800s. However, the majority of HBCUs originated from 1865-1900, the years following the Emancipation Proclamation, with the greatest number of HBCUs founded in 1867.   Many history books in American schools fail to include the history or acknowledgement of Juneteenth, but at HBCUs, students get a much deeper and contextualized presentation of what it has meant to be Black in America. Taking a multi-faceted look at Black history that goes beyond notable moments in the Civil Rights era makes HBCUs powerful repositories of historical data, chroniclers of Black lives, and centers of Black culture.   Looking to the future   HBCUs are also about the future. An HBCU Midnight Brunch during Juneteenth weekend at the Roots 101: African American Museum, a nonprofit in Louisville, Kentucky, exemplifies this fusion of the past and what is to come. The event marks a historical milestone, but will also feature nonprofits and young people coming together to learn about and create non-fungible tokens, which are digital assets known as NFTs that use blockchain technology.   “When we talk about history, we always say we teach the past while we teach the future. HBCUs have always been the key to the Black community,” says Lamont Collins, the CEO and Founder of Roots 101.  “We have to pour into that next generation. It’s a natural fit with technology and the history of Black colleges. Juneteenth is about liberation and we're going to be deliberate and continue to grow.”   Since George Floyd’s death and the subsequent racial reckoning, many funders are recognizing HBCUs as leaders of Black communities. A number of foundations, corporations, and high net worth individuals have started funding HBCUs for the first time over the last two years.[1] This philanthropic funding is important, as it frees HBCUs from needing to focus on keeping the lights on, and allows them to focus on the future.   ABFE President and CEO Susan Taylor Batten believes in the power of collaboration across sectors to uplift the Black community. “Juneteenth has been an important and celebrated holiday for Black people in this country for many years.”, says Susan Taylor Batten, President and CEO of ABFE and a graduate of both Fisk University and Howard University. “To recognize the holiday, we encourage foundations and donors to support HBCUs and other Black-led organizations that are the keepers of this history and hold the promise of our future.”   As the nation takes time to learn about and celebrate Juneteenth, remember to acknowledge the past and simultaneously look for ways to help build the way to a brighter future.   __________________________________________________________________________   [1] ABFE and Candid’s upcoming research report will unpack philanthropic giving to HBCUs over the last two decades and offer more details about recent waves of funding. 

ABFE Appoints New Board Members
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   May 16, 2022   Contact: Lya Wesley(lwesley@abfe.org)   NEW YORK, NEW YORK – ABFE is proud to announce the appointment of three new members to its Board of Directors: Cynthia Muller, Isaiah Oliver and Stephen Webster.   Cynthia Muller is the director, Mission Driven Investments, at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. In this role, she is responsible for developing and managing strategic impact investment activities that address systemic barriers that create vulnerable conditions for historically marginalized communities and children. Muller is responsible for driving the strategy and performance of the foundation’s $160 million mission driven investments portfolio.   Isaiah M. Oliver is president and chief executive officer of the Community Foundation of Greater Flint, a charitable organization focused on engaging people in philanthropy to build a stronger community. In his role, Isaiah leads the Foundation’s strategic priorities around improving literacy rates, increasing access to healthy food, strengthening resident-led neighborhood improvements, and providing critical resources to the children affected by the Flint Water Crisis.   Stephen Webster is chief financial officer & vice president of Finance for the Kansas Health Foundation (KHF). In this capacity, he is responsible for investment portfolio administration, investment performance, accounting, financial reporting and risk management. The fiduciary stewardship led by Webster is critical for a foundation whose funds are meant be used in perpetuity for future generations. Prior to joining KHF, Webster, who is a Certified Public Accountant, worked at the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis for more than 20 years. Webster’s career also includes roles at Porter Leath Children’s Center and as an accountant at KPMG Peat Marwick. He lives in Andover with his wife and two daughters.   “We are honored to have Cynthia, Isaiah, and Stephen join our Board,” said ABFE CEO, Susan Taylor Batten. “Each bring to ABFE tremendous experience and expertise which will add new perspectives and ideas to our Board. We look forward to working with each of them to advance ABFE’s mission.”   Our newest Board members join a distinguished group of philanthropic leaders ─ below is the full 2022-23 ABFE Board:   CORY S. ANDERSON, BOARD CHAIR Executive Vice President, Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation   SHARON BUSH, VICE CHAIR Executive Director, Grand Victoria Foundation   SYLVIA BARTLEY, SECRETARY Global Director, Medtronic   MARIA WOODRUFF-WRIGHT, TREASURER Vice President of Operations & Chief Financial Officer, The Skillman Foundation   STEPHANIE BELL-ROSE Corporate, Philanthropy, and Governance Professional   AISHA ALEXANDER-YOUNG Chief Executive Officer, Giving Gap   MELISSA DESHIELDS Chief Executive Officer & Partner, Frontline Solutions   HERBERT DRAYTON, III Founder & Managing Partner, Hi Mark Capital   JAMES HEAD fmr. President & Chief Executive Officer, East Bay Community Foundation   WENDY LEWIS JACKSON Managing Director of Detroit Program, The Kresge Foundation   SUSAN D. JOHNSON Director of Operations & Grants Administration, Lumina Foundation   CYNTHIA MULLER Director of Mission Driven Investment, W.K. Kellogg Foundation   ISAIAH OLIVER  President & Chief Executive Officer, Community Foundation of Greater Flint   UPENDO SHABAZZ Regional Vice President, Palm Beach, Allegany Franciscan Ministries   MAISHA SIMMONS Director of New Jersey Grantmaking, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation   STEPHEN WEBSTER Chief Financial Officer & Vice President of Finance, Kansas Health Foundation   DALILA WILSON-SCOTT President, Comcast NBCUniversal Foundation

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