Harambee 2023 Annual Conference

32nd Annual James A. Joseph Lecture and Awards

ABFE: A Philanthropic Partnership for Black Communities

Announces 2022 James A. Joseph Lecturer and Annual Award Winners

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – ABFE, A Philanthropic Partnership for Black Communities, celebrates the recognition of our 2022 honorees as part of the 31st Annual James A. Joseph Lecture and awards:

  • James A. Joseph Lecturer: Judy Belk, President & Chief Executive Officer of the California Wellness Foundation
  • Institutional Award: if, A Foundation for Radical Possibility
  • Emerging Leader in Philanthropy: Jacoria Borders, Program Officer at The Arthur M. Blank Foundation
  • Trailblazer: Social Change Fund United; Carmelo Anthony,Chris Paul, and Dwyane Wade


The awardees will be recognized at the 31st Annual James A. Joseph Lecture and Awards ceremony on April 22, 2022, hosted during ABFE’s Annual Harambee Conference. ABFE is at the center of a movement that inspires grantmaking entities, philanthropic individuals and nonprofits to advocate for responsive and transformative investments in Black communities. ABFE is committed to helping empower philanthropy, by leveraging our collective action, as a unified and strategic force.

ABFE would like to congratulate the 2022 James A. Joseph Lecturer and award recipients:

James A. Joseph Lecturer on Philanthropy

The James A. Joseph Lecture was established in 1991 in honor of ABFE’s co-founder and distinguished philanthropic leader, Ambassador James A. Joseph. Each year, this award recognizes an outstanding individual whose visionary leadership and stewardship of progressive philanthropic ideals advance ABFE’s mission. The Lecture is considered ABFE’s annual signature event and an illustration of our continuing commitment to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas about the role of philanthropy in addressing the concerns of Black communities.

Presented to: Judy Belk, President & Chief Executive Officer of the California Wellness Foundation

Judy Belk is an experienced leader with more than 25 years of senior management experience in the philanthropic, government, nonprofit and corporate sectors. Before joining The California Wellness Foundation in April 2014, she served as senior vice president of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors and as vice president of global public affairs at Levi Strauss & Co. In her current role at Cal Wellness, Belk uses her vision and her voice to direct the foundation’s work to improve the health of traditionally underserved populations.

With $1 billion in assets, Cal Wellness is one of California’s largest public health philanthropic institutions. Cal Wellness awards approximately $43 million annually in grants and program-related investments that promote health equity, justice and advocacy for communities and individuals whose lives and wellness are too often determined by their race, income, immigration status or where they live. Throughout its 30-year history, Cal Wellness has played a leadership role in promoting violence prevention as a public health issue and is one of the nation’s leading philanthropic voices in funding gun violence prevention efforts. Under Belk’s leadership, Cal Wellness launched initiatives to advance the health of Black women, particularly those with HIV-AIDS and formerly incarcerated women experiencing challenges to reentry. She also has worked with Cal Wellness staff and board to invest the foundation’s endowment with diverse asset managers, particularly people of color and women, who now account for over 45% of its managers.

Belk is a frequent writer and speaker whose work appears in the op-ed pages of the Los Angeles Times. Belk, a consummate storyteller, has a particular passion for exploring narratives focused on family, community, race and social change. She currently serves on the boards of the Surdna Foundation and Hedgebrook. She is a member of the Presidents’ Council on Disability and Inclusion in Philanthropy and also an advisory board member for the University of California Firearms Violence Research Center. A native of Alexandria, Virginia, Belk was inducted in the Alexandria African American Hall of Fame in recognition of her writing and public service leadership.

Belk received a BS in communications from Northwestern University and an MA in public administration from California State University, East Bay where she was recognized as the 1999 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year. In August 2020, she received the 2020 Northwestern Alumni Medal, the highest honor given by the Northwestern Alumni Association. Belk has been an active member of ABFE since joining the philanthropic sector more than 30 years ago. She noted that in her early years, black foundation staff could gather in a medium-sized conference room and now we can fill a grand ballroom. She added that at key moments throughout her career, Ambassador Joseph has been an influential figure – both through ABFE and while he led the Council on Foundations as well as during his service as U.S. Ambassador to South Africa.

“I’m deeply honored to receive this recognition that celebrates the legacy of Ambassador James Joseph, whose career trajectory affected my own,” Belk said. “And it’s doubly sweet to receive it in Washington, DC, just miles from my hometown of Alexandria where my family was part of a close-knit African American community. It was in this community where I first learned about philanthropy’s power to improve the health of Black communities.”

Institutional Award for Philanthropic Leadership

The ABFE Institutional Award for Philanthropic Leadership was established in 2002 to recognize significant efforts and contributions of grant-making organizations that to promoting philanthropy as a means for social change in Black communities. This award recognizes an exemplary grant-making institution that models effective and responsive grant-making practices.

Presented to:  if, A Foundation for Radical Possibility

Founded in 1994, if, A Foundation for Radical Possibility is a private foundation that has given away more than $27 million in grants to nonprofits in the Washington, DC region. The foundation has five core pillars for implementing its racial justice approach in order to center the voices, leadership, and experiences of Black and BIPOC people living at the sharpest intersection of oppression: community power, culture, healing justice, institutions and structures, and reparations and economic justice.

The vision of the if Foundation is for Black people and people of the global majority to live powerfully, abundantly, and beautifully in healthy, self-determined communities free of social, economic, and ideological violence. They do this by supporting community-based and nonprofit organizations in the Washington, DC region that advance racial equity and justice. 

Mission Statement: “We achieve our vision by centering the leadership and expertise of Black people and people of the global majority in the Washington, DC region who live at the sharpest intersection of systems of oppression, in particular race, class and gender identity.”

Emerging Leader in Philanthropy

The Emerging Leader in Philanthropy Award was established in 2002 to recognize and encourage the accomplishments and contributions of people under the age of 40, who have served as staff, donors, and trustees in the philanthropic sector for no more than 7 years. This award recognizes an outstanding individual whose innovative leadership promotes philanthropy as a means of social change in Black communities and advances ABFE’s mission.


Presented to:  Jacoria Borders, Program Officer at The Arthur M. Blank Foundation

In her current role at The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, Jacoria leads the foundation’s democracy portfolio and civic engagement activations across the Blank Family of Businesses. She also sits on the organization’s inaugural DEI Council and leads the Blank Family of Businesses Racial Justice Fund. Jacoria currently serves on The Hands on Atlanta Changemakers Board, Matt & Sarah Ryan’s ATL: Advance The Lives Advisory Board, and is a 2021 New Leaders Council Fellow.

Before joining The Blank Family Foundation, Borders helped lead in-state fundraising operations for Stacey Abrams for Governor. She managed nearly 100 special events and fundraisers in Georgia, including surrogate events with John Legend, Vice President Kamala Harris, Senator Cory Booker, and was a site lead for the “Our Georgia Rally” with President Barack Obama. Previously, Jacoria served at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in Cincinnati, Ohio, and the Georgia House Democratic Caucus.

Borders is a proud graduate of The Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University and Morehouse School of Medicine.

Trailblazer Award

In 2014, ABFE established the Trailblazer Award to honor and recognize Black donors who selflessly contribute to important causes for Black people in our communities.

Presented to: Social Change Fund United; Carmelo AnthonyChris Paul, and Dwyane Wade

Social Change Fund United was created in 2020 by philanthropists, entrepreneurs, and NBA stars Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, and Dwyane Wade to support critical issues impacting the Black community. Through its partnerships and investments, the organization advocates for indigenous people and communities of color through policy solutions, community representation, and narrative change.

The Social Change Fund will primarily focus on critical issues including public safety and criminal justice reform, empowering communities of color by expanding access to voting and civic engagement, increasing Black representation in leadership, and building economic equity for Black people through investment in education, employment, wages, and housing. The $10,000 Social Change Fund United Scholarship was established to support Black students pursuing a career in mental health.

Mission Statement: “We galvanize social change to create a fair and equitable society for all. We support a robust constellation of organizations on the frontlines of liberating Black people and advocating for communities of color through improved policies, representation, and narrative change.”








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