Press Release

Official Harambee 2024 Press Release



New York, N.Y. (Feb. 13, 2024) – ABFE: A Philanthropic Partnership for Black Communities is excited to announce that it will host its Harambee 2024 Annual Conference: Let’s All Pull Together this year in St. Louis, Missouri from April 25th to the 27th. Pre-conference activities begin on April 24th, setting the stage for a dynamic program that builds on the rich cultural heritage and history of the city known for Black history, blues, and barbecue.

ABFE’s annual conference continues to make history as the largest gathering of Black professionals in organized philanthropy, offering unparalleled networking, learning, and collaboration opportunities; with curated sessions influenced by ABFE’s racial equity and anti-Black racism framework. Building upon the momentum from last year’s conference in Raleigh NC, the event will commence with a welcome from St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones, accompanied by a noteworthy appearance from St. Louis Circuit Attorney Gabriel E. Gore.

From discussions and presentations by local and national philanthropic leaders, attendees will gain not only a greater understanding and appreciation for the local philanthropic landscape, but also lessons and tools that can be repurposed and reimagined for use across the nation. A noted annual highlight of the conference is the James A. Joseph Lecture and Awards Ceremony, spotlighting leaders making significant contributions to philanthropy. Amidst the great vibes, attendees can enjoy plenty of celebrations that have earned Harambee its reputation as the “family gathering of Black philanthropy”!

In the backdrop of significant historical moments, including the notable Dred Scott case, the 10th anniversary of Michael Brown’s murder, and the Ferguson Uprising, Harambee arrives in St. Louis as a revitalizing force. Harambee will serve as a crucial platform for Black liberation, reflection, celebration, and strategic action in a city facing systemic challenges rooted in racism and the divestment of Black communities.

“Choosing St. Louis as our conference location is a deliberate act of solidarity with its Black community. We recognize the city’s struggles but, more importantly, we recognize the incredible legacy of this city and stand beside the community as we collectively seek to address and invest in the root causes of systemic challenges,” says Susan Taylor Batten, ABFE President and CEO.  “ABFE is committed to organizing collective investments in Black-led social change to build political and economic power in Missouri, and hosting our annual conference here is just an initial step. This event will prioritize local Black businesses, shed light on Black-led and focused nonprofits, and convene national leaders to discuss collaborative opportunities for localized impact.”

Rebeccah Bennett, the Founder and Principal of Emerging Wisdom LLC & InPower Institute, and former Board Member of Forward Through Ferguson, expresses excitement about the upcoming arrival of ABFE’s Harambee conference to the city.

“I’m delighted that ABFE’s 2024 Harambee conference is coming to St. Louis at a watershed moment in the region’s philanthropic history,” said Bennett. “For the first time ever, the leaders of the two largest foundations in the state are African Americans, along with the chief executives of the region’s community foundation, United Way, and child well-being and arts funding organizations. With this all-star roster of Black leadership talent, the question that arises for me is what becomes possible for Black people and other marginalized groups that would not otherwise occur without such powerful representation? This isn’t just a question for St. Louis, but for philanthropy as a whole and will be an underlying inquiry for Harambee conference attendees. Once we’re at the head of the table, can the rest of us expect to see liberation on the menu?”

Join ABFE in St. Louis from Wednesday, April 24th to Saturday, April 27th to be part of a pivotal moment where we collectively strategize on ensuring that liberation is not just an item on the menu but the main course for everyone. Learn more about Harambee 2024 and register here: ABFE | Harambee 2024 Annual Conference.

For those interested in covering Harambee and securing a media pass (limited availability), please reach out to Grace Oshin, ABFE’s Director of Storytelling at [email protected].  

Harambee 2023 Recap:

Check out all of our conference videos here.