A private philanthropic foundation is donating over two million dollars in grants to six organizations in Fresno as part of a nationwide social justice initiative.
In a statement the Kresge Foundation’s CEO and President Rip Rapson said, “These new grants and social investments seek to ensure that racial justice activists and leaders have sufficient resources to make the lasting changes needed both nationally and in communities across the country.”
The Detroit-based foundation is providing these grants with no conditions on how the money should be spent.
That’s unusual, says Tara Gray, the president and CEO of the Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce. Typically granting agencies list specific criteria on how the money should be spent.
“It not only acknowledges the important work of these organizations, but it's an acknowledgment and validation of the value of the people who are doing the work,” Gray said.
And as human resources are rarely included in grant funding, Gray says the chamber will use some of the money to invest in increasing salaries and staff to better serve the area.
“Black businesses and black organizations employ black people,” Gray explained. “And it creates a level of self efficacy and capacity in our organizations that spills over and out into our community.”
In addition, the funding will also be used to boost the chamber's participation in the DRIVE Initiative, a regional investment plan that focuses on economic development, human capital, and neighborhood development. FMBCC is leading the Betting Big on Small Businesses Owned by Women and People of Color, one of the plans 19 iniatives.
Other organizations that will receive the grant include Faith in the Valley, Council on American Islamic Relations – Central California, Jakara Movement, Leadership Council for Justice and Acountability and Hmong Innovating Politics.