We say their names and honor their memories. Breonna Taylor. Tony McDade. Manuel Ellis. Ahmaud Arbery. George Floyd.
Since the first slave ship landed on the shores of Virginia, Black people in this country have been looted of the essential dignity, freedoms, lives, livelihoods, and lands owed to them. Now, in this moment of collective recognition, horror, and protest, there opens a possibility for change. Real change. Justice and liberation can only come with the dismantling of brutal White Supremacist institutions and systems this county was founded on and continues to enforce. It will take a steady and stable infusion of resources over the long term to continue to build on the evolution of movements and coalitions that will lead to transformation.
The Samuel S. Fels Fund stands in solidarity with those calling for Black liberation and justice. We will demonstrate this solidarity with commitments to:
- address anti-Black racism when we experience or witness it
- work internally to eliminate White Supremacy in our organizational culture, practices and policies at the Fels Fund and build trust with Black communities in a majority-African American City
- increase support of Black-led and Black-serving organizations, including grassroots community organizing
- increase support of coalitions between and among communities that have been historically marginalized racially, socially and economically
- direct dollars towards the development and well-being of Black people who, in our grantee partner organizations and within the Fels Fund, experience the trauma and carry the emotional burden of being Black in the nonprofit sector
- increase support of community-based, Black-led arts and culture organizations in Black communities that nourish, celebrate and uplift Black people and culture
- explore ways to attract capital for investment in Black-owned businesses.
We make this statement knowing that for all the good that philanthropy can do, it is a product of vast inequality and often reinforces the harms it professes to address. We will not get it right all the time; we believe that working in solidarity with those most affected by the harms — of White Supremacy and deliberate exclusion — will move us towards justice. As we increase our commitments to Black communities in Philadelphia, we will continue to make grants across our current funding areas. We have much to do to uphold the unfulfilled promise of Philadelphia as a City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection. May we do it together and may healing come.