Long Island Racial Equity Initiative - The Long Island Community Foundation
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Long Island Racial Equity Initiative

The fund was established in 2018 to address racial inequalities by supporting strategies informed by the Long Island Racial Equity Donor Collaborative and the findings and recommendations outlined in a Long Island focused equity profile authored by Policy Link. This Fund will strive to increase upward mobility opportunities and improve the quality of life for Black Long Islanders by employing strategies that strengthen credit; build asset and wealth; develop quality workforce development opportunities.

A Collaborative Response

In response to the need for increased investment in Black-led organizations and racial justice initiatives on the Island, LICF has been working with the Urban League of Long Island and the State of Black Long Island (SOBLI) — a council of Blacks with ties to Long Island that was developed to secure economic, political and social equity for Black Long Islanders.

LICF and donor partner Citi, saw the need to validate SOBLI’s work with reliable data. For that reason, they approached PolicyLink, which conducted a study, “An Equity Profile of Long Island,” which found that the region — Nassau and Suffolk Counties, that had a combined annual economy of $120 billion, was losing $24 billion a year as a result of racial economic disparities. The report also stated that the financial loss would only continue growing without intervention that would create equity for Black residents. This report and a subsequent report, released by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, highlighted two major challenges — lack of access to credit and financial exclusion for Black Long Islanders. SOBLI and other local community organizations have endeavored to address these realities through research-informed policies and programs that will improve the economic wellbeing of Black Long Islanders.

To further support SOBLI’s agenda and other similar social justice work on Long Island, LICF established the Long Island Racial Equity Donor Collaborative (Collaborative) in 2018, a first-of-its-kind Long Island-wide mechanism for pooling philanthropic resources to address the deeply rooted racial inequities on Long Island.  Member institutions – Apple Bank, BankUnited, BNB Bank, Capital One, Citi, JPMorgan Chase, The Long Island Community Foundation, Long Island Unitarian Universalist Fund, M&T Bank, Nassau Financial Federal Credit Union, Santander Bank, Surdna Foundation, and William E. & Maude S. Pritchard Charitable Trust) – have been pooling their resources to support strategies to address systemic racial inequities impacting the economic health of Black Long Islanders.

The Collaborative members adopted a place-based funding approach in an effort to work with the community for change. What followed was many meetings with community members, a landscape study conducted by Urban Institute and funded by donor partner JPMorgan Chase, the launch of a region-wide request for proposals, and seven grants to provide the critical tools to aid leaders in understanding the racial economic equity landscape and develop plans that will increase the number of living-wage jobs available and/or improve credit access.

The focus of the Long Island Racial Equity Donor Collaborative is to support regional institutional leaders representing government, nonprofits, and the private sector, in establishing strategic priorities and guiding targeted investments in critical areas of need for black Long Islanders. These efforts will be directed at the systems level – organizational networks, associations, institutional configurations, and pivotal stakeholders – in an effort to build capacity, catalyze collaboration, and strengthen the systems that can serve the interest of achieving tangible outcomes.

The Strategy

The Long Island Racial Equity Donor Collaborative developed a strategy based on the principles of community inclusion, a steadfast commitment to equity in all facets of this initiative, and a model of partnership that builds upon the strengths of Long Island’s leadership and its institutions.  The strategy focuses on the domains of improving financial health and improving access to quality jobs and family-sustaining wages. This strategy includes:

A six-month discovery (planning) process – where selected nonprofits receive $25,000 in planning grants to foster the creation or further development of a program, partnership, and/or research proposal that addresses racial economic equity on Long Island – will help increase the organizational capacity of these organizations and help the Collaborative identify promising initiatives to target for additional funding.

Read the seven planning grants press release here.

In the News
$400,000 Has Been Granted to Long Island Nonprofits to Address Racial Wealth Inequities
$400,000 Has Been Granted to Long Island Nonprofits to Address Racial Wealth Inequities
2021 Grantees Check Presentation

The Long Island Racial Equity Donor Collaborative at the Long Island Community Foundation has approved grants totaling $400,000 to provide continued support to organizations working to advance racial equity by increasing access to living-wage jobs and improving financial wellness.

Click here to read the full press release.

Tonya Thomas of LICF receives the LIBN's Diversity in Business Award
Tonya Thomas of LICF receives the LIBN's Diversity in Business Award

Congratulations to our own at the Long Island Community Foundation Tonya Thomas in receiving the Long Island Business News Diversity in Business Award – for all her hard work in the LI Racial Equity Donor Collaborative. We are very proud of her and congratulate all the honorees who actively support diversity and equity on Long Island!

See the full journal from the LIBN Awards here.

Investing in the Mission to Address Racial Economic Inequality in America’s First Suburb
Investing in the Mission to Address Racial Economic Inequality in America’s First Suburb

The Long Island Community Foundation (LICF) has long taken on the role as a local broker to take the lead on [critical] issues, to build the capacity of nonprofits, and bring community, financial and intellectual resources to the table.

Learn why funders should join the Long Island Racial Equity Donor Collaborative! Click here.

Key Documents and Reports
African American Asset Based Organizational Development
African American Asset Based Organizational Development
Landscape Scan
Landscape Scan
Theory of Change
Theory of Change
Request for Proposals
Request for Proposals
Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
Equity Profile on Long Island
Equity Profile on Long Island
Federal Reserve LI Credit Report
Federal Reserve LI Credit Report

Long Island Racial Equity Donor Collaborative Members:

For more information, contact Sol Marie Alfonso Jones at sjones@licf.org.