17 Top Black Charity Leaders


Susan Taylor Batten: President and CEO, Association of Black Foundation Executives

Via constantcontact.com

The mission of the Association of Black Foundation Executives, whose members include the staff, trustees and donors of other grantmaking institutions, is promoting "effective and responsive philanthropy in Black communities." Points of ABFE emphasis include boosting Racial Equity in Grantmaking, strengthening member leadership skills and coordinating a funding network to improve the lives of black males. Meet Susan Batten (pdf). Learn more about ABFE.

Arnold G. Swope: Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, America's Charities

Via charities.org

America's Charities focuses on workplace giving by individuals and their employers to provide services to millions of people in communities nationwide. AC consists of more than 140 national and local charity groups in four separate federations. Key programs "protect children, promote health, ensure civil and human rights and broaden educational opportunities." Meet Arnold G. Swope.

Diane Bell-McKoy: President and CEO, Associated Black Charities


Associated Black Charities is a convener of groups and individuals, an advocate of change and a grantmaker seeking to improve the health and wealth condition of people of color, particularly blacks, in Maryland. ABC provides grants to nonprofits working on homeownership and foreclosure prevention, education, career development, financial management and health care. Meet Diane Bell-McKoy.

Allan C. Golston: President, United States Program, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Via NUL.org

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, with more than $36 billion in endowments, is the world's second-largest private charity, after the IKEA foundation. The U.S. Program's target is improving public education. Programs maintain free public library computer and online access, assist Pacific Northwest families and provide opportunities through the Gates Millennium Scholarships for low-income and minority students to attend college and graduate school. Meet Allan C. Golston.

Kurt L. Schmoke: Vice Chair, Carnegie Corporation of New York

Via juddforthenba.com

Industrialist Andrew Carnegie's charity promotes "the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding" through grants that support the expansion of education and international peace efforts. The former Baltimore mayor and current dean of Howard University Law School, Schmoke is the vice chair of the Carnegie Foundation Board of Trustees. Andrew Carnegie was an early supporter of the Tuskegee Institute. Meet Kurt L. Schmoke.

Rahsaan K. Harris: Executive Director, Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy

Via EPIP.org

Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy is dedicated to providing a professional education to a new, demographically diverse generation of grantmakers working in public, private and nonprofit community-oriented groups. In 2011 EPIP members included more than 500 individuals, 40-plus institutions and 11 chapters. In 2010 Harris joined EPIP after working for 10 years at philanthropies and nonprofits. Meet Rahsaan K. Harris.

Charlene Taylor: President, Institute for Black Charities    

Via blackcharities.net

The Institute for Black Charities, founded in 1997, collects and distributes resources to improve the quality of life for children, families and communities in Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Missouri and Texas. The IBC's service areas include natural disaster response, creating and finding new funding sources, capacity building and networking and collaboration. Meet Charlene Taylor.

William T. Merritt: President and CEO, National Black United Fund Inc.

Courtesy of National Black United Fund, Inc.    

Since 1972 the National Black United Fund Inc., which has 15 affiliates and more than 45 member groups, has promoted black charitable fundraising for African-American empowerment and social change. The NBUF receives contributions, mostly from blacks, through the Combined Federal Campaign that accesses workplace giving. Meet William T. Merritt.

Risa Lavizzo-Mourey: President and CEO, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Via UPenn.edu

Lavizzo-Mourey is the leader of the nation's largest philanthropy devoted solely to the public's health. In 2011 the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation made grants worth about $400 million in areas including the gathering and monitoring of policy analysis, health services research and technical assistance. Meet Risa Lavizzo-Mourey and read RWJF's blogs.

Robert K. Ross: President and CEO, the California Endowment

Via BlacksGiveBack.com

The Los Angeles-based private California Endowment awards grants to underserved community-based organizations statewide that are building pathways to more affordable health care. Under Ross, CE has expanded health care coverage for all children, bolstered community health center and improved farm worker and ex-offender health services. Meet Robert Ross, watch him speak about the diversifying the health professions and read CE's blog.

Ralph Smith: Executive Vice President, the Annie E. Casey Foundation

Via philanthropy.org

The private Annie E. Casey Foundation, which was established in 1948, is "dedicated to helping build better futures for disadvantaged children in the United States." Besides serving as executive VP at Casey, Smith works with the Campaign for Grade Level Reading. He is the managing director of a nationwide program targeting children from low-income families, to boost third-grade reading aptitude. Meet Ralph Smith.

Melissa Bradley: CEO, the Tides Foundation

Courtesy of the Tides Foundation    

Tides is a project supporter and grantmaker. It disperses millions to charitable organizations annually, operates and supports green nonprofits and as a fiscal sponsor, offers its legal and tax-exempt status to 230 groups with similar missions. Tides' signature funds focus on civic participation, tolerance, economic division, African health care and the death penalty. Meet Melissa Bradley. Read Tides' blog.

Stacey D. Stewart: President, United Way USA

Courtesy of United Way USA   

The United Way Worldwide is a volunteer-led organization of givers and advocates supporting nearly 1,800 community-based United Ways in 45 countries and territories. The organization, which has at least 115 U.S. corporate supporters, focuses on education, income and financial stability and health issues. Meet Stacey D. Stewart, who became the first president of the United Way USA in October 2012. Read its blog.

Sherece Y. West: President, Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation

Courtesy of Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation    

The Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation grew out of a bequest from late Arkansas Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller. WRF's program areas support education, economic development and justice in Arkansas. The organization provides grants, technical assistance and professional development, incubates ideas and leadership, and funds research to boost social and economic prospects of the state's citizens. Meet Sherece Y. West, follow her on Twitter and watch her message about place-based grantmaking.

Emmett D. Carson: CEO and President, Silicon Valley Community Foundation  

Courtesy of Silicon Valley Community Foundation    

The Silicon Valley Community Foundation provides some of the nation's wealthiest with a way to give back. SVCF, one of the world's largest community foundations, partners with more than 1,500 philanthropic funds. SVCF serves organizations in Northern California's San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, and the key grantmaking focus is on economic security, education, immigrant integration, regional planning and a community opportunity fund. Meet Emmett D. Carson.

Cecilia Conrad: Director (as of January 2013), MacArthur Fellows Program, MacArthur Foundation

Via pomona.edu

Best known for its "genius" awards, the MacArthur Foundation's mission is supporting "creative people and effective institutions committed to building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world." The foundation's four grantmaking programs explore areas including human rights, global conservation, international peace and security, and the use of digital technologies. Meet Cecilia Conrad, an award-winning economist with a specialty in economic equality.

Mo Ibrahim: Chair, Mo Ibrahim Foundation  

Via naturalresourcecharter.org

In 2005 Ibrahim, a Sudanese entrepreneur who lives in London, sold his cellphone company for $3.4 billion and launched the Mo Ibrahim Foundation. It supports "good governance and great leadership, ranks Africa's governments by those standards, and awards a prize to former heads of state who achieved those values. The 2012 Index of African Governance reported positive steps in that direction. Meet Mo Ibrahim.

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