To recognize Black Philanthropy Month, the Seahawks welcomed to practice this week groups from the Black Future Co-op Fund and the Black Philanthropy advisory team. After practice, running back DeeJay Dallas and Seahawk vice president of diversity, equity & inclusion Karen Wilkins-Mickey presented a $5,000 donation from the team to the Co-op Fund.
And yes, monetary donations are a fantastic way to recognize Black Philanthropy Month—the Black Future Co-op Fund will happily put your donation to good use—but what T'wina Nobles, CEO of the Black Future Co-op Fund and a state senator from Washington's 28th legislative district really wants people to take away from this month is that philanthropy can take different forms that don't necessarily involve money.
"We definitely want to thank the Seahawks for being a partner of ours, for helping us plan Washington State's Black Philanthropy Month activities, but we also want to let folks know that, in general, philanthropy is very basic," Nobles said during Tuesday's practice. "The message we want to get across is that philanthropy is not about money, it's about wanting to do good and wanting to create change in your community. That is the exchange—we want to put out into our community more goodness and more kindness, and make sure that we're making it a better place, and we have amazing partners like the Seahawks who help us do that every day."
Black Philanthropy Month, which was started in 2011 by Dr. Jackie Bouvier Copeland and the Pan-African Women's Philanthropy Network, is a month-long celebrating that aims to illuminate the ingenuity and transformative impact of Black generosity, and locally, the Black Future Co-op Fund is a pioneer in that field.
"The Black Future Co-op Fund is Washington State's first and only by and for Black philanthropic organization," Nobles said. "It was an organization started by four Black women that serves the Black community. We raise money and reinvest it in the Black community. To date, we have invested over $2 million in 60 Black-led organizations, which means we get to help fund Black-led solutions. This is everything from maternal health to housing to education. No one else has done that in the way that we're doing in it in our state's history, so we feel very honored to be able to lead this work."
The Seahawks and the Black Future Co-op fund are just two of many local organizations that are Black Philanthropy Month organizers along with Cardea, Community Foundation of Snohomish County, Inclusive Data, Pivotal Ventures, Seattle Foundation and Threshold Philanthropy.
With Black Philanthropy Month striving to be an inclusive opportunity to celebrate the legacy of Black giving and inspire increased investment in Black communities, Black philanthropic leaders will hold virtual panel discussions throughout the month with the theme of "The Fierce Urgency of Now! From Dream to Action" to elevate the significance of Black leadership in philanthropy and encourage action that moves our state toward Black prosperity and well-being over generations. All Washingtonians are invited to a series of virtual events on the legacy of Black generosity and explore how we collectively invest in a liberated future by, for, and with Black Washingtonians.
The month is also a call for strengthening investment in Black communities and to acknowledge that anti-Black racism has purposely ignored Black communities' contributions to philanthropy, and anti-Black racism has persistently undermined opportunities for Black people to build generational wealth. Moving toward Black abundance requires intentional, significant increased investment in Black communities to repair centuries of harm.
For the Black Future Co-op Fund, which is also the jersey sponsor for OL Reign, partnering with sports franchises helps accomplish some of the goals of Black Philanthropy Month, because those partnerships raise awareness that otherwise might not exist—let's face it, plenty of people reading this article probably wouldn't have heard about the Black Future Co-op fund if not for an article or picture on Seahawks.com, or if not for watching an OL Reign game.
"We're grateful for our sports partnerships," Nobles said. "As somebody who self-identifies as an athlete, I really admire sports and the way that it builds team. What the Seahawks do, they introduce us to their teams, to their fans, to all the folks who wouldn't necessarily find us if they didn't love the Seahawks first. So when we partner with high-profile organizations like the Seahawks, it allows more people to learn our work and trust us because they trust them."