The Black Future Co-op Fund was conceptualized following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers, but its roots go much deeper than one more extrajudicial killing of a Black man, or than a pandemic that disproportionately affects people of color.
The Black Future Co-op Fund, which launched last week, is a response to systemic racism that is centuries old in this country. Launched with over $2.5 million in committed donations, including $100,000 from the Seattle Seahawks Charitable Foundation, as well as a $250,000 donation from the Paul G Allen Family Foundation, the Black Future Co-op Fund aims to respond to the disproportionate impact of COVID-19, strengthen black culture, increase resilience to economic and other shocks, and build generational wealth.
"The world has leveraged Black people for profit for centuries. This fund begins to turn that tide," Andrea Caupain, CEO of Bryd Barr Place, said in a press release announcing the fund's launch.
Caupain is one of four women responsible for the Black Future Co-op Fund's creation along with Angela Jones, CEO of Washington STEM; Michelle Merriweather, President and CEO of the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle; and T'wina Nobles, President and CEO of Tacoma Urban League.
"The Black communities across Washington state have long done the work to uplift our communities without appropriate funding and resources. The Black Future Co-op Fund will ensure that we have a strong infrastructure and network for sustainable progress," Jones said.
Donations to the Black Future Co-op Fund are eligible to be matched by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who is matching unique donations up to $1 million to All In WA causes, up to total of $25 million. The Black Future Co-op Fund will invest in areas such as health, housing, education, youth development, art and history, economic and land development, and advocacy and civic engagement to reverse the harm that systemic racism has done to the Black community in Washington state.
All In WA, a coordinated statewide relief effort that is supporting numerous community funds and cause funds, including the Black Future Co-op Fund, is hosting a Concert for COVID-19 relief on Wednesday, June 24 at 7 p.m. The concert, which will be broadcast live on KING 5, KONG, Twitch, KREM, KSKN and allinwa.org, is scheduled to include performances by Pearl Jam, Macklemore, Brandi Carlile, Ciara, Ben Gibbard, Dave Matthews, Sir Mix-A-Lot and more, as well as appearances by Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and quarterback Russell Wilson.
The Black Future Co-op Fund is housed at the Seattle Foundation, which also houses the Seahawks Players Equality & Justice For All Action Fund.