Open Letter to the City: Center Black and People of Color Led Organizations in Reallocating Policing Funds

Open Letter to the City: Center Black and People of Color Led Organizations in Reallocating Policing Funds

Below is an open letter to New York City government leaders on behalf on New York's nonprofits. Sign on to call on the City to center Black and people of color led organizations in reallocating policing funds.


Open Letter to the City: Center Black and People of Color Led Organizations in Reallocating Policing Funds

June 12, 2020
Contact: Chai Jindasurat, Policy Director ([email protected])

New York City Government Leaders,

As nonprofits, we denounce anti-Black racism in all its forms. As the City quickly plans its final FY21 budget and reallocates funds from policing to community investments, we call on our City leaders to center Black and people of color-led community based organizations. The nonprofit sector has a racial equity problem. People of color are less likely to be in senior leadership positions [1], the revenues of Black-led organizations are 24% smaller than revenues of white-led counterparts, and unrestricted net assets of Black-led organizations are 76% smaller than white-led organizations [2]. In this moment where deadly structural racism is reflected in the disproportionate deaths of Black and Brown communities from COVID-19 and discriminatory policing, we call on our leaders and our sector to be accountable to communities of color not just in statements but also through resources.

We call on the City to:

  • Create space for and listen to Black-led organizations, like TakeRoot Justice, Girls for Gender Equity, the Anti-Violence Project, Girl Vow, Mindbuilders Creative Arts Center, National Black Theatre, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Elmor Youth and Adult Activities, and Urban League, and people of color nonprofits like Hispanic Federation, Ballet Hispanico, Asian American Federation, and Coalition for Asian American Children and Families about how funding should be reallocated
  • Commit to City Council discretionary funding at FY20 levels in the FY21 budget, which is often one of the only ways small grassroots organizations led-by and serving people of color access government funding
  • Increase funding for the Communities of Color Nonprofit Stabilization Fund to $5M in FY 2021 and restructure the initiative for FY 2022 based on recommendations by Black and people of color led community based organizations
  • Increase flexibility in spending requirements for City Council member items and initiatives to allow people of color led organizations to meet immediate needs of the community
  • Ensure FY20 Council member items and capital commitments be honored and expedited.

We know the City is in a challenging financial position. However any cuts to City Council discretionary funding, which only accounts for 0.42% of the City budget, are an equity issue and will have a damaging impact on smaller organizations serving communities of color. Grassroots organizations led by and serving communities of color often do not have the organizational capacity to engage in the onerous City agency RFP process. Discretionary funding is how small organizations closest to New Yorkers and organizations led by people of color get access to public funding.

These actions the City can take will support community based organizations led by and serving those most impacted by COVID-19 and racially discriminatory policing.


SIGNATORIES (as of 6/12/2020):

Alice Austen House
America on Tech
American Documentary, Inc.
American Indian Artists Inc. (AMERINDA)
Asian American Arts Alliance
Asian American Federation
Association of Fundraising Professionals, New York City Chapter
Association of Nonprofit Specialists
Bait-ul Jamaat - House of Community
Berit Ahlgren Creates
Boys and Girls Club of Harlem
Brighton Ballet Theater
Bronx Council on the Arts
Brooklyn Community Foundation
Callen-Lorde Community Health Center
Calpulli Mexican Dance Company
Caps Lock Theatre
Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute
Cause Effective
Center for Performance Research
Center for Racial Justice in Education
Chess in the Schools
Children’s Aid
Chinese-American Planning Council
Cicatelli Associates Inc
City Parks Foundation
Community Food Advocates
Community Resource Exchange (CRE)
Contemporary Photography and Visual Arts Center
Correctional Association of New York
COOP Careers
Court Appointed Special Advocates of NYC
Dance Theatre of Harlem
Dancers Responding to AIDS
Day One
Divine Rhythm Productions
The Drug Policy Alliance
East Harlem Block Nursery, Inc.
El Museo del Barrio
Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts Project Space Program
Elmcor Youth & Adult Activities
(Historically Black Led Organization for 55 years)
Engineering Conferences International
Equity Advocates
Eryc Taylor Dance, Inc.
Exodus Transitional Community
Fifth Avenue Committee & Neighbors Helping Neighbors
The Fortune Society
Friends of Judson
Generation Citizen
Getting Out and Staying Out
Girl Vow
Girls for Gender Equity
Good Shepherd Services
Goodwill Industries of Greater NY and Northern NJ, Inc.
The GRACE Foundation
Grand Street Settlement
Greater Bethel Community Development Corporation
Green Worker Cooperatives
Hester Street
HEWMAN, Welcome to Campfire
Hunts Point Alliance for Children
India Home, Inc.
Isaacs Center
Japanese American Social Services, Inc. (JASSI)
JCC of Staten Island
JGM Consulting
jill sigman/thinkdance
Joffrey Ballet School
Judson Memorial Church
Justice for Families
Kinding Sindaw Heritage Foundation, Inc.
Kyle Marshall Choreography
Lenox Hill Neighborhood House
LES Ready!
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender Community Center
Madison Square Boys & Girls Club
Mark Morris Dance Group
Matthew Westerby Dance Company, Inc.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Michele Brangwen Dance Ensemble
MindOpen Learning Strategies
Mixteca Organization, Inc.
MODArts Dance Collective (MADC)
Movement Research
Muslims Giving Back
My Money Workshop
Nail it with love
National Dance Institute
National Lighthouse Museum
New York Cares
New York City AIDS Memorial
New York Council Navy League of the United States
New York Lawyers for the Public Interest
New York Society of Association Executives (NYSAE)
New York Urban League
New Yorkers for Culture & Arts
NIA Community Services Network
Nonprofit Finance Fund
Nonprofit New York
Nonprofit TALK
NYS Harm Reduction Association
Opportunity Network
The Osborne Association
Partnership for After School Education (PASE)
Per Scholas
Phoenix Houses of NY|LI
Piatigorsky Foundation
Planned Parenthood of Greater New York
Project Sunshine
Rebuilding Together NYC
Renegade Performance Group
S.O.U.L Sisters Leadership Collective
Sabater Foundation
Sadie Nash Leadership Project
Sakhi for South Asian Women
South Asian Fund For Education, Scholarship and Training (SAFEST)
South Asian Youth Action
Staten Island Inter-Religious Leadership
Staten Island Not for Profit Association
Staten Island Partnership for Community Wellness
Staten Island Urban Center
Staten Island Women Who March
Stonewall Community Foundation
Supportive Housing Network
TakeRoot Justice
Teens for Food Justice
Turning Point for Women & Families
United Neighborhood Houses
United Way of New York City
Violence Intervention Program
Waterfront Alliance
Wingo NYC
Women Creating Change
World Day of Prayer International Committee
Your Time For Creative Empowerment, Inc.
Youth Represent


[1] Thomas-Breitfeld, S., and Kunreuther, F. (2017). Building Movement Project. Race to Lead: Confronting the Nonprofit Racial Leadership Gap.

[2] Dorsey, C., Bradach, J., and Kim, P. (May 2020). The Bridgespan Group and Echoing Green. Racial Equity and Philanthropy: Disparities in Funding for Leaders of Color Leave Impact on the Table.