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, 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
Asian American Arts Alliance
Asian American Federation
Association of Nonprofit Specialists
Boys and Girls Club of Harlem
Bronx Council on the Arts
Brooklyn Community Foundation
Callen-Lorde Community Health Center
Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute
Center for Performance Research
Center for Racial Justice in Education
Children’s Aid
Chinese-American Planning Council
City Parks Foundation
Community Resource Exchange (CRE)
Contemporary Photography and Visual Arts Center
Correctional Association of New York
Dance Theatre of Harlem
Day One
Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts Project Space Program
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
India Home, Inc.
Isaacs Center
Japanese American Social Services, Inc. (JASSI)
JCC of Staten Island
jill sigman/thinkdance
Judson Memorial Church
Lenox Hill Neighborhood House
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender Community Center
New York Lawyers for the Public Interest
NIA Community Services Network
Nonprofit Finance Fund
Nonprofit New York
Nonprofit TALK
Partnership for After School Education (PASE)
Piatigorsky Foundation
Planned Parenthood of Greater New York
S.O.U.L Sisters Leadership Collective
Sabater Foundation
Sadie Nash Leadership Project
Sakhi for South Asian Women
South Asian Youth Action
Staten Island Not for Profit Association
Staten Island Women Who March
Stonewall Community Foundation
Supportive Housing Network
TakeRoot Justice
Teens for Food Justice
Turning Point for Women & Families
Violence Intervention Program
Waterfront Alliance
Women Creating Change


[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.