Liberals pledge $300 million to support Black-led community organizations in 2021 federal budget

·2 min read

The federal government plans to put $300 million forward to support Black-led charitable organizations in 2021-22.

“We know the pandemic has exacerbated systemic barriers faced by racialized Canadians,” finance minister Chrystia Freeland said in her budget announcement Monday.

The budget proposes $200 million to endow a philanthropic fund dedicated to supporting Black-led charities and organizations serving youth and social initiatives.

As well as $100 million for the “Supporting Black Canadian Communities Initiative.”

Both of which will be administered through Employment and Social Development Canada for the 2021-22 year.

Freeland also announced additional funding for the existing Black entrepreneurship fund.

The Foundation for Black Communities put the proposal forward for an endowment to be written into the 2021 budget.

“This investment will allow for the financial infrastructure to ensure Black communities have long-term, self-directed and self-sustaining resources,” said Rebecca Darwent, a co-steering member of the Foundation for Black Communities. Darwent added that endowing the organization would ensure funding is sustained regardless of changing priorities of future governments.

For next steps, Darwent said there is a sense of “urgency on the ground” and would like to see action soon.

“We need to see this investment mobilized quickly and timelines for funding disbursement to ensure that Black communities are not left further behind,” she said.

In a report released at the end of last year, it found that for every $100 of grant funding dispensed by Canada’s leading philanthropic foundations, only 30 cents go to Black community organizations.

The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted Black Canadians, and the Foundation for Black Communities has said that Black-led community organizations will be crucial to the response.

“The aftershocks of COVID over the next five to 10 years are what we as a community have to prepare ourselves for,” co-founder Liban Abokor previously told the Star.

Angelyn Francis is a Toronto-based reporter for the Star covering equity and inequality. Her reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach her via email: afrancis@thestar.ca

Angelyn Francis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Toronto Star