Foundation research

Collective Foundation research reveals resilience and innovation among fundraisers of color in Christian communities

Report highlights findings from qualitative research with 50 fundraisers of color

A new report reveals resilience and innovation among fundraisers of color in Christian communities. In a comprehensive effort to fill gaps in qualitative and quantitative research data to support faith-based community development, a grassroots initiative has been created to examine more diverse fundraising trends and experiences.

The solution started with an email. Connecting two fundraising professionals who seemed to operate in the same sphere but discovered that they lived in two very different worlds. The question in the email was about financial donations in communities of color, particularly around justice issues. The quest for data would require more than four years of hands-on research in the communities in question, alongside a seed grant from a Duke University leadership program.

When Aimée Laramore and Erin Weber-Johnson, the two women who were connected by that crucial email, began exploring meaningful research to answer their questions about fundraising by and for fundraisers and communities of color, they quickly discovered that there was none. find. None of the regular statistical information, donor profiles, or financial data existed in a way that could be distilled to specifically serve these communities.

In response, a new non-profit organization, The Collective Foundation, was formed by Larissa Kwong Abazia, Aimée Laramore, Derrick McQueen, Mieke Vandersall and Erin Weber-Johnson. With a methodology that included planning for five gatherings across the country, faith-based facilitation, community building initiatives, transcription, research and writing services, a $200,000 initiative was launched.

Volunteers, strategic partners, fundraisers of color and more than 20 institutions of all faiths, including the Presbyterian Foundation, Thrivent Financial and the Episcopal Diocese of Texas (full list of supporters available at Collective Foundation website) sponsored a multi-year research project with the goal of understanding the unique practices, cultures of giving, and challenges that define how communities of color engage in financial matters and fundraising.

The result of this massive effort is an in-depth and elucidating study, filled with stories of creativity, innovation, deep faith and sparks of genius among fundraisers in communities of color despite unseen obstacles within the process, such as the lack of data on their donor. basics – which divert attention from their work and accelerate the ascent to financial health. The candor and depth of 50 fundraisers resulted in qualitative insights and insights that made the entire initiative possible. The research revealed the difficulties in finding a common language around money, stewardship and giving, in addition to the reality that shared faith structures, religious principles and belief structures do not necessarily translate into constant access to denominational or ecumenical resources.

The study shares insights in the words of fundraisers who break through the barriers and invisible barriers established by traditional fundraising practices. It goes on to extract actionable insights that have been codified to support white communities who wish to co-conspire to dismantle inequalities in existing fundraising structures and build equitable systems in their place. It also provides pragmatic guidance for fundraisers in communities of color to support them in the here and now as equity work is undertaken.

The report is available at The Collective Foundation recognizes that implementing the recommendations of this report will require considerable contextual analysis and support. In keeping with the values ​​of the Foundation, the group will invest the profits from the monetary investment in reporting, coaching and training with the communities and fundraisers of color who have made this work possible.


Reverend Larissa Kwong Abazia
Collective foundation
(773) 633-5152
[email protected]

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