Black Charity Finder FAQs
Q: What is The Black Charity Finder?
A: The black charity finder is a not-for-profit effort intended to serve as a public resource to encourage and facilitate black philanthropy. It allows individuals and institutions wishing to identify charities and organized giving entities focused on black communities to engage through contributing time, talent and treasure. It also allows those seeking services to find and seek help from mission-aligned organizations.
Q: What kinds of organizations are listed within The Black Charity Finder
A: Since our broader goals relate to representing the entire black giving ecosystem in America, our Black Charity Finder includes organizations with a “direct giving” focus (i.e., mission-focused organizations with direct beneficiaries) as well as an “organized giving” focus (i.e., giving circles, family trusts, foundations, sororities/fraternities/social clubs with a service focus). Users can decide whether they would like to learn about individual organizations vs. organized efforts that support multiple projects and/or beneficiaries.
Q: Do you score, rate or rank organizations in any way?
A: No. Results are shown based on search relevance only. Users can select as many basic or narrowing criteria as they would like, and once they reach a charity profile page, they may choose whether to navigate to the charity’s web site based on the information they are given and their individual preferences.
Q: Do all of the organizations in The Black Charity Finder have 501(c) tax exempt status?
A: Currently, yes, though 501(c)(3) is not the only tax exempt designation recognized by the IRS. Most of the organizations in our database with 501(c) tax exempt status are 501(c)(3) exempt, though 501(c)(4), 501(c)(7) and other 501(c) sub-designations may also be eligible. Also, some organizations in our have a formal fiscal sponsorship relationship with a charity that has legally transferred 501(c) status to the listed organization. The specific tax exempt designation of the organization in question will always be indicated on each charity profile page. In a limited number of cases, we may approve an organization that does not have tax exempt status (e.g., The San Francisco Black Film Festival is not a tax exempt organization, but we believe that users of our charity finder who are interested in supporting the arts may want to know about it). In cases such as these, it will be made especially prominent and transparent on the charity profile page that the organization in question does not have tax exempt status. We will also not allow organizations without tax exempt status to indicate that they are looking for donations via their profile page, though we will allow them to indicate a desire to seek Board members and volunteers.
Q: Do you accept money on behalf of charities?
A: No. We never accept money on behalf of charities listed in our database. Our Black Charity Finder is intended to allow users learn about charities and to navigate to individual charity web sites if they would like to make donations, volunteer, learn more about events, etc. The Give Black Foundation collects donations on its own behalf (i.e., to support its own mission) and has a policy of re-granting funds equitably to all organizations in its database during years in which it holds excess funds beyond its operating reserve. We make it transparent on our “Donate” page that contributions are going to The Give Black Foundation and not to charities listed within our database.
Q: How is The Black Charity Finder different from other charity finders?
A: Unlike mainstream charity finders such as Charity Navigator and Charity Watch, which focus on charity name searches and governance record, The Black Charity finder is a user-friendly alternative that allows users to focus on mission and engagement. Our search tool allows users to find charities based primarily on service offering, and features narrowing tools that allow searchers to specify other focus preferences such as location, demographics, and emphasis on black communities. Though our powerful search model could be adopted to fit any group of charities, all organizations within our database have been pre-selected for focus on black communities.
Q: What is your methodology for selecting organizations listed in The Black Charity Finder?
A: We conduct ongoing, exhaustive research to identify the thousands of charities focused on black communities, and follow up with outreach asking organizations that have passed our initial screening to apply for listing. The purpose of our formal application process is to ask these organizations to tell us more specifically about their focus on black communities, and to have us vet them. We verify 501(c)(3) status, look for evidence that the focus on black communities presented in each application is consistent with the visible work of the organization, and look to three key application questions—% of beneficiary focus on black communities, % of blacks in key leadership roles, and % of blacks on the Board of Directors—to make a final determination.
Q: Is there a specific threshold of focus on black communities that organizations must meet?
A: We are looking for organizations that can demonstrate that their primary beneficiary group is African-American. We gladly accept applications from organizations that serve a diverse community, but we want to see that black communities are heavily represented. If we see organizations with less than a 50% focus on black communities, we will only approve the organization if we view its impact story around black communities to be compelling, or if there are transparent opportunities to engage in restricted giving to specific programs with black beneficiaries.
Above all, our charity profile pages feature answers to our three key community focus questions: % of beneficiary focus on black communities, % of blacks in key leadership roles, and % of blacks on the Board of Directors. This feature is designed to allow individual users to decide what organizations to pursue based on their own personal threshold preferences for black community focus. Or, for organizations without direct beneficiaries, such as museums, performing arts groups, etc. we are looking for evidence that the primary historical or cultural relevance relates to the African-American community.
Q: Do you accept applications from individual chapters of larger organizations that may not be focused on black communities?
A: Yes. For example, if Charity X is a national organization with 20 chapters, and 3 of those chapters have a majority focus on black communities, those 3 would be eligible to apply. However, under this structure, each chapter would have to demonstrate a funding structure under which donations would be allocated to the indicated chapter.
Q: Do you accept applications from organizations without a mission focus on black communities?
A: Yes. If the majority of your organization’s beneficiaries are black, that is our major consideration. This is in alignment with our goal of conscious giving—we want to create opportunities for philanthropists to narrow their giving habits to organizations that are actively benefiting black communities. Users looking for a mission focus on black communities will be able to narrow to those organizations based on their individual preferences.
Q: Why do you charge an application fee?
A: Though we hope to eventually eliminate application fees and cover administrative costs related to The Black Charity Finder within our operating budget, at this point, we are asking organizations who apply for listing to share in the initial administrative fee. The charity finder tool itself cost upward of $50,000 to research and build, and the cost of evaluating an individual, single-chapter charity and providing assistance around helping each organization launch its own profile page is currently upwards of $100. The $30 fee we charge for single-chapter charities, and $75-$150 fee we charge for multi-chapter charities is a fee that subsidizes, but does not cover, our own costs. We also spend budget to market the tool and use our editorial resources to promote the charities in our database via our social media assets. We do not profit in any way from the application fee.