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Why it's Critical to Support B3's Beyond February

A "B3" organization is a Black-led, Black-serving and Black-focused non-profit, charitable, or grassroots organization. B3s provide space for Black communities to shape their own solution making and self-determination, and are crucial to challenging anti-Black racism and inequities across the country.

Yet a Foundation for Black Communities study found that B3's are systemically underfunded in Canada’s philanthropic sector. Of the 40 public and private foundations reviewed in 2017 and 2018, only six had funded Black-serving organizations, and their support represented a meagre 0.7% of total grants.

As a values-driven consultancy, Evenings & Weekends is committed to collaborating with groups working to advance equity and justice. As part of this commitment, we designate 5% of our time spent on projects to provide pro bono project support and coaching to emerging leaders and under-resourced groups. Through this initiative, we've been able to collaborate with three B3 organizations, Ubuntu Collective, Black Healing Centre, and Black Men's Therapy Fund, to support their work in the years ahead.

As Black History Month came to a close, we asked them about their work and missions, and why it's critical to pay attention to B3's year-round—not just in February.

Ubuntu Collective

The Ubuntu Collective supports the mental health and wellness of Black Solo Mothers and their children in Toronto. They build supportive communities, host creative and healing workshops, and share tools and resources to help mothers thrive: mind, body and soul.

"We're on a mission to build stronger communities and a better food system," explains director Judith "Zhiizhii" Prince." Since we're most active on our community farm in the summer, at the moment financial, mentorship/coaching, and volunteer support are most helpful for our organization."

February serves as a time for reflection, but to be recognized all year creates a shift in discourse for all we are becoming. Thinking beyond a designated month allows for continuous support and a dedicated commitment to topics that are relatable to us and relevant to others. Prioritizing Black-focused, Black-led, and Black-serving organizations year-round amplifies and empowers our voices, stories, and experiences. —Judith "Zhiizhii" Prince

Black Healing Centre

The Black Healing Centre (BHC) aims to design intergenerational programming that reimagines healing from a community-centered, artistic lens. By providing access to free and subsidized therapy to members of the community, we seek to counteract the shared trauma that often comes with the Black experience, and empower people of African and Caribbean descent in Tio'tia"ke (Montreal) to reclaim their mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual wellness.

"Core sustainable funding is most helpful for our organization as it allows us to compensate our staff adequately and run our programs effectively," says founder and director Samanta Nyinawumuntu. "Donations and volunteer time are invaluable in supporting our mission, but sustainable funding ensures long-term stability and impact."

It's crucial to prioritize supporting Black-focused, Black-led, and Black-serving organizations year-round to address systemic disparities in healthcare and wellness. By consistently investing in these initiatives, we can create lasting change in Black communities, promoting holistic well-being beyond tokenized gestures or limited timeframes like February. —Samanta Nyinawumuntu

Black Men's Therapy Fund

The Black Men's Therapy Fund (BMTF) provides culturally-responsive services, programs, and support to promote Black mental wellness and address the unique mental health needs of Black men across identities and intersections. 

"Many Black men grow up conditioned to believe that their internal emotional self doesn't have inherent and productive value and they struggle to express, understand, or even acknowledge their own emotional experiences," says founder Jah Grey. "For years, Black men have disproportionately faced challenges to receiving the mental health support they need due to cultural barriers, traditional conceptions of masculinity, damaging racial stereotypes, stigma, economic status, and lack of affordable and/or adequate resources.

This reality is only further compounded when Black men in Canada, especially Black trans, gay, and differently-abled men, are highly vulnerable to factors that are linked to poorer mental health outcomes such as; unemployment, housing insecurity, poverty, police brutality, criminalization, and discrimination. According to the Toronto Star, racism increases the rate of psychosis and depression by 200-300%.

While some no or low-cost mental health support is available in several provinces, these options rarely cover psychology, psychotherapy and counselling, and are often not appropriate for the mental health needs of vulnerable communities. The intersection of identity makes Black men and masculine-identified folks far less likely to have access to safe, adequate and culturally competent care."

"When Black men are equipped with the right tools, resources, and support needed to care for their mental well-being, they can heal from past traumas, cultivate joy for themselves and their communities, and achieve their full potential. By prioritizing year-round support, we can work towards dismantling barriers, combating stigma, and creating sustainable change."—Jah Grey

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