June 1, 2020

The events of the past several days make clear that America can no longer turn a blind eye to the effects of hundreds of years of racism on its people.

This is a crisis that needs immediate, ongoing attention including, as a starting point, a recognition on behalf of white leaders and people in this country that racism is real, deep, and structural. It's more than a handful of biased  cops. Anti-black racism is deeply rooted in our systems, our laws and our very attitudes and beliefs. Pleas for calm in this crisis sound empty when unaccompanied by action that matches the reality of our history and the despair evident in the current moment. This country must change. We must expel the stain of slavery that continues to haunt us to this day.

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May 7, 2020
Kingmakers of Oakland
By Gisele C. Shorter
Program Officer, Education

For Teacher Appreciation Week, I interviewed Chris Chatmon, Executive Director of Kingmakers of Oakland. I wanted him to share what makes his program, his Kings and, especially, Black educators special.

Kingmakers’ innovative strategies are improving academic outcomes for Black boys and helping them build a sense of belonging in school and community, and an essential part of what makes Kingmakers work is its unwavering commitment to recruit, train and retain a new generation of Black male teachers.

My interview, lightly edited, is below.


Gisele C. Shorter: Tell me about the origins of the African American Male Achievement Initiative. How did that work eventually evolve into Kingmakers of Oakland?

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Tags Education
April 8, 2020


Building Changes and Raikes Foundation call on donors and philanthropies to support vulnerable communities impacted by pandemic 

Today, Building Changes and the Raikes Foundation launched the Washington State Student and Youth Homelessness COVID-19 Response Fund. With schools now closed through the end of the year, the Fund aims to ensure that communities impacted by COVID-19 are able to respond rapidly to the urgent and growing needs of homeless students and youth across Washington state.

​As many as 50,000 students and unaccompanied youth experience homelessness each year in Washington, and 62 percent of students who experience homelessness are people of color. As COVID-19 threatens to push even more young people into unsafe living situations while potentially causing long-term disruptions to their education, the pandemic is exacerbating an already precarious situation.

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March 26, 2020


To our grantee partners,

Over the past few months, as we’ve watched COVID-19 balloon from a few hundred cases around the world to a full-blown pandemic, we’ve all been struggling to adjust to this new reality. Our team has appreciated being in touch with you, and we’re doing our best to be good partners during this challenging time. Based on the feedback we have received from a number of our grantees, we wanted to provide more clarity and certainty about our ongoing commitment to you.

We have signed the Council on Foundations’ COVID-19 Response Pledge, marking our commitment to be as flexible and responsive as possible with existing and new funding. We know many of our grantee partners are working hard to adapt in this moment, and we want to be as supportive as we can to allow grantees to do what they need to take care of their staff and the communities they serve.

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