Racial Justice at Tides

Editor’s Note: This post comes from Maya Wiley, Chair of Tides Board of Directors, and john a. powell, member of Tides Board of Directors.

It’s an exciting time at Tides. Not only do we have a wonderful CEO in Melissa Bradley, who has just completed her first year of service with Tides, we have been building our capacity to build Black donor engagement and increase our support to Black communities. Tides has long been committed to racial justice. This is an important time for Tides to build its relationships with communities of color broadly.

Communities of color are fast becoming, collectively, a majority of the country. At Tides, we are working to support a more just and fair society for everyone. Communities of color merit our considered attention, and Tides is powering projects like Define American, Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity, and many others to support a better public discussion of immigration and citizenship.

And now, the 21st Century Foundation, to a forty-year old institution committed to philanthropy that impacts Black communities, will soon be powered by Tides. We are thrilled that Tides now has an exciting additional way to support transformation in Black communities, by supporting 21CF to build Black donor advised funds and support strategic giving to Black communities in the US and globally.

This is a wonderful opportunity that Tides will used to both deepen it’s focus on equity and Black communities as well as to deepen the discussion and engagement and understanding of the role in race in America.

With Melissa at the helm, a Black board chair and a history in recent years of Black board chairs, the Tides Network could be considered a Black-led, multi-racial social enterprise.  It’s exciting to think of Tides this way, because it signals the ability of this nation to recognize the leadership of people of color as we work to care for all Americans. It also brings to Tides the ability to address the particular arrangements that require attention in the Black community.

Consider this. The Black population is growing in the United States and in states like Mississippi, South Carolina, and other “Black” belt states, the Black population is over a third of the population. Black people are also still major segments of the population of our major metropolitan areas. But far too many are excluded from meaningful opportunities and figuring out solutions to the problems Black people face in America can help us solve some of our most daunting problems.

We are in an economic recession that has harmed the income, homeownership, and retirement of far too many Americans. And it has virtually wiped out the Black and Latino middle classes. With mortgage foreclosure rates 76% and 71% higher than experienced by white homeowners, Black people have wealth levels lower than they have been in twenty-five years.

One in 15 Black adults is incarcerated and one in nine Black men between the ages of 20 and 34 is behind bars. One in 100 Black women is incarcerated compared to one in 355 white women. Jobs in this country are segregated by race as six of the seven fastest growing occupations that pay above $50,000 per year are more white, and 3 of the 6 lowest paid fast growing occupations (home health aids, retail workers and child care providers) are disproportionately held by people (particularly women) of color. And “new majority” (aka “minorities”) receive only a percent and a half of all private equity dollars. At the same time, many studies find that foundation support to community of color led organizations has been steadily decreasing over the last decade.

Tides is proud to be part of a movement to ensure that America is fair, inclusive, and vibrant nation for all its members.

Maya Wiley is the founder and Director of the Center for Social Inclusion (CSI), an applied research and advocacy organization which supports community groups to dismantle structural racism. As a civil rights attorney and social justice advocate by trade, she has worked for the ACLU, the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. Maya also served as an advisor to the Open Society Institute and as a consultant to the Open Society Foundation. She has assisted several nonprofits on program and strategy development.

john a. powell, a nationally recognized authority on civil rights and civil liberties, is the Gregory H. Williams Chair in Civil Rights and Civil Liberties at Moritz College of Law, at Ohio State University, and is the Executive Director of the Kirwan Institute for Race and Ethnicity in the Americas. He has taught law at Columbia, Harvard, University of Miami, and University of San Francisco, and has served as National Legal Director of the ACLU. john also serves on the board of the Poverty & Race Research Action Council.