Supporting Black-Led Nonprofits for a More Equitable Future

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Black-led nonprofits here in Canada are often grassroots organizations advocating for racial and social justice that fuel meaningful change in Black communities, and this benefits society as a whole. CanadaHelps’ aims to amplify the voices of Black-led charities, connecting you with causes that align with your values.

In the landscape of Canadian philanthropy, however, a troubling imbalance has been made clear. Recent landmark studies show that Black-led and Black-focused nonprofits face significant underfunding compared to their white-led counterparts. This critical giving gap transcends financial disparities. It highlights systemic inequities right here in our country that need our collective attention and action.


In Canada, Black-led nonprofits are navigating a challenging terrain of financial limitations. In 2021, the groundbreaking ‘Unfunded Report‘ from the Network for the Advancement of Black Communities and Carleton University shone a revealing light on the systemic underfunding of Black-led and Black-serving charities by Canadian foundations, highlighting a profound gap in Canada’s philanthropic sector.

This dilemma is underscored by some stark statistics from the study, including the fact that less than 0.1% of all philanthropic funding in Canada is allocated to Black-led charitable organizations. 

For every $100 donated to Canadian charities, only about seven cents go to Black charities. Coupled with the fact that 63% of Black-led groups are at risk of depleting their funds within only six months, it’s easy to see how this critical underfunding poses a serious threat to the essential services and agencies that serve Black communities.

Black History Month - Canadian Black Pioneers
Image: Some intrepid pioneers who made Vancouver Island and Salt Spring Island their home beginning in 1858. Images courtesy of City of Victoria Archives, Royal BC Museum and Archives, and Salt Spring Island Archives.

Established in February 1994, the Black-led nonprofit BC Black History Awareness Society (BCBHAS) has a mission includes raising awareness about the history of Black people in B.C., fostering interest in the current-day contributions of citizens of African ancestry in Canada, and recognizing their achievements in the arts, education, government, sports, science, and more. 

We spoke with Paul Schachter, Treasurer of the BCBHAS, and he shared his thoughts on the significant funding gap for Black-led charities. “I can tell you that the biggest problem we have as a Black-led and Black-focused charity is the paucity of support for core funding,” he said. “Even the recently started funding programs provide insufficient dollars to allow organizations such as ours to build capacity and sustain the level of activities to overcome past inequities in funding and support.” 

“A few thousand dollars—even tens of thousands—does not enable us to retain staff or build infrastructure to continue needed anti-racism and education work,” Schachter explained. “This type of work isn’t well supported by private donations and needs consistent commitment by institutional and governmental funding.”

Schachter explained that while BCBHAS receives some government funding via program grants, those subsidies cover just a small percentage of what they need. “While we’re grateful for some of the programmatic funding that have been recently available, the grants are time and project-limited. They don’t address the need for long-term capacity improvements.”


Black-led, Black-serving, and Black-focused non-profit, charitable, and grassroots missions serve as lifelines for many Black Canadian individuals and communities. These hard-working nonprofits play a central role in everything from education and mental health to housing and the preservation of Black history and culture. Yet they face barriers, including increased scrutiny, limited research, and restricted access to essential resources necessary for them to thrive.

Black nonprofit organizations are vital to their communities and Canada

Located on 315 acres within the African Nova Scotian community in and around Dartmouth, Akoma, is a nonprofit with a mission to create economic and social opportunities for the community. Akoma provides affordable housing and economic prospects for this vulnerable and underserved community. 

Their current plans and offerings include mixed-income homes, affordable units, commercial spaces, a seniors’ complex, a children’s care facility, a long-term seniors care facility, and even their own cemetery and funeral home. Akoma’s Executive Director, Joanna Pugh, shared some of the challenges her program faces with funding. 

“The financial landscape is hard to navigate if you’re new to the organization and don’t know possible funding sources,” Pugh explained. “The capacity of Black nonprofits in Canada to apply for funding is often a challenge, as we’re often small organizations with limited staff. It takes a considerable amount of time to apply for grants. Some of the applications are extremely detailed.”

Individuals and companies should increase their support of Black-led nonprofits, not just during Black History Month but throughout the year. “This population has been underserved and disadvantaged for over 400 years. We need more exposure,” said Pugh.

Whether through learning, donating, or sharing important causes on social media, your involvement has the power to help. Any action, no matter how small, will make a difference.

Take a tour of the Akoma property and learn more about the history of the lands. Get inspired by their plans to revitalize the community. 

“Despite facing greater barriers and funder expectations, Black, Indigenous, and racialized-led organizations are leading the advancement of equity, diversity and inclusion in the nonprofit sector” Imagine Canada



One integral way to support Black-led and Black-serving nonprofits is by taking time to learn more about the Black experience in Canada, Black History Month, and Black-led charities. Educate yourself on the central issues, vulnerable communities, and generous groups that urgently need our funding and attention. 

Part of our mission at CanadaHelps is to shine a light on Black-led charities and their stories. From groups that foster artistic expression to those that spotlight knowledge of the history, culture, traditions and achievements of Canadians of African descent, we host a diverse array of Black-focused charities that give rise to positive change. 

Support nonprofit organizations support Black communities

To learn more, explore some of our articles that dive into some of the Black-focused philanthropic groups doing amazing work: Carving Out Space for Black Artists To Incubate And Experiment, British Columbia’s Black Pioneers, and Immigration Awareness.

“Inadequate data, a lack of representation of Black communities in philanthropy, and systemic barriers, including anti-Black racism, have led to a severe underfunding of Black communities in Canada.” – Unfunded: Black Communities Overlooked by Canadian Philanthropy


Black-led nonprofit organizations are at the forefront of change by highlighting racial injustice, improving education, creating job opportunities, and fostering connected communities. One of the most impactful ways you can help is by donating to Black-founded nonprofits to help narrow the funding gap. Giving even small amounts to a few Black-led charities can help empower them to continue their necessary work and directly champion causes ranging from social justice to community development. 

Support Black Led Charities - Black History Month

Including nonprofits founded and run by Black people in your philanthropic giving is a meaningful way to advance racial equity. As donors, we have the chance to build relationships with long-underfunded charities and inspire true partnerships that have a real impact in the areas we care most about.

You can also help amplify Black voices and charities by spreading the word, not just during Black History Month but throughout the year. Start sharing links to helpful articles and charities and telling friends and family about how you’re giving to Black-led nonprofits. 

Take Action!

Start by exploring our list of Black-led nonprofits categorized by causes, communities, and specialties. Whether your interest lies in education, healthcare, or cultural programs, there’s a charity there that aligns with your passions and interests. These groups are providing Black Canadians with mental health support, professional training, barrier-free healthcare access, spaces for artistic development, and more.

Learn more about the important work of Akoma and the BC Black History Awareness Society.


Unfunded: Black Communities Overlooked by Canadian Philanthropy 

Black organizations receive as little as 7 cents for every $100 donated to Canada’s big charities, study finds

Benchmarking equity, diversity and inclusion

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