YBCA Announces a $250k Investment in an Artist-Led Giving Circle

For many years, YBCA has been forging radical partnerships and reimagining structures to center artists as essential drivers of health and wellbeing in their communities. As part of this, we have worked diligently to incorporate artists into global conversations about social impact and equitable community investment. We have tirelessly asserted that we can’t imagine, and therefore create, the kind of progressive change we want to see in the world if we don’t start with artists who understand that communities are the best designers and leaders of their own futures.

This year, YBCA is doubling down on our commitment to integrating artists into community investment strategies by bringing a BIPOC-led artist cohort from around the country to the virtual stage at SOCAP—the largest convening of social investors in the world. While this builds on years of collaboration with SOCAP to affirm that artists are critical agents of social change, the presence of YBCA’s inaugural SOCAP Artist Cohort is a breakthrough moment that culminates this week at the SOCAP 2020 Convening.

Why? Because we can’t shift markets, enlighten investors, and drive authentic investment with positive impact if we don’t start by investing in the artists and culture bearers who have been long working in and with their communities to combat racial and economic injustice and advance health and wellbeing despite the rigged odds.

But, this is not enough. We are pushing further by unveiling our own $250,000 investment in a powerful group of Black and Indigenous artists from Alaska, Philadelphia, the South, and the Bay Area. This collective of social change artists will design and lead a Giving Circle, an artist-driven investment strategy that fuels community wealth. Our action means that the money and the decisions are theirs, and our role is to responsively support their work. It is a model built on trust, accountability, reciprocity, and relationships.

“We are looking to our native and indigenous roots to reframe capitalism and refocus our commitment from a competition model to a unified collective strategy that furthers all of our projects. Our network is our net-worth.”

-Erin Washington

We also announced last week three investments, totaling $30,000, in West Oakland artists. These initiatives are focused on the true narrative, sense of belonging, and health and wellbeing of longtime residents of this community.  The artists are Zakiya Harris working with Anna Schneidermann Oakland Black Cultural Cooperative, Hasain Rasheed People Places and Faces, and Viviana Rodriguez Outdoor Gallery on Mandela Parkway.

We can’t steward a healthy future if we don’t start with culture—with its unique ability to shift hearts, minds, and policy. We can’t make real change unless we urgently work to shift power, now.

“We came as dancers, dreamers, theater folk, organizers, founders, poets, do-oers of all types. Wanting for one another what we wanted for ourselves, we became community. As a community with common values we understood our power. The power in the story we are writing.”

-Ayodele Nzinga

We believe others will be inspired to follow a growing movement to put BIPOC artists and communities in the lead, and magnify the Giving Circle with money and other resources. You are essential to building our momentum. Please join the urgent call to reimagine an equitable future for all by sharing this news with your networks and your community.

YBCA is proud to be championing artists working in service of their communities’ health and well-being as an advocate, convener, cultural producer, and investor. We look forward to inviting you to learn more about their work together and stand with them as they forge new pathways for community investment and resilience. Please welcome the inaugural members of the Giving Circle:

Binta Ayofemi – visual artist

Fay Darmawi – SF Urban Film Fest 

Vashti DuBois – The Colored Girls Museum

Christy Namee Ericksen – Tsunamee

Yngvil Vatn Guttu – musician

Vincent Medina and Louis Trevino – Mak-‘amham Contemporary Ohlone Cuisine

Victoria Moore – Tiny is POWERFUL

Ayodele Nzinga – transformative artist educator

Maria Cherry Rangel – Foundation for Louisiana

Darryl Ratcliff – Gossypion Investments

Erin Washington – Soul Center

YBCA would like to thank the Rasmuson Foundation, William Penn Foundation, Ignite/Arts @ Southern Methodist University and Alternate Roots for making this cohort’s participation at SOCAP possible. 

Special thanks to the Kenneth Rainin Foundation for supporting our work to transform investment in artists.
Special thanks to  #startsmall for catalyzing the power of BIPOC artists and their enterprises as essential for our communities’ long-term health and wellbeing.