For many decades, Black-led organizations across the region have been leading innovative work related to food and agriculture, environmental justice, economic development, placemaking, policy advocacy, and more. This work has been and continues to be critical to building community power; promoting economic, environmental and social justice; and advancing equitable systems change throughout our region.
The last several months have shined a spotlight on the ways in which racialized systems continue to disproportionately impact and cause harm to Black people. Nevertheless and in spite of decades of racial exclusion, physical displacement, and economic divestment, Black-led efforts across the region continue to serve as beacons of transformation. Black organizers, farmers, educators, community health workers, caregivers, artists, and advocates are continuously reimagining what is possible and using collective power, resilience, and radical imagination to bring justice into the world. Black-led work across the region is helping to build liberated and regenerative economies, grow healthier people and environments, and create safe and vibrant communities. This work is significant not just for the ways in which it builds power in Black communities, but also for the ways in which it pushes us all beyond palatable solutions towards bold, visionary ideas that hold the potential to accelerate our progress on the path to creating a more just society for all.
Now, more than ever, it is critical to amplify the work that Black folks across the region are leading and demonstrate solidarity by investing in it. Use the list below, which is not exhaustive, to learn more about ways you can support these powerful efforts.
Systemic change requires prolonged effort, but we can also make an immediate difference for frontline communities. Cameron Whitten and Salome Chimuku launched the Black Resilience Fund as an opportunity for non-Black allies to support the resilience of Black people in Portland. Funds have provided immediate support for Black Portlanders, including warm meals, groceries, and unpaid bills.
Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County is a grassroots, volunteer-run, social-justice nonprofit organization focused on the empowerment and liberation of Black and other people of color through advocacy and direct action. Your donations help these leaders dismantle anti-Black systems and policies of oppression.
Don’t Shoot PDX’s organizational work and activism includes direct community education workshops, supporting the outreach of their continued advocacy as first respondents, and helping community members contribute through direct engagement and legislative value. Your contributions support programs and services, including Oregon Know Your Rights trainings, community events, legal outreach, activism and direct engagement dialogues, and more.
PAALF Action Fund helps the Portland Black community imagine the alternatives they deserve and build political participation and leadership to achieve those alternatives. Your donations to PAALF Action Fund help keep the wheels of justice turning and helps build Black political participation and leadership in Oregon.
Food and Agriculture
Acta Non Verba: Youth Urban Farm Project (ANV) elevates life in Oakland and beyond by challenging oppressive dynamics and environments through urban farming. Founded and led mainly by women of color from the surrounding neighborhood and larger community, ANV creates a safe and creative outdoor space for children, youth, and families in East Oakland, CA. Your donation helps ANV engage and strengthen young people’s understanding of nutrition, food production, and healthy living as well as strengthens their ties to the community.
Black Farmers Collective is a distributed network of cutting-edge Black farmers and growers throughout the greater Seattle area, running a two acre urban agriculture farm. Your contributions support their work for a more sustainable, equitable future for communities of color.
The Black Food Sovereignty Coalition serves as a collaboration hub for Black and Brown communities to confront the systemic barriers that make food, place, and economic opportunities inaccessible to Black and Brown folks. The Coalition is responding on multiple fronts, including, but not limited to, activating several new farm sites and growing community capacity to build food sovereignty. Your contributions support this work, which is even more urgent in the face of COVID-19.
Black Futures Farm is a project of the Black Food Sovereignty Coalition and is a community farm, staffed by volunteers and two resident farmers. Learn more about their work to implement the best methods of growing food, both drawing from ancestral practices and new innovations.
Clean Greens is a small nonprofit organization, owned and operated by longstanding African American residents of Seattle’s Central District. Clean Greens was established to supply fresh, sustainably grown produce at affordable prices to low-income families. Your donations help to pay for their hardworking farm staff and purchase the equipment and supplies necessary to maintain farm and market stands.
Ebony By Nature is a Black-owned business whose founder has been on a journey to reclaim the art of farming and harness the many natural fiber products around us. Follow on Instagram and support via Paypal.
The Equitable Giving Circle is a community of people committed to creating peer-led, community-funded transformational change. Their work aims to build immediate and increased equity throughout Portland’s Black, Indigenous, and communities of color (BIPOC) through a combination of fund development and network building opportunities that center economic equity. Your contributions go directly to BIPOC farmers to support business operations, and CSAs purchased provide access to healthy, locally grown food for BIPOC families.
Feed the Mass is a Portland-based nonprofit with the goal of bringing people together. In response to COVID-19, Feed the Mass has launched the Fed program, providing restaurant-quality, free meals for families and individuals in need. Your donations to Feed the Mass further their work feeding the Portland community.
Hilltop Urban Gardens is a community-based urban agriculture, justice, and equity organization in Tacoma, Wash. They partner with the community to grow healthy food and create a healthy community. Your contributions support their work as they seek to inspire the community to live with abundance, while understanding and interrupting the root causes of economic poverty and systems of oppression, operating with the belief that growing your own food is an important strategy in this process.
Hollingsworth Cannabis Co. is a family of cannabis connoisseurs passionate about natural healing, plant power, and farming. Their cannabis is grown in insulated climate controlled greenhouses to create the best environment for production. They take sustainability and a low carbon footprint seriously, buying local, reusing, and using solar energy.
Mudbone Grown is a Black-owned farm enterprise whose work is centered on the land. They believe that feeding and nourishing the bodies and souls of their community leads to strength in this fight for justice—a pathway to resilience. Your donations to Mudbone Grown will help fund their time in the field growing organic, culturally appropriate food and medicine, and working with community partners on new, effective food distribution at a safe social distance.
Nurturing Roots is a community farming program focused on educating youth and community members on healthy food choices. All of the proceeds from your purchases go to supporting their community program.
Raceme Farm Collective is made up of three distinct Black and Brown-owned farm businesses (Chalchi Farm, Flying Dogheart Farm, and Scrapberry Farm) that work in collective, sharing investment and risk in farm infrastructure, marketing, and planning work. They grow weeds and medicine and believe in food as medicine and community as medicine.
Wakulima USA is a farming and food business cooperative that advances small business development and food sovereignty for low income immigrants and people of color in the Puget Sound region. Your donations help Wakulima increase the total number, net income, success rate, and growth rate of farmers and food business entrepreneurs from the communities they serve.
Education and Environment
The mission of the Black United Fund of Oregon is to assist in the social and economic development of Oregon’s underserved communities and to contribute to a broader understanding of ethnic and culturally diverse groups. Your support helps the Fund counter injustices by providing students with education and career opportunities guided by mentors and community partners with lived experiences similar to their own and increase equity within corporate culture and educational institutions.
BWiSTEM is dedicated to supporting, promoting, and inspiring Black women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics careers, as well as advocating for equitable and inclusive workplace environments that nurture diverse talent. BWiSTEM encourages the engagement of all women who want to share professional perspectives, gain cutting-edge industry information, enhance leadership and communication skills, participate in partner programs, and build meaningful networks with peers.
The Blueprint Foundation helps students find the career option that drives their motivation for completing school. Your donations contribute to the next generation of Black environmental scientists, health care professionals, engineers, and trades people.
Camp ELSO is a community-based, environmental education-focused nonprofit that uses the natural world to connect children from underrepresented communities to science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics. With your donation, Camp ELSO can provide culturally relevant environmental education; remove barriers to make quality science and environmental education accessible; provide field trips, competitively paid summer jobs, and leadership development opportunities for BIPOC young adults; and more.
KairosPDX is an education nonprofit focused on transforming education through a model built on love and inclusion that elevates the voices of historically underserved children, their families, and communities. Your contributions support their work, including the KairosPDX Early Learning Network, Family Connections Program, and the Reggio-inspired, multicultural Learning Academy.
Self Enhancement, Inc. is a comprehensive resource for youth and families, primarily African Americans and others living in poverty or seeking culturally responsive services. It is also one of Portland’s leading multi-service organizations, providing thousands of youth, families, and adults with a wide array of education and social service on an annual basis. Your donations to Self Enhancement, Inc. are key to building a positive legacy that families can pass on to generations to come.
Wild Diversity aims to welcome and create a sense of belonging in the outdoors for the BIPOC & LGBTQ+ communities, by hosting outdoor adventures, providing outdoor education, and facilitating community workshops. Your donations help fund equipment, adventures, education, trainers and the staff that make all of this possible.
Economic Development and Entrepreneurship
The mission of Africatown Community Land Trust is to acquire, develop and steward land in greater Seattle to empower and preserve the Black diaspora community. The Trust works for community ownership of land in the Central District to support cultural and economic stability and a thriving community. Your contributions can go toward a variety of projects, including their Operations Fund, Africatown Plaza project, Black Business Fund, and COVID-19 fund.
BlackPDX.com is a virtual community hub created to amplify the voices and message of the Black community in the greater Portland metro area, ultimately to improve economic conditions for Black families. They provide assistance to business owners, nonprofits, creatives and other organizations to increase their reach and provide unique and needed opportunities for community connection. Non-Black supporters of BlackPDX are invited to become Patrons by supporting their work in a number of ways, including donations toward general operating expenses.
Jacobsen Valentine Studios was built to create a safe, inclusive, space for the Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) community. Your contributions to this community fund enable BIPOC creatives and businesses to 40 individual, one-month co-working space rentals at Empowermental Central and 200 hours of studio rental for creative projects.
East Bay Permanent Real Estate Cooperative facilitates BIPOC and allied communities to cooperatively organize, finance, purchase, occupy, and steward properties, taking them permanently off the speculative market, creating community controlled assets, and empowering our communities to cooperatively lead a just transition from an extractive capitalist system into one where communities are ecologically, emotionally, spiritually, culturally, and economically restorative and regenerative. Your donations go toward building a solid foundation for the movement for permanent affordability.
Mercatus elevates the unique and universal narratives of entrepreneurs of color in Portland and connects the city and region with local talents, businesses, services and products that come from diverse entrepreneurs. See the directory of Black-owned businesses in Portland.
Top photo: Malcolm Shabazz Hoover leads Back to the Root conference attendees for a tour of Black Futures Farm. Photo by Kim Nguyen