By Kathy Chouteau
RCF Connects, a philanthropic community foundation based in Richmond, is launching the Equity for Black Women and Girls Task Force led by its Board Chair Dr. Cynthia LeBlanc.
The Task Force, a collaboration among community leaders, will generate an awareness campaign aimed at educating the public about inequities experienced by Black women and girls locally, as well as ensuring they gain access to the resources to help them prevail over and change “current policies, practices and attitudes that are root causes of the inequities” existing today, per the foundation.
The creation of the Task Force comes in response to a recent survey of local foundations, private funders and corporate funders that found that “community-based funding commitments and programming in Contra Costa County for Black/African American people is less than 5 percent,” and when it comes to black women and girls is “less than 1 percent.”
Dr. LeBlanc said, given that RCF Connects is dedicated to equity and seeks systemic change that eliminates policies, practices and attitudes that perpetuate inequity, “we cannot let this stand.”
Underscoring that “valuing and raising up black women and girls in our community raises our entire community to a new level of health, wellness and success,” the foundation introduced the members of its new Task Force: Adey Teshager; Dr. Melanie Spears; Tanise Smith; Mitzi Perez; Gregory Medley; Stephanie Medley; Dr. Cynthia LeBlanc; Jasmine Jones; Tiffany Harris; Jennifer Zauner Clauson; Rosalind Mays Welch; and Jim Becker.
Among the Task Force’s efforts will be the release of RCF Connects’ position paper RCF Connects’ Equity for Black Women and Girls Initiative and implementing its recommendations. According to the foundation, the position paper shares findings and recommendations from a study it funded that encompassed interviews of black women and girls throughout Contra Costa County. Outlined within it are solutions “that correct the current void of services, supports and resources specifically for black women and girls in our community.”
The Task Force will also forge partnerships with pivotal organizations willing to join the effort, as well as offer expertise and insights to other foundations and entities prepared to commit funding to priorities aligned with its overall aim.
The foundation indicated that immediate next steps will include finding qualified candidates to lead the new initiative and fulfill its mission.