CFMT’s Give Black, Give Back Initiative Awards Grants to 4 Area Black-Led Organizations


Give Black, Give Back, an initiative of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, announces grants to four area Black-led nonprofit organizations to cap its celebration of Black Philanthropy Month.

Throughout the month of August, Give Black, Give Back’s Philanthropy Advisors, Kia Jarmon and Lisa Swift-Young engaged in weekly conversations during Black Philanthropy Month Conversation discussions. Complementing the series, Give Black, Give Back surprised four area Black-led nonprofits with $500 grants. These grants were awarded to: The Build Up Foundation, Nashville Freedom Schools Partnership, Pink Christmas, and 100 Black Men of Middle Tennessee.

The Give Black, Give Back initiative was launched following CFMT’s inaugural celebration of Black Philanthropy Month in 2019. Black Philanthropy Month has been recognized globally since 2011 upon its creation by Jackie Bouvier Copeland, a San Francisco Bay-area social and environmental justice activist.

The focus of Give Black, Give Back is to support Black-led charitable funds established at CFMT. The initiative is dedicated to fostering collaboration between its fundholders and to establishing new partnerships among Black philanthropists, corporate/community partners and nonprofits with similar goals and aspirations.

“Philanthropy is about leaving a legacy,” Swift-Young said. “Since leaving a legacy is what we live, not what we leave, it is essential that what we do right now becomes a pathway for those yet to come.”

Nearly two-thirds of Black households donate to organizations and causes, which amounts to about $11 billion each year, according to a report by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

“Black people across the diaspora have been philanthropists since pre-Colonial Africa, giving intentional time, talent, treasure, truth and testimony to their community,” Jarmon said. “As we join millions of people and organizations across the world to celebrate Black Philanthropy Month, we remember our ancestors who didn’t have space to celebrate.

“To honor our ancestors, we are happy to make intentional gifts to four outstanding organizations in our community,” she continued. “It is because of them that our city is better”

The Give Black, Give Back initiative is led by CFMT development manager Audra Cox. She can be reached at [email protected]

About this year’s grantees:

The Build Up Foundation. Founded in 2017 by local rap artist Quanie Cash, The Build Up Foundation — better known by its acronym, BUF — is a nonprofit holistic organization committed to helping build up the community through support of at-risk youth through mentorship, education, and youth sports in the Middle Tennessee area.

“The reward is seeing the joy on people faces that receive your help, and knowing that all those sacrifices are always worth it in the end,” Cash said. “Helping others is the most fulfilling thing you can do in life!”

He said The Give Black, Give Back grant will go toward supplies to help at-risk youth in the community.

Pink Christmas. Founded in 2009, Pink Christmas provides financial support as well as gifts and food donations to survivors of breast cancer.

Felicia Pratt, Pink Christmas founder and executive director, said one of the most rewarding experiences from her nonprofit is its Pink Christmas on the Day of Diagnosis program, launched in January 2018 in partnership with local breast surgeon Dr. Laura Lawson.

As part of the program, gifts called “Day of Diagnosis Bags” are handed out. The little pink bags can include a gift certificate from an area restaurant, a small journal to record doctors’ appointments, and a book of positive inspirations, for example.

A physician presents the gift to the patient on the day they are given the news they have breast cancer.

“So many of these ladies share how it made them feel to know that someone cared about them and was praying for them and they had no knowledge of who they were,” Pratt said. “It truly is a blessing to be a BLESSING to these ladies on such an emotionally filled day.”

She said the Give Black, Give Back grant will allow Pink Christmas to finish strong with the Pink Christmas on the Day of Diagnosis program this year as well as help fund an academic scholarship for a deserving student studying cancer research at Meharry Medical College.

Nashville Freedom Schools Partnership. Part of a national movement, Nashville Freedom Schools unites community partners and young-adult mentors to teach literacy and life skills that instill cultural pride, self-assurance, and activist citizenship among marginalized children and youth of color to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline.

Freedom Schools was reborn in 1993 by children’s rights activist, Marian Wright Edelman and the Children’s Defense Fund© Black Community Crusade for Children Initiative. CDF Freedom Schools© were designed to reduce summer learning loss and break cycles of despair which disproportionately impact low-income children.

Nashville Freedom Schools became a Children’s Defense Fund© partner in 2014.

The Nashville Freedom School partnership served 37 area youth in its recently concluded summer session, executive director Ashiya Swan reports.

“The most rewarding aspect of Nashville Freedom Schools is the opportunity to create a program that is equal parts enrichment and fun,” Swan said. “Our Scholars enjoy a reading curriculum and activities that help prevent summer learning loss while having a fun-filled summer.

“A grant like this from Give Black, Give Back at this time of year goes to help us build a solid foundation,” she continued. “We are planning for next summer, and the support of our community allows us to do the work that is necessary for a successful summer and beyond.”

100 Black Men of Middle Tennessee. Established in 1991, The 100 Black Men of Middle Tennessee, Inc. — often referred to as The 100 — provides resources to further the academic and social development of Black male students in Nashville and surrounding Middle Tennessee. The 100 is an affiliate of The 100 Black Men of America, Inc., a service organization chartered in 1986 with a commitment to improve the academic and social proficiency of inner-city black youth.

Its mission is “to nurture and enhance the growth, development and opportunities for young black males of Middle Tennessee.”

Since 1991, The 100 has served as philanthropic trailblazers in Middle Tennessee by:

  • Establishing academic enrichment programs focusing on intellectual and holistic development;
  • Providing quality education and experiential development initiatives, coupled with targeted community exposure;
  • Investing both actively and financially in the long-term scholastic success of its program participants.

“The 100 Black Men of Middle Tennessee are grateful to The Community Foundation’s Give Black, Give Back philanthropic Initiative for the unexpected contribution. This grant will help us with our middle and high school 100 Kings students, as we help develop them into future leaders,” said Alfonzo Alexander, 100 Black Men of Middle Tennessee member and past board chair.

About The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee

The Community Foundation exists to promote and facilitate giving in the 40 counties of Middle Tennessee and beyond. It does this by accepting gifts of any size from anyone at any time and by empowering individuals, families, companies, nonprofits, and communities to respond to needs and opportunities that matter. The Community Foundation works with people who have great hearts, whether or not they have great wealth, to craft solutions that reflect the intentions and goals of their charitable endeavors. For more information, call 615-321-4939 or visit

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