Case study

A funder for organisations and movement led by and for Black people

Baobab Foundation are giving unrestricted grants to historically underserved organisations and communities in the UK. 
Funder practice
Organisations: Baobab Foundation 
Project: Covid-19 Emergency Funding: A new type of foundation for Black and minoritized communities 
Grant amount and duration: £50,000 over 6 months 
Year awarded: 2021 
Location: East Midlands, UK 
A group of young people standing and smiling to the camera.
Bradford Community Dialogue Group, Baobab Foundation. Photo credit: Jermaine Jackson

Baobab aims to create systemic change and to shape a wider funding community that is pro-Black and centres disability justice and intersectionality.

Founded in 2020 with the support of a £1 million grant from Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Baobab Foundation is a new type of funder, providing tailored support and long-term unrestricted funding to organisations and movements led by and for Black people and communities affected by racism.

They’re still at the start of their journey, but have already amassed a huge movement of people and organisations (500+ members strong) who are committed to making lasting change. Baobab co-created a fund design process with their members, informed by transformative funding practices in racial justice and Black-led organising spaces in the UK and across the world. Baobab also developed a Peer Reviewer Network comprised of 10 individuals located across the UK. 

We are a pro-Black, people driven movement, created by and for grassroots communities who are challenging racial injustice. We want to honour the sacrifices made by those who came before us by making sure that we leave a safer and more just world for all our children. More than a foundation, Baobab is a unique network of people from grassroots organisations, radical friends and solidarity partners who connect in words, thought and action to achieve lasting systems change.

This group supports the Foundation to review funding applications, talk to applicants, make final funding decisions and shape future funds. The network actively shifts the dial on traditional philanthropic funding practices where ultimate power is often held by those furthest from the people it serves. Baobab’s Peer Reviewer Network breaks down this power vacuum by bringing lived experience, cultural fluency, liberatory values and practices, and direct understanding of community realities to the funding process. 

Building on this work, Baobab launched their first fund in September 2022, offering unrestricted grants of between £5,000 and £30,000 per year for five years to organisations and individuals led by and for Black and global majority communities.

Being part of Baobab has taught me a lot about how things can be done differently and how equity in the funding landscape is a key component of a fairer society.

Founder/​Committee Member

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