A 2020 report found that less than 1% of the nearly $5 Billion philanthropic investment in the South goes to Black girls and women led organizations.
This stopped Latosha Brown in her tracks.
Having established a long career in philanthropy and public service, Brown was well aware of how disparate funding could be for minorities, but she had no idea it was that bad.
“Less than 1% of that 1.7% going to girls’ charities were being allocated to Black girls in the southern part of the country,” Brown said. “I asked myself, ‘how could this be? Black women have been carrying the south on our backs.”
She continued in an open letter, “Black girls, like Black women, shoulder many of the burdens and responsibilities in our communities, yet organizations that support them and can help them be resilient amid this trauma are not receiving the financial support.”
She said her first reaction to the staggering information was to mobilize her connections in social justice spaces. Then she stepped it up a notch and decided to launch her own organization to address the issue head on.
Southern Girls and Women Consortium is described as a collective of Black women in philanthropy, activism and girls’ work. The organization is led by representatives from the Appalachian Community Fund, the BlackBelt Community Foundation, the Fund for Southern Communities and the TruthSpeaks Innovation Foundation among others. Brown is on a mission to provide educational and mental health resources by way of a $100M fund she’s raising money for.
In the process of raising funds, Brown and her team launched the ‘Joy is our Journey Dream Bus Tour.’
“We are traveling to rural cities throughout the country in the south to give girls the opportunity to have fun and be joyful,” Brown said, describing the tour as a series of pop-up activity stations described as Dream Villages.
The bus tour kicked off on August 20 and has been a huge success. In fact, Megan Thee Stallion is a huge fan.
“We met at the Glamour Women of the Year awards in 2021 where we were being honored, and she absolutely loved our mission, because after all our mission embodies everything she stands for.”
Brown says that through their support, their year-long caravan will continue, eventually culminating in Birmingham at the 2022 Black Girls Dream Conference, Friday, Sept. 16-17.
“We are just here to spread Black girl joy.”