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Black Philanthropy Month: Spotlight on Jocelynne Rainey

For Black Philanthropy Month (BPM) we are highlighting stories of those who are committed to informing, inspiring, and investing in Black communities. Through a series of interviews, we will explore the various ways leaders are celebrating and emphasizing the importance of investing in Black leadership from within the Black community in Brooklyn and beyond. 

Our first spotlight is on Jocelynne Rainey, Chief Administrative Officer and Executive Vice President at the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation and member of the Foundation’s Spark Prize Committee.


What does Black philanthropy mean to you?

"Black Philanthropy is supporting community based organizations that serve Black communities.  It is important that there is an emphasis on giving to organizations that are addressing the issues that plague these communities in order to create opportunities that will lead to better outcomes for people of color.

Black Philanthropy is often critical to organizations that serve the community, ensuring they stay afloat. Research indicates that private and corporate funders do not typically give to small, less established organizations that may be doing the work in communities of color.  It is important to support these organizations, understanding that they are making a difference in the lives of people who have been marginalized for centuries, often offering the grassroots services that people often need just to survive."

What is the significance of Black Philanthropy Month, and how can people participate?

"Black Philanthropy Month is an opportunity to educate people about organizations that are serving the Black community, and to share ways to support these organizations. Many people believe the only way to support an organization is monetarilyhowever, you can also support organizations by volunteering your time and by sharing their work with others that may have the means to offer financial support. I believe that every little bit helps and we all can do something."

How can we all continue to show up for the Black community throughout the year, even after Black Philanthropy Month?

"Brooklyn Community Foundation is a great place to start–if you have the capacity for philanthropic giving (I believe no amount is too small), think about giving to the Foundation.  The work they support in Brooklyn is amazing, and the Foundation is also a good place to learn about the work that is happening to support the community.  What makes the Foundation different is that they are focused on racial justice and willing to have those hard conversations. The Foundation’s willingness to tackle these issues in a real way makes them different from any other foundation that I’ve worked with.

You can also research community based organizations and hone in on those that are doing work you feel passionate about–connect with organizations to volunteer where possible

Lastly, talk about the importance of philanthropy in the Black Community and how people can and should get involved."

Black Philanthropy Month, celebrated in August, was created in August 2011 by Dr. Jackie Bouvier Copeland and the Pan-African Women's Philanthropy Network (PAWPNet) as an annual, global celebration of African-descent giving.

Black Philanthropy is supporting community based organizations that serve Black communities. It is important that there is an emphasis on giving to organizations that are addressing the issues that plague these communities in order to create opportunities that will lead to better outcomes for people of color.