Organizations Defend Foundations’ Right to Support Historically Marginalized Groups, as Protected Under the First Amendment
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 13, 2023
Contact: Juan Martinez
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Today, the Council on Foundations and Independent Sector filed an amicus brief in support of the Fearless Fund, an organization facing a lawsuit that could have a chilling effect on the entire philanthropic sector. If successful, the lawsuit could limit the rights of foundations to make grants that align with their values – including support for the historically underserved, like Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities, LGBTQ+, the unhoused, and those who live in poverty.
In joining more than two dozen organizations signing onto a statement supporting the amicus brief, Hopelab, a social impact investor working at the intersection of youth mental health and technology, reinforces its belief that philanthropic organizations, charitable nonprofits, and individual donors have the right to exercise their values and views through giving, as protected by the First Amendment.
“Hopelab is committed to investing in mental health solutions that support the well-being of BIPOC and LGBTQ+ young people and doing so, in part, by backing founders and young leaders with diverse lived experiences,” said Margaret Laws, President and CEO of Hopelab. “The power of philanthropy to improve lives and change the systems that have disproportionately impacted underserved communities is one of the most important tools we have to create a world where young people of all backgrounds can thrive. It is a mechanism for change that must be protected.”
The Fearless Fund helps combat underfunding in venture capital for Black female entrepreneurs. The Black-women-led organization provides grants, tools, and mentorship to Black women business owners. Under the guise of alleged racial discrimination, the federal lawsuit seeks to stop Fearless Fund from directing its resources specifically to Black women – an argument that ignores a cycle of systemic racism that has perpetuated the present reality for women entrepreneurs of color today. In 2022, only 2.1 percent of the total capital invested in venture-backed startups went to women; companies led by Black women received less than 0.35 percent of all venture capital investment.
Other organizations supporting the amicus brief include the Ford Foundation; the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; Omidyar Network; Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; The New York Community Trust; National Council of Nonprofits; Humanity United; and Imaginable Futures.
Hopelab is a transformative social innovation lab and impact investor working to support the mental well-being of adolescents, ages 10-25, especially BIPOC and LGBTQ+ youth. Through targeted social impact investments, youth-centered design and research support, and translational science partnerships, the organization leverages 20+ years of co-creation experience to influence systems change while centering health equity. Learn more at hopelab.org.
Hopelab welcomes Dr. Charity Brown Griffin and Bruny Kenou to the newest six-month cohort in the Health Equity Fellowship.