Nonprofit Spotlight: BOLD

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In February, PennyLoafer donors collectively gave to BOLD (Black Organizing for Leadership and Dignity)!

The Rundown

  • Years founded: 2011

  • Leadership: Executive Director, Denise Perry, has over 30 years experience in community organizing in the U.S and abroad. She’s dedicated herself to developing strong grassroots leaders to bring about social change.

  • Issue they address: collective progress for the Black community.

  • What they do: strengthen Black organizing structures and leadership to be more aligned, impactful and sustainable in creating meaningful change.

  • How they do it:

    • Lead a series of training programs to improve the leadership skills and effectiveness of Black frontline organizers and heads of social justice organizations (on things like campaign management, strategic communications, and more).

    • Provide resources, technical assistance and networking/mentoring opportunities for participants, including BOLD’s national gathering that convenes alumni of the program from across the country to strengthen relationships, coordination and organizing efforts among alumni and the organizations they represent.

Why they were chosen

BOLD has become the premier national training organization to equip the next generation of Black leaders with the tools to be strategic and effective organizers and movement builders.

  • It was started by a small team of long-time Black organizers who wanted to build a blueprint for future organizers to gain a network, develop leadership skills and increase their impact.
  • They’ve trained over 400 organizers + 115 base building organizations across 26 states.
  • Their impressive alumni have gone onto lead social justice organizations, serve in politics and more, including Gloria Walton, CEO of the Solutions Project, Zach Norris, Executive Director of the Ella baker Center for Human Rights and Ash-Lee Henderson the first Black woman to serve as Executive Director at the Highlander Research and Education Center.

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“I began to be bugged by the teaching of American History because it seemed that history had been taught without cognizance of my presence.” – James Baldwin, 1963.

Since 1976, every President (starting with Gerald Ford) has designated the month of February as Black History Month. Though, its origins trace back 50 years earlier to Carter G. Woodson, a Black historian, who in 1926 set out to designate a time to promote and educate people about Black history and culture.

Black History Month is meant to honor the legacy, sacrifices and contributions of African Americans to U.S. History. While we often learn about the same civil rights figures in schools, (think Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks and Malcom X) there are so many Black organizers and civil rights leaders that have pushed our nation towards justice and equality. Such as:

A. Philip Randolph, whose organizing efforts led to the first successful Black trade union (1925), to FDR banning discrimination in the defense industries (1941) and Truman ending racial segregation in the armed forces (1948).

And Jo Ann Robinson, an instrumental figure in starting and sustaining the Montgomery bus boycott after she was verbally attacked by a bus driver for sitting in the “whites only” section. Her mobilization and behind-the-scenes work for the boycott + the Montgomery Improvement Association (of which, MLK Jr. was elected President) contributed to the 1956 Supreme Court ruling that segregation on buses is unconstitutional.

This article highlights 28 civil rights leaders, past and present.

If you enjoyed this and want to get involved, you can support the Racial Justice cause on PennyLoafer, starting with as little as $5/month. Each month, you’ll support and learn about a different nonprofit creating a more equitable world.