California Black Freedom Fund Hires Marc Philpart as First Executive Director
Mountain View, CA – The California Black Freedom Fund (CBFF) has hired Marc Philpart, renowned advocate for boys and men of color, their families and communities, as its first executive director. Beginning April 27, Philpart will oversee the five-year-long initiative to raise and distribute $100 million so that California’s growing ecosystem of locally rooted Black-led organizing efforts have the sustained investments and resources they need to eradicate systemic and institutional racism.
“The California Black Freedom Fund's tremendous traction since its launch was a clear indicator that we needed to expand its infrastructure,” said Nicole Taylor, President and CEO of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, which provides fiscal and administrative management of the fund. “I could not be more confident and excited about our decision to entrust Marc Philpart with the role of serving as the CBFF's first ever executive director. Marc's extensive expertise and deep commitment to advancing social and structural change will be invaluable as he leads the CBFF and builds on its existing momentum.”
Launched in February 2021, the first-of-its-kind fund, co-created with Black leaders and organizers, addresses a history of underinvestment in Black-led organizations and power-building by philanthropy. The fund has already galvanized the support of nearly three dozen funders and donors, with nearly $63 million already raised and committed of the $100 million it seeks to raise by 2025. To date, the fund has distributed $25.8 million to more than 110 Black-led groups across California as part of its commitment to resource, connect and strengthen Black-led power-building organizations in the state.
“I am excited to lead the California Black Freedom Fund, and work to champion Black organizing and power-building throughout California,” said Philpart. “For the first time in California, Black organizing, advocacy and leadership will have dedicated investment. The solutions to the systemic inequities that diminish our power are held in our communities, and through this new fund, our movements will have the resources needed to realize our collective vision of Black freedom.”
As executive director, Philpart will work directly with California Black Freedom Fund’s Executive Committee, and partner with its Community Advisory Committee, core funders of the initiative, and additional community leaders and experts. He brings passion and creativity to the design and implementation of the initiative, which aims to identify existing solutions and new innovative ideas for changing the trajectory of Black communities in California. Included in the California Black Freedom Fund’s approach is organizational and network capacity-building for the more than 100 grantee partner organizations, including policy technical assistance, convening and shared learning across grantees.
“Marc is going to be an excellent first executive director of the California Black Freedom Fund,” said Cathy Cha, President and CEO of the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund. “His commitment and leadership are going to unleash and support Black-led social change that will transform California for all of us.”
Philpart has decades of deep experience building power and facilitating systems change among Black communities and communities of color. Most recently as Managing Director at PolicyLink, he led the national expansion of the Alliance for Boys and Men of Color. Growing from three sites in California to 12, he extended the network to eight additional states – Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Missouri, Alabama, Georgia and Florida – supporting grassroots organizations in their efforts to transform systems that are failing boys and men of color. In addition, under his leadership, Alliance for Boys and Men of Color launched an innovative campaign to end patriarchal violence and supported the passage of more than 100 bills in California fostering educational equity, improving community health and safety, expanding access to jobs, addressing police brutality, divesting from the carceral state, and ensuring voting and governance by low-income people and communities of color.
“Black power-building in California will be expertly nurtured under the thoughtful and visionary leadership of Marc Philpart,” said Lateefah Simon, President of Meadow Fund. “The California Black Freedom Fund looks forward to the ways his skillful stewardship of this five-year initiative will advance justice and change for Black communities.”
Previously in his 13-year tenure at PolicyLink, he worked directly with the Obama administration to develop My Brother’s Keeper, an initiative designed by the President to remove barriers and expand opportunities for boys and men of color.
“Marc’s track record of building diverse coalitions and creating innovative solutions to advance Black freedom and racial equity is second to none,” said Shane Goldsmith, President and CEO of Liberty Hill Foundation. “CBFF’s investment in an executive director and the selection of such a seasoned leader as Marc signal a historic turning point in the fight for Black freedom and freedom for all of us.”
“The work of Black liberation remains as urgent today as it was when the Fund launched,” said Kaci Patterson, Chief Architect of the Black Equity Collective, one of the fund’s first grantees. “Hiring Marc sends a clear signal that the fund will not retreat from the fierce urgency of now. All of our liberation is tied to the necessary pursuit of eradicating anti-Blackness in every thread that binds our state together, so we can continue to be an example to the nation and demonstrate that Black liberation is not only morally right, but is economically and politically advantageous to the future of our state and country.”
About the California Black Freedom Fund:
The California Black Freedom Fund (CBFF) is a five-year, $100 million initiative to ensure that Black power-building and movement-based organizations have the sustained investments and support they need to eradicate systemic and institutional racism. Learn more at CABlackFreedomFund.org