Refresh and Pour Into One Another: Black Women Giving in Omaha

Grant recipients for the IBBGives first round of grants in 2018. (Photo credit: IBBGives)

Editor’s Note: This post was written by the I Be Black Girl Collective, and is shared on Philanthropy Women during Black Philanthropy Month in order to highlight local efforts across the country to grow Black Philanthropy.

“We know that the people most affected by an issue are not the people making the decisions around solutions,” said Ashlei Spivey, co-founder of I Be Black Girl, a collective of Black women in Omaha, Nebraska. “IBBGives is a space that allows everyday Black women, no matter their association, to invest in their community.”

I Be Black Girl (IBBG) is a collective for Black women and girls in the Omaha metro; its founding is modeled after the work of bell hooks. IBBG organically came to fruition after a Facebook post by Ashlei Spivey that called for Black women to get together to refresh and pour into one another. Based on the overwhelming response, IBBG formally became a collective in 2017, offering networking sessions and leadership development programming. 

Founders Spivey and Jay Warren-Teamer, who both work at metro area foundations, believed this collective could be a vehicle to change the face of philanthropy by giving space for Black women to get more involved. They launched I Be Black Girl Gives (IBBGives) in 2018, a philanthropic giving circle that centers Black women and girls.

IBBGives set an initial goal of $10,000 for its inaugural year. However, the group quickly surpassed this amount, raising more than $49,000 in six months. Now, those dollars are making an impact in the local community.

IBBGives is building its base as a giving circle for Black women in Omaha, Nebraska (Image Credit: I Be Black Girl)

“We received more than $200,000 in requests for the $50,000 we had available to invest,” said Warren-Teamer, IBBGives Chair and Co-Director. “This really demonstrates the critical need for philanthropic dollars to be dedicated to and led by Black women and girls in our community.”

IBBGives awarded $36,500 to six local projects this Spring. Some of those grantees include Peace of Mine Young Women’s Self Care Retreat, which provides Black young women with self-care skills as they enter college, The LIIT Ladies, a group for women working in IT who want to bridge the gap between technology, gender and income, and The Keys Foundation, which invests in Black girls through sports and mentorship in an effort to create stronger confidence.

Funding recipients were selected by 77 IBBGives voting members — Black women who pledged $150 or more during the donation period. Non-Black, female-identifying folks also stepped up as partners and allies to donate on behalf of, or sponsor, Black women and girls who have made an impact on their lives. 

IBBGives is currently in the second cycle of the giving circle and is expecting to see even more investments and impact made by people who have traditionally been excluded from the philanthropic landscape. IBBG is managed by a dynamic advisory committee of Black women representing various parts of the community and the Women’s Fund of Omaha serves as fiscal sponsor and partner.

More information about IBBG and the Giving Circle can be found at www.ibbgomaha.com.

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Kiersten Marek

Author: Kiersten Marek

Kiersten Marek, LICSW, is the founder of Philanthropy Women. She practices clinical social work in Cranston, Rhode Island, and writes about how women donors and their allies are advancing social change.

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