Black United Fund Sacramento Valley, Inc.
The mission of the Sacramento Valley Black United Fund (AKA Black United Fund of Sacramento Valley or BUFSV) is to create, maintain, and empower African American, ethnically diverse, and economically challenged communities through nonprofit development and organizing.
In 2017, the Black United Fund hosted its 8th annual Martin Luther King Jr., Day of Service. During Kwanzaa, the organization begins to collect and purchase new warm winter clothing for the homeless. The clothing is distributed to the following shelters and agencies: Center for Community Health and Well Being, Wellspring Women's Center, Next Move, and Loaves and Fishes. In addition, in 2017, the organization partnered with the Period Project to collect and purchased feminine products to benefit young girls in Liberia, West Africa.
The Day of Service is deliberately planned to occur after the official Martin Luther King Jr. holiday so that the board and volunteers may participate in official activities planned around the city. On the Day of Service, volunteers meet at the Black United Fund office to assemble the clothing into packages for individuals and families. Most years, the event attracts 15-20 volunteers.
The MLK Day of Service addresses the charity and social justice aspects of the Black United Fund's mission.
The program collects and purchases enough clothing to serve 200 individuals.
The program has allowed the Black United Fund to establish positive relationships with community programs that deliver direct services to the public.
The program serves as a way to attract participants to the Black United Fund nonprofit development workshops.
Each year the Black United Fund conducts an annual Kwanzaa celebration during the holiday season, free and open to the public. At this event, the recipient of the Walter Bremond Memorial Community Service Award is announced. Walter Bremond was one of the founders of the Black United Fund movement, and the award is given to a grassroots nonprofit organization that has been serving the community for a minimum of five years. A representative from the honored organization is given a framed certificate and small grant in honor his or her organization's work. The 2017 awardee was Green Tech Education and Employment, which works with young people, teaching them technical and agricultural skills.
The Black United Fund celebrated its 25th anniversary as a key feature of the 2017 Kwanzaa event. The purpose of offering an annual Kwanzaa program is to provide a way for families to celebrate culture, and for 2017, educate the public about the history and legacy of the Black United Fund and its services.
- The Kwanzaa celebration is free and held in a public place, in partnership with other organizations.
- For the past several years, the event has been held at the Brickhouse Art Gallery.
- The event generally attracts a diverse audience of 50 to 75 people, many of them children and elderly.
The name of the Black United Fund's workshop series is Growing Our Own Nonprofit Development Workshops--Creating and sustaining nonprofit organizations in communities of color. There are two levels of workshops offered. The overall purpose is to: Stimulate new grassroots start-ups, raise awareness about the importance of strong, local nonprofits, be a nonprofit leadership resource in communities of color, publicize information about grassroots nonprofits in online and hard copy newsletters and blogs, sponsor an annual convening of nonprofit organizations, conduct quarterly level 1 and level 2 workshops (Level 1: The purpose of Level 1 workshops is to work with individuals at the very beginning stages of nonprofit development, those who have not completed state and federal requirements to receive 501(c)(3) status. Level 2: The purpose is to provide activities and mentoring to newly certified nonprofits that have received the Letter of Determination from the IRS). BUFSV conducts support activities, hosts workshops and allocates small grants to individuals who complete the Level 1 series, receiving its Letter of Determination from the IRS.
- Over the past three years, BUFSV has conducted nine level 1 workshops attended by approximately ninety people
- Three of the individuals attending have completed both the state and federal requirements to become 501(c)(3) certified, often after attending the first workshop, which covers what the terms nonprofit and tax-exempt mean, participants elect to contact the Chambers of Commerce to instead become a profit making business
- Four individuals have made it through the process and have received a letter of determination from the IRS. Those organizations are The Mike B. Foundation, Araven Holistic Mind Institute, The Black Social Workers Association, and Performing Arts United. In 2017, forty people participated in the workshops, several completing the entire series.
BUFSV implemented its first annual day-long conference for grassroots nonprofits in September 2015. The event's purpose is to provide a vehicle for networking, collaboration, and training for small nonprofits, which tend to operate in isolation although many of their services may overlap. The conference provides training, expert speakers, and opportunities for dialog.
The program addresses the educational aspect of the Black United Fund's mission.
The program is brand new, but it's successes include:
- Bringing together thirty-five plus small grassroots nonprofits, many operating from the homes of their founders.
- Starting an exchange of information and opportunity for communication, providing technical information about using social media to promote nonprofit organizations.
- Over forty-two individuals and organizations registered to attend through Eventbrite, and over thirty-five actually attended.
- Thirty written evaluations were received, with most indicating they would attend future conferences; all rated the keynote presentation, how to use social media to promote nonprofits on a shoestring budget, to be very useful and all rated the panel discussion on best practices for forming productive collaborations with other groups to be very useful.