art of the Leadership Team of Brothers United In Leadership Development after their First Annual Mother’s Day event May 15, 2021.

Black-led Joy and Wellness Fund

Supporting staff well-being at Black-led organizations

Launched in 2021, the Black-Led Joy and Wellness Fund and the REPAIR framework were created as part of the Blueprint for Impact, Seattle Foundation’s North Star. By following the Blueprint for Impact, Seattle Foundation is on a path to invest in community-led strategies and elevate the capacity of nonprofits and leaders to successfully transform systems.

Many staff at Black-led organizations are on the verge of burnout after years of responding to the twin pandemics of COVID-19 and anti-Black racism. Often, these smaller organizations don’t have the resources to provide paid time off to staff or reimbursement for wellness activities such as rest or sabbaticals. The Black-Led Joy and Wellness Fund is one approach Seattle Foundation has taken to center the importance of wellbeing among these organizations and their staff — allowing them to take a collective deep breath.

In close partnership with the Black-Led Organization Cohort, also known as the BLOC, 29 organizations collectively received $540,000 from the Black-Led Joy and Wellness Fund in 2021 and 22 organizations received $435,000 in 2022. Leaders from the BLOC elevated to us the need for a new funding opportunity that focuses on supporting the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of staff at Black-led organizations.

More about this fund

  • All selected grantees are on the frontline of responding to the crises of the last two years or are organizations that have been under-resourced for generations. In many cases, grantees fit both categories.
  • To further east the burden on grantees, applications are short, streamlined and as convenient as possible. Only organizations with budgets of $500,000 or below are asked to apply, and we prioritize organizations with annual operating budgets of less than $250,000.
  • Rather than earmarking these funds for a particular kind of wellness activity, we are allowing grantees to make the best determination for themselves.
  • It is a closed application process, partly due to limited resources, but mostly because we do not want to negatively impact anyone’s joy and wellness who may have applied to the fund and then be declined. (Every organization that applied in 2021 and 2022 received funding)

Additional resources