By now, I know many of you have already checked out and contributed to the BPM Emergency Relief Fund, which we launched last week on Giving Tuesday. I hope those of you who give gifts for the holidays will consider purchasing something from our new BPM Shop. This month, all proceeds from those sales will be directed to the new fund and now until Dec. 13, all items are 15% off. Fundraising is perhaps the most important part of my job as executive director of Black Public Media, which is funny because when I started my career as an arts administrator, it was the LAST thing I wanted to do. Little did I know.
Ask any nonprofit executive director what they like most about their job, and I'm pretty sure “fundraising” won’t be their first response. But we all understand its importance. Without it, there would be no BPM Open Call, no fellowships, no Black Media Story Summits, no AfroPoP, no watch parties, no social media campaigns, no advocacy for Black media content, and, most likely, far fewer Black media makers and projects airing on public media than there are now.
Early in the pandemic, as New York, Los Angeles and other media hubs began to shut down, I knew some makers in the BPM family would be hit hard. We invited our network to contribute to a Covid-19 Relief Fund and received $30,000 in response, which we promptly distributed to 36 makers who were struggling to survive. The gratitude those recipients expressed in return was heartwarming. It felt good to be able to do something tangible to relieve our community’s suffering.
That experience encouraged us to make the new BPM Emergency Relief Fund a permanent part of our development work. If you are in a position to contribute today, we welcome your donation. If you can’t, we understand. But know that the fund isn’t going away, so you can always contribute at a later date.
One of the reasons I’ve stayed at BPM for nearly 20 years is that the people affiliated with this organization truly believe Black stories and Black storytellers matter. We support each other’s work, we advocate for more inclusion, we give our time and resources, and we mentor each other to ensure our collective strength continues to grow with time. Thanks for all you are doing to keep our community vibrant and strong. Together, we’re painting a global portrait of Black life that grows more vivid each year.