Sustainable Development Goals &
Responsive Philanthropy in Black Communities:
A Framework for Community Foundations 

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A Cohort-Based Program for Staff, Trustees, and Donors

Generously supported by Charles Stewart Mott Foundation
Please review this summary of the program and timeline before proceeding to the application. 
About the Program
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a global framework adopted by 193 countries in 2015 with a target date of 2030. The SDGs are organized according to 17 overall goals focused on economic, social, and environmental indicators for developing and wealthy countries alike. (See SDG guidebook and toolkit for community foundations here.) ABFE: A Philanthropic Partnership for Black Communities is partnering with the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation to help community foundations incorporate the SDG framework into their racial equity work to increase focus, accountability, and impact. ABFE uses a comprehensive approach to strengthening grantmaking, fundraising, community engagement, and organizational culture. The cohort-based format, led by two ABFE Trainer/Advisors, includes small and large group interaction with an emphasis on peer learning. Participants have opportunities to apply program content to current work, and typically leave with concrete plans for next steps. Each participating organization is represented by 1-3 individuals per track. Organizations may apply to participate in one or more of the following tracks:
  • Staff (two half-day sessions)
  • Trustees (two full-day sessions)
  • Donors (two full-day sessions)
  • Open “refresher” track for Staff, Trustees, and/or Donors from organizations with prior exposure to ABFE's racial equity framework. (single full-day session)
About ABFE
ABFE is a membership-based philanthropic organization that advocates for responsive and transformative investments in Black communities. Partnering with foundations, nonprofits, and individuals, ABFE provides its members with professional development and technical assistance resources that further the philanthropic sector’s connection and responsiveness to issues of equality, diversity, and inclusion. Established in 1971 as the Association of Black Foundation Executives, the all-volunteer organization was credited with many of philanthropy’s early gains in diversity. It since has evolved into a fully staffed, influential network. In 2013, the organization shed its descriptor and adopted the simpler ABFE (ab-fee) to better reflect its broadening membership.
About Charles Stewart Mott Foundation
Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, established in 1926 in Flint, Michigan, by an automotive pioneer, is a private philanthropy committed to supporting projects that promote a just, equitable and sustainable society. It supports nonprofit programs throughout the United States and, on a limited geographic basis, internationally. Grantmaking is focused in four programs: Civil Society, Education, Environment and Flint Area. In addition to Flint, offices are located in metropolitan Detroit, Johannesburg and London. For more information, visit
ABFE Program Readiness Checklist 
  1. My organization is fundamentally committed to racial equity, in addition to equity for other historically marginalized communities. 
  2. Resources (financial and human) are available to act on our commitment. 
  3. There is Board and Staff Leadership buy-in. 
  4. Specific individuals will be named as program participants. They will be fully present at each session, and agree to share their experience and continue the work begun in the Program within the organization.  
  5. We are willing to share data on the foundation’s policies and practices as well as data you have available on the populations of interest. 
Intended Audience
Small to mid-sized community foundations that serve Black populations – this includes African-Americans, as well as long-standing or newer Black immigrant populations.

When selecting team members, also consider: 

Team composition should reflect a diverse group of cross-functional staff members that includes support staff, mid-level staff, and senior/executive leadership. 

Team composition should reflect diversity in race/ethnicity, gender, and identity. 
Timeline & Key Dates
Application Released: April 25 

Q&A/Info Session #1 (online):  May 24 at 11AM ET 

Q&A/Info Session #2 (online):  May 25 at 2PM ET 

Application Deadline:  June 6 

Tracks Announced:  June 27 

Program Sessions: August -October 2023