As we pilot our re-designed grant program, it is tempting to recount the Maddox racial equity journey with you—charting our work from 2017 to now, both our learning and unlearning. But instead, I’ll point you to the timeline on our website and the series of blog links that appear below. Suffice it to say, change has come through intentional and ongoing struggle.
What will remain the same going forward is our mission—to make Middle Tennessee a better place through partnerships that improve the lives of young people and protect the natural environment. What will change are our grant strategies and practices in hopes of contributing to a more equitable, just and liberating tomorrow.
For more than 25 years, I worked with nonprofits providing affordable housing. We were always on the hunt for a house or an available apartment building. I learned to love the smell of fresh paint but also knew to bring an experienced inspector with me. New paint looks good but frequently covers a myriad of structural issues. Only by looking beneath the veneer of fresh paint could we know the integrity of the house’s foundation and framing.
On the surface, Maddox has made progress living into our racial equity imperative. Our 2021 grant analysis reveals that we are supporting partners with more diverse boards and more organizations led by and for BIPOC communities (Black, Indigenous and People of Color). We have added partners committed to the movement building essential to systemic change. Even our Opportunity (out-of-cycle) Grants have grown to be more responsive to the unique challenges faced by Black and diverse leaders. Our 2021 Young Professional Scholarships at CNM will focus on BIPOC leadership development.
But upon deeper inspection, the Maddox Fund’s policies and practices have perpetuated racial inequity. Examining our most recent 5-year comparison, we found that:
The 5 organizations that have received the largest cumulative levels of funding since inception are all white-led organizations
Out of the 9 organizations receiving more than $200,000 in total funding, none are BIPOC-led*
Out of the 33 organizations receiving more than $100,000 in total funding, only 3 of them are BIPOC-led
“I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.” Maya Angelou
I spent the better part of the first two decades of my professional life as the Executive Director of direct service organizations. During that time I witnessed a commitment to improving services, often returning from trainings with a new best practice or working to make program adjustments based on client feedback. The nonprofit community has often been ready to interrogate its assumptions, adapt and move into action—we lean into change.
Not surprisingly, as we wake up to how systemic racism functions in our organizations, nonprofits are responding with a determination to tear down oppressive structures and to build new, liberating systems in their place.
Over the past several weeks we have witnessed the violent deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd. Closer to home Jocques Clemmons and Daniel Hambrick are remembered, along with the disproportionate number of our black and brown neighbors who have died from COVID-19. These are the individual faces reflecting the oppressive systems that envelop everyone in their path—no one escapes; the only way forward is together.
Believing each of us wants to be liberated individually and to advance racial justice in our organizations, the Maddox Fund is sharing resources that we have used in our racial justice learning.
With gratitude for the compassion and determination of our nonprofit partners, The Dan and Margaret Maddox Fund is honored to announce our 2020 grants to support education, marginalized youth, and wildlife conservation in Middle Tennessee.
Trees are on my heart these days. The scarecrow remains of a once noble walnut, all but the trunk and a few branches torn from it by the tornado. My son’s tire swing was roped around that tree. The mounds of limbs and torsos at curbs unceremoniously hauled away by hulking clawed machines. To say nothing of the many fallen trees that have caved-in the roofs of homes they’ve sheltered for generations.
A year ago, many in the community joined us at Casa Azafrán Park for a celebration of the 10-year anniversary of the Maddox Charitable Fund. While we were celebrating, the foundation was at the same time working through challenging conversations about Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice.
“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” James Baldwin
“If not now, when? If not us, who?”John Lewis
“We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.” Hopi Nation Elders
Over the past year, the Maddox Charitable Fund has been talking about equity. While we are early in our journey, we are convinced that we can’t walk alone; we need partners to create a strong movement for change.
The Maddox Charitable Fund, along with the HCA Foundation, The Healing Trust and the Metro Arts Commission, is partnering with Center for Nonprofit Management to bring Crossroads’ anti-racism training back to Nashville. Education is the first step in order to chart a transformative course.
We invite our partners to consider an available training in 2019 (see descriptions and registration below). If you need scholarship assistance to participate, please contact us. Don’t let registration fees stand in your way.
Later in the year, we will be hosting Maddox Listening Meetings to hear directly from our partners about your Diversity, Equity and Inclusion plans. We want to learn from your ideas, directions and work, as well as listen to your concerns. Please sign up for a session when the invitation is sent.
The Maddox Charitable Fund’s mission is only possible with strong nonprofit partners. We’re thankful for your companionship on the road ahead.
Please join us by following this link and add your voice by submitting a public comment to protect our water before April 15.
Middle Tennessee’s waterways are plentiful and diverse. We depend on our rivers and streams for drinking water, commercial navigation, recreation and the rich array of plants and animals that give our region its character and make it our home. The Maddox Charitable Fund is opposed to any changes to the Clean Water Act or to definitions of “waters of the United States” that would remove existing protections of major waterways, their tributaries, adjacent wetlands and ephemeral streams.
Public Charge is Detrimental to Educational Success
As an education funder committed to improving the futures of marginalized students, the Maddox Charitable Fund joins foundations across the nation to express our profound concern over the “public charge” overhaul that would significantly change immigration policy. The proposed rule consideration would erode the resilience of working families while straining schools, nonprofits and other community institutions.