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Faithfully Podcast: Crowdfunding Site @HopeMob Relaunches to Support Leaders of Color

Revamped Nonprofit’s Director Leroy Barber Breaks Down New Vision to Serve Communities of Color

@HopeMob, the crowdfunding platform founded in 2012 by Black Lives Matter activist Shaun King and Chad Kellough, has re-emerged after a period of inactivity with a new director, who shared the nonprofit’s new mission in an appearance on Faithfully Podcast.

When King departed @HopeMob in 2014, the nonprofit’s advisory board sought the assistance of Pure Charity “to step in and help transition current initiatives into completed initiatives, as well as to envision a larger work for @HopeMob and its future,” the company explains on its website. Pure Charity assists nonprofits with fundraising and donor management, among other things.

While the nonprofit is still all about rallying the public to donate funds to causes they deem worthy, @HopeMob has chosen a very specific niche as its new focus.

“Over half, about 55 percent of nonprofit work is done in communities of color,” the Rev. Leroy Barber, @HopeMob’s new director, said during his appearance on Faithfully Podcast. He went on to cite reports from the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Nonprofit Quarterly that put non-white executive leadership at nonprofits at 7 percent and states that just 18 percent of nonprofit employees are people of color.  The reports also noted that more than 60 percent of nonprofits do work meant to benefit people of color, who account for about 38 percent of the U.S. population.

“So you go into a community, right, and this work that’s being done and the people receiving ‘the benefit’ of this work are people of color (and) most of the time, to the tune of 90 percent, don’t see themselves in leadership,” Barber added. “We think that that creates a disparity for people being ‘served.’ If they don’t see themselves in leadership, how is this organization and/or this work or this location — however you want to explain it — how is it ever a possibility for people of color to move into these spaces if they don’t see themselves? And it really becomes an injustice within this space of people trying to represent justice.”

“I’ve been in this for about 30 years and to watch a 30-year cycle of not seeing people of color arrive into leadership ranks, like we’ve got to figure that out,” Barber added. His work has been focused on “eradicating poverty, confronting homelessness, restoring local neighborhoods, (and) healing racism.”

@HopeMob’s solution is to exclusively crowdfund projects led by people color for people of color.

The re-branded website, which went live June 3 with its new mission, already has a handful of projects positioned for donations, including one focused on helping formerly incarcerated gang members in Chicago’s Humboldt Park and another for a youth mentorship program in Philadelphia.

In addition to Barber, an activist, author, pastor, and founder of The Voices Project, other board members include: his wife Donna Barber, Director of Champions Academy, Portland Leadership Foundation and Co-founder, The Voices Project; Mayra Macedo-Nolan, Director of Community Outreach Ministries, Lake Avenue Church; Alexie Torres-Fleming, Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships at The White House; Nate Ernsberger, Compassion International; Ken Wytsma, Lead Pastor, Antioch Church; President, Kilns College; Michael McBride, Director of Urban Strategies and Live Free campaign, PICO Network; Mark Reddy, Director, The Justice Conference; and Mike Rusch, CEO, Pure Charity.

In his May 27 discussion on Faithfully Podcast, Barber explained why @HopeMob is fully focused on resourcing otherwise overlooked leaders of color and whether projects led by white organizers would be considered for crowdfunding.

Listen to Faithfully Podcast episode 9 via SoundCloud.


Photo by Rocío Lara

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