In recent years, it has become commonplace to refer to donors of color as “new and emerging.” It suggests that a shift has occurred, or is occurring, in the philanthropy landscape, as if people not previously seen are suddenly appearing.
August was Black Philanthropy Month, a 7-year-old movement to recognize and celebrate centuries of generosity. It’s a key moment to explain why it’s time to refocus our thinking and remember that people of color have been giving for centuries; it’s just that many nonprofits have ignored this group for too long.
America’s anticipated transition to a majority-minority country over the next three decades means that such neglect cannot continue.
Something else is also at play that makes use of the label “new and emerging” harmful. The term threatens all genuine efforts to engage and connect with a rapidly changing society. The label obscures the very thing it purports to recognize.