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Black History Month: Black Future Co-op Fund

In celebration of Black History Month, we are hosting a series of profiles and stories to amplify and honor people, businesses, organizations, and events connected to the history of Seattle’s Black community.

Inspired by the racial justice uprising in June 2020, the Black Future Co-op fund was founded by four Black, female leaders with a vision for radical change to advance Black-led solutions that ignite generational wealth, health, and well-being for Black communities across the state. The Black Future Co-op Fund is a cooperative model of philanthropy that supports and celebrates Black genius, art, culture, and joy.

We recently connected with co-founder Andrea Caupain Sanderson to learn more about the Fund and how their work helps propel Black prosperity and well-being.

Can you tell me a bit about Black Future Co-op Fund and the services you provide?

The Black Future Co-op Fund was formed to recognize the powerful moment sparked by the murder of George Floyd and the opportunity for transformational change that followed. Its architects are four Black female leaders with long histories working to support the Black community across Washington state: Michelle Merriweather, president and CEO of Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle; Andrea Caupain Sanderson, CEO of Byrd Barr Place; Angela Jones, J.D., director of the Washington State Initiative at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; and T’wina Nobles, Washington state Senator, and president and CEO of Tacoma Urban League.

The Black Future Co-op Fund is a statewide, community-led philanthropy dedicated to investing in Black well-being, celebrating Black culture, and connecting Black communities across Washington in order to generate sustainable progress that propels Black prosperity for generations to come.

In addition to re-granting resources, the Fund will invest in technical assistance, “back-of-house” support, and administrative assistance to under-resourced nonprofit and community-based organizations that have long worked in support of the Black community to provide the infrastructure they need to sustain their critical efforts. It will invest in future generations of Black children born in Washington state—so that they may have an opportunity to not only survive but to thrive.

How have the events of the past two years impacted your work?

Given the increased moments of racial reckoning in America over the past two years, the Black Future Co-op Fund aims to be a collective hub for efforts to eradicate poverty, build generational wealth, preserve Black culture, and celebrate the incredible resilience of the Black community. It will uplift the Black community across Washington through intentional investments in areas such as health, housing, education, art, criminal justice reform, and civic engagement. The events of the past two years have encouraged us to double down on the need for this fund and to ensure pathways of hope and opportunities for our Black people.

Why is the work you do so important? What are you most proud of?

We are proud of our determination to create this fund to inspire increased investment in Black communities. This is important because we as Black people need to know that we are worth it. We are most proud of our audacity to change the philanthropic paradigm to ensure our stories are heard and that real action is taken in service to our communities across Washington State.

What are your hopes for the future of Black Future Co-op Fund, your community, and Seattle as a whole? 

Black people have always known what is needed in our communities. Across the 39 counties in Washington state, Black people — U.S. born, immigrants, and refugees — represent diverse backgrounds and experiences. Working cooperatively across the state, Black people and Black-led organizations claim a truthful narrative and create the path to generational prosperity. We know that when Black people heal and thrive, all people in Washington State will heal and thrive.

To learn more about Black Future Co-op Fund visit: