Jackie Copeland Talks Black Philanthropy, Plans Post COVID-19

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Jackie Bouvier Copeland

Jackie Bouvier Copeland is the Founder and CEO of The Women Invested to Save Earth (WISE) Fund, an innovation enterprise, supporting grassroots Black and Indigenous women climate change innovators in Africa, Brazil, Australia and the USA. Also the Founder of an impactful movement tagged, Black Philanthropy Month, a global campaign to document, celebrate and promote African-descent giving, social investment and venture funding. Trained as an anthropologist and urban designer, her life mission is to promote the wellness and rights of humanity and the planet that we all share.

Speaking on what inspired her to set up Black Philanthropy Month she shared, ‘ I have been exposed to the generosity of Black communities all my life, growing up in Philadelphia; studying and working in Nigeria in my early career; and then working throughout the world, including the Black Diaspora in many African and other countries. Giving time, talent and treasure is a strong dynamic of our cultures. I lived in the Minnesota Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul for many years and although the Black community there is small, in the early 2000s it was the most ethnically diverse Black metro region with more Somalis, Kenyans and Liberians than anywhere else in the US. I formed a coalition of diverse Black women, including African-Americans, Afro-Latinix, African and African-Caribbean immigrants to support each others giving and community leadership. In fact, available research shows that US Black communities give about $11 billion a year and the highest percentage of their income in philanthropy. I want African-descent and all people to know that we are a philanthropic people. I want Black people to marshall the resources to address our communities’ challenges; and promote a culture of giving that supports innovative people and organizations that can save the world. I want our giving to be a tool of economic empowerment and hope that allies of all backgrounds can join us to rebuild society for social, racial and environmental justice. I am inspired by the hope that we can leave the world better for my daughter and all our children.

For her, Black Philanthropy is an ancient culture of giving that adapts to the times but always encourages the creative use of time, talent, treasure and voice for the greater good of the community, society and the planet. It recognizes that society is not sustainable unless it is built on the interconnections between people and nature that makes life possible for all.

Speaking on COVID-19 and what she is prospective about she mentions, ‘ We would seek, fund and highlight innovative nonprofits and businesses to rebuild our communities post-Covid. If not us, who? And we must use our voice to advocate for expanded private funding and hold the corporate and foundation sector accountable. In my travels, I have been struck by environmental decline and how hard it has impacted Black and Indigneous communities, especially women. Even though Covid-19 is having a disproportionately negative impact on Black communities, I want people of African-descent to remember that our giving, advocacy and self-help has changed the course of our history and can do it again. The specifically high tech, immersive Summit and year-round events are designed to infuse our community and allies with a palpable, visceral sense of community connection, hope and a future that we can co-create, despite the social isolation, despair and anxiety of the times.’

Jackie is also trained as a cultural anthropologist and an urban designer specializing in Africa, South Asia and Diasporas. A Pan-African perspective informs everything she does.