In 2013, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation spun off BMe Community, an innovative Black leadership network. Since then, its members have created hundreds of award-winning social impact programs, achieved extraordinary policy breakthroughs, and are leading a paradigm shift in philanthropy’s approach to equity.
On July 1, 2023, BMe Community will celebrate its 10th anniversary by launching the “Build More Equity” tour to teach its high-impact paradigm shift, called “Asset-Framing®,” to more foundations and social impact leaders.
Asset-Framing is a cognitive science-based approach to building equity that focuses on defining people by their aspirations and contributions before noting and addressing their challenges. The impact of this approach, along with the achievements of BMe members is prompting leaders to reassess their approach to equity-building.
“Learning about Asset-Framing is like discovering that you’ve been trying to walk up the down escalator,” says Blue Meridian Partners’ Chief Investment Officer, Jim Shelton.
The Black leaders in BMe Community have:
- Changed the Florida constitution in 2018 to allow 1.4 million formerly imprisoned people to vote thanks to the Florida Restoration Rights Coalition, led by Nobel Peace Prize nominee Desmond Meade.
- Financed over $500 million in property loans in low-to-moderate income Black communities in Boston, Miami, and LA through OneUnited Bank, co-owned and led by Teri Williams.
- Exposed $156 billion artificial devaluation of property in Black neighborhoods across America through the research of Dr. Andre Perry at the Brookings Institution, which informs the Biden Administration’s wealth gap strategy.
- Purchased Pensole Lewis College in Detroit and partnered with DSW, Versace, Jimmy Choo, General Motors, the Toronto Raptors, Detroit Pistons and others to make it the premier HBCU for careers in the product creation industries. All led by legendary footwear designer Dr. D’Wayne Edwards.
During a National Public Radio interview, On Being host Krista Tippet called, Asset-Framing “A cognitive skill for magnifying humanity that is necessary for all healing and building.”
“It’s the best equity training I’ve ever experienced,” says Interfaith American founder Eboo Patel.
The Build More Equity tour not only educates leaders on Asset-Framing but also aims to generate funds for BMe’s Black and multiracial Leadership Community Programs. Penn State University’s 10-year impact study revealed that BMe provided initial funding to 66% of the supported Black-led initiatives, which in turn attracted investments 54 times larger than BMe’s $10,000 angel grants.
Eighty-five percent of leaders in these programs say they are “incredibly effective at building trust” and 100% collaborate with each other thereafter.
The 2023 Skillman BMe Vanguard and BMe Vanguard programs are funded by Skillman Foundation, McKnight Foundation, Ballmer Group, and the NBA Foundation. These programs support unsung, proximate Black leaders who have dedicated their lives to helping others to live, own, vote and excel.
Founded by Trabian Shorters, Sarah Multidor and Benjamin Evans, BMe Community demonstrates how to build more equity, trust, collaboration, and impact without stigmatizing people. BMe encourages foundations, associations, and social impact leaders who want to have similar successes to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
BMe’s mission is to build more caring and prosperous communities, inspired by Black people. BMe is supported by your generous donations, and leading foundations including McKnight Foundation, Skillman Foundation, NBA Foundation, Ballmer Group, Langeloth Foundation, Knight Foundation, Chicago Beyond and TrabianShorters.com.
Written by Ken L. Porter who is the founder and Chief Storyteller at Porter Media Group (PMG Agency), an acclaimed social impact communications firm in Detroit, MI. He serves as the Executive Producer for Journey of Stories, an original film series by PMG highlighting the global Black narrative. Ken is a recipient of the Skillman BMe Vanguard Award and has been recognized as a Michigan Chronicle 40-Under-40 awardee.