Seattle’s Most Influential People 2019: Social Justice Fund Interim Program Director, Karen Toering

Toering's black-led Giving Project has raised more than $370,000 from 240 donors to boost black-led organizations

This article appears in print in the November 2019 issue, as part of the Most Influential People of the Year feature. Click here to subscribe.

As interim program director of the Social Justice Fund, Karen Toering has directed her many talents—as a grassroots organizer, cultural worker, and nonprofit arts and social justice consultant—into the black-led Giving Project. The project, the first of its kind in Seattle, is intended to boost black-led organizations that are working to build power and quality of life for black communities in the Pacific Northwest, and to redefine philanthropy for those with fewer funds to contribute. Toering’s team attended workshops and training sessions, discussed issues of race, class and philanthropy, and studied the mechanics of fundraising and grantmaking. By March, it had raised more than $370,000 from 240 donors and awarded two-year grants of about $21,000 to 14 black-led organizations.

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