We had the good fortune of connecting with Fatima M. Smith and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Fatima M., what do you attribute your success to?
Collective 365 is a network of individuals who want to celebrate and invest in Black and Brown communities through grant making and capacity building. Collective 365 was launched in July 2020 and as a new organization, there was concern that folks who would be hesitant to invest in a new organization. The senseless killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and many Black and Brown individuals; a global pandemic; and the climate crisis created a heightened desire to advocate for change. The latter were important in Collective 365’s initial success. Collective 365 provided many individuals, who were tired of investing in institutions that upheld white supremacy and were anti-Black, an opportunity to invest in a Black & Brown led organization that was reiminaging philanthropy by allowing Black and Brown folks to be the decision makers and thought leaders of their community.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Centering community leaders to create change, the Collective provides unrestricted grants for individuals, business owners, and nonprofits focused on improving education, eliminating health disparities, addressing social injustices and workforce development in Black & Brown communities. “Community leaders – whether they are entrepreneurs or activists – are experts on the needs of their communities. Time and time again, we’ve witnessed leaders of color create innovative solutions for complex problems. What has been missing is adequate resources and access to funding. Through grants and capacity building, the Collective aims to eliminate gaps in resources in efforts to serve, grow and gather Black and Brown communities. ” said Allison Gilbreath, Board President. Our first grant cycle opened February 1, 2021 and closed on March 1, 2021. We received over 200 applications (online, phone, & video submissions). As the founder, I have been inspired and energized by the grant applicants. Receiving the grant applications was affirmation that there are dope Black and Brown individuals and groups who are doing amazing things without traditional funding support and with the support of Collective 365 they can do even more! Collective 365 plans to expand our reach along the east coast and eventually become a national funding source in the next 5 years. The challenges we face right now, are just not having enough grant funding to support all the wonderful applicants. We are encouraged by the community members who join Collective 365 to ensure we have $35,000 in grant funding for the 2022 grant cycle.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
We are not based in Miami.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Collective 365 would not be able to offer $17,500 in grant funding if it were not for the 150+ individuals across the country who invested their time, talent, treasure, and testimony. The commitment of our Board of Directors, Allison Gilbreath, Bianca Myrick, Amanda Thompson, Felicia Baez, Jenaé Harrington, Ryan Gilbreath, Ashley Gaddy, Lisa Hicks, & Abbey Philips, has been critical to our success.