By: Aph Ko
For Black History Month 2017, I decided to compile a list of a few Black vegan organizations, projects, and campaigns that you might want to consider donating to. Too often, we assume that the only currency we should offer to black folks is visibility and exposure. While that definitely helps, we also need real capital to develop our imaginations and ideas. On this list, I include a mix of organizations and campaigns that center on food justice, farming, art, book-writing, and even social projects.
Below are just a few projects that you might want to consider donating to this Black History Month. They are in no particular order. If you know of other organizations or campaigns that are seeking funding, please post their organization name and link in the comment section. You can also email blackvegansrock [at] gmail.com if you want your project to be featured on the website at a later date.
1. Maitu Foods and Grow Where You Are
Maitu Foods is a project created by JoVonna Johnson Cooke. Maitu Foods is a vegan meal delivery service and vegan nutrition education hub. Through MaituFoods, she is working to develop culturally appropriate and accessible educational materials that highlight the benefits of healthy nutrition through a vegan diet. Since 2008, MaituFoods has served more than 1,920 vegan school lunches to children and more than 1,000 vegan meals to families. The overall mission of MaituFoods is to honor the art of food rituals, and to serve humanity in a way that promotes the least harm and the most good for people, animals, and the environment.
With her husband Eugene Cook, JoVonna co-founded Grow Where You Are, an organization committed to increasing local food sovereignty by assisting individuals and communities in creating sustainable, plant-based local food systems. Grow Where You Are has transformed numerous urban spaces in disadvantaged neighborhoods in Atlanta by establishing community food gardens and vegetable farms.
MaituFoods and Grow Where You Are collectively invite folks to subscribe and donate. You will receive exclusive news, etc. from both organizations.
2. Olympia Auset's SÜPRMARKT
We were honored to feature Olympia on Black Vegans Rock, and we know that her project could use some financial support. SÜPRMARKT operates weekly, providing 100% organic produce and aims to make great health and healing available to the communities that need it the most. SÜPRMARKT is seeking support with getting the word out, building partnerships, and gaining the exposure needed to keep this great thing going. They know expense is a huge barrier in convincing people to eat healthy and they want to burst through that barrier. If you know of foundations or grants that would like to fund this project, send an email to: email@example.com.
3. Supriim Vegan
Nosisa Ndabandaba is a 19 year old vegan from South Africa. She is in the process of starting a vegan foods private company called Supriim Vegan that will be selling to retail stores across the country and eventually to other countries too. Her goal is to show that veganism is a lifestyle that should be adopted by anyone regardless of their skin color or financial means. She does not have an official company website as of yet because she is still in the early stages of the project.
The money will be used to lease a production facility, purchase capital and raw materials as well as for start-up costs e.g website etc.
She already won a competition that helped her kickstart her project. You can also email her if you want to discuss funding: firstname.lastname@example.org
4. Health Koncious
Chef Nicole Asali is a vegan chef in Oklahoma City and she owns a startup business called Health Koncious! Health Koncious is more of a movement that encourages the community to learn about plant based diets. They do free food demos at schools, grocery stores, Vo techs, they go to festivals all over Oklahoma as well as grocery store tours for families. Health Koncious was founded in May of 2016 and instantly grew. She is currently working towards a book that will be going through the editing process in 2017. It is a run down on the whole food plant based diet.
She is in need of $15,000 to support the startup funds for Health Koncious to publish The Millenials Guide to Plant-Based Diets. She also needs to manufacture her many specialty items: protein powders, dairy free cheese sauce, and seitan (faux chicken). She is currently in need of a commercialized kitchen with plenty of walk-in space to hold all of her meal prep orders as well as kitchen equipment.
Health Koncious is currently going through branding changes with plans to get into meal prep and manufacturing by 2018, and complete their mission of creating a plant based product that is affordable, accessible, and functional to hard working low-income families, because everyone deserves to be Health Koncious! Chef Asali is a single parent with an income of $15,000 annually. She knows that in order to get into the food industry legitimately you have to have a lot of capital, and that is currently her only hurdle. Her market is completely untapped in Oklahoma and she just needs a small financial push.
5. Vegan Society Uganda
Kyobe Ashiraf Kyeyago is the Founder of Vegan Society Uganda. He is trying to promote veganism in Uganda and he has a very detailed proposal requesting your financial support.
Kyobe Ashiraf Kyeyago works tirelessly to fight animal cruelty. Vegan Society Uganda is recognized as a community-based organization. It is non-profitable, non-political, non-sectarian and non-discriminatory. The secretariat of the organization is located in the republic of Uganda in Iganga Municipality, Iganga district. The goals of the project are to stop animal cruelty, increase animal welfare and open sanctuaries in Uganda and all over Africa, to reduce the consumption of animal products in Uganda and all over Africa, etc. If you are interested in looking at Kyobe Ashiraf Kyeyago's financial proposal, please email him at: email@example.com.
6. Three Twisted Vegans
Rhone't Jacobs owns a vegan business with her sisters Rhoni and Rhoneika. They are triplets in the Washington, D.C. area who plan to open up one of the first African American Fast Food Retro restaurants, While transitioning to the vegan lifestyle, they saw the HUGE deficit in vegan fast food and wanted to change that. After playing with some recipes they finally got it right and straight to the point which birthed 3 Twisted Vegans.
7. Delisile Godeffroy-Taylor
Seba Johnson is an African American Olympic athlete, actor, and vegan animal rights activist. She was the first black woman to ski at the Olympics, and the youngest alpine ski racer in Olympic history (she competed at age 14). She has also been vegan since birth.
Johnson retired from athletic competition in 1992 to pursue an education in fine arts at Howard University, and to educate youth about health and animal welfare. Johnson's skis are on display in the first exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Johnson is currently crowdfunding to complete her memoir. With your help, Seba can continue to tell her story.
9. Stop Stuff Institute
Seanne is the Founder of STOP STUFF, a social enterprise and the first clothing line developed to attack gun violence by supporting non-profits successfully fighting the fight on our behalf. She has partnered with non-profits with a local, national and global impact and is working closely with the Chicago City Treasurer's office. A 9/11 survivor, she is committed to saving lives, to recognizing the plight of the survivors of gun violence, an underserved and underrepresented group of living victims, and calling the passive participants to task a la Facebook and Twitter, who provide the modern day mechanics for gang rivalry and murder.
Seanne is also building STOP STUFF DAILY, a non-profit organization that will serve as an incubator for social entrepreneurs. She developed the organization to channel the energy of millennials, who she defines, not by age, but by a mindset that compels movement and represents the unwavering belief that we can, and will, change the world. The organization seeks innovators for social change, will provide guidance and support for development, launch and partnership with pioneering corporations and financiers.
10. pHirstBite Food Truck
Meagan Simone needs your assistance to reach as many young people as she can (On the "Bite-Mobile"Food Truck), to spread the good news about healthy eating and living habits. She hopes to inspire young people to grow their own gardens, prepare their own foods, and eat what nature has created, without any artificial preservatives, gmos, dyes, hormones, or additives. The money will be used to purchase a food truck, and to support the purchase of a foreclosed property for commercial kitchen use. She will need somewhere to store things and distribute food. Licensed kitchens require: Liability insurance, a business license, certified commercial equipment, and they must pass inspections for permits, etc. She also wants to rebuild her small garden and replace tools and equipment that were lost during the 2016 Baton Rouge, Louisiana Flood. Meagan will support youth entrepreneurship and purpose (culinary art) through the meaningful work of cultivating food, from the garden to the table. Youth will be able to do so much more in the community to help others, as a result of the stewardship. She plans on growing extremely passionate young people, who can be proud of creating something that so many others can enjoy...FOOD!!!!!
11. Malcolm Barnes - Vegan Social App
Malcolm is a vegan entrepreneur with a background in programming. He has been vegan for a full year now. He is interested in making an app that will help the vegan community find actual matches instead of the typical "one-night stand" mentality that tends to be associated with dating sites. He'll be able to make sure that this app will allow you find a lot of other vegans nearest to you.
App creation is expensive. Companies will charge $50k to $100k to make a simple app with a few simple features with a 2-3 person team, but it also costs $500k to $1,000,000 to make a more complicated and heavy features app like Tinder or Uber, etc.
So funding a project like this requires so much and it would be used for 12 straight weeks of building the most epic app ever. With the donations, Malcolm can hire other developers to help with the heavy workload of more complex features, a UI/UX designer, legal fees, and everything else that he'll need to make this app a reality.
Any donation over $100 is eligible for any business advertisement both on the app and site.
12. The Veggie Connection
Lateefah is the Founder of The Veggie Connection, which originated out of Atlanta, GA.
The Veggie Connection is a network event where attendees are exposed to a host of vegetarian/vegan vendors, speakers, entertainment, and more. The Veggie Connection aims to not only create awareness regarding the plant based lifestyle, but to ensure that it is accessible, enjoyable and sustainable for all who are on this journey towards wellness and abundance.
The Veggie Connection Event was created to fill the space where these sorts of events are not occurring. They feel that people shouldn't have to travel far just to experience an event of this nature that usually occurs in a major city.
Their events are based on a more intimate type setting. They like for their attendees to be able to take their time to talk and interact with each vendor, speaker, entertainer, and not be overcrowded. Attendees can relax and enjoy themselves in an air conditioned facility or in a park setting with blankets and tents.
he Veggie Connection Event provides people with helpful information through plant based, wellness options. They strive to make their events fun and inclusive, with all the diverse reasons in which people choose a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle.
13. Sea Sharp
SEA SHARP is a Pushcart Prize winner (2017), a Hammer and Tongue poetry slam finalist (Brighton, 2015/16), and a Prairie Seed Poetry Prize winner (2015/16). They are a Kansas State University graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Creative Writing and Literature and minor degrees in Theatre and also Women’s Studies. Sharp was the first poet featured on the Black Vegans Rock website (launched in 2016). They are passionate about intersectional veganism, black feminism, and other social movements that actively work towards empowering marginalised people, whilst dismantling oppression.
Sharp is Afro-Native American, LGBTQ+, a self-proclaimed “refugee of Kansas,” and also a naturalised British citizen who lives in East Sussex with their husband.
14. Pax Ahimsa Gethen
Pax Ahimsa Gethen is a queer black vegan activist, blogger, and photographer. Assigned female at birth, Pax legally and medically transitioned to male, but identifies as agender and uses gender-neutral pronouns (they/them/their).
In 2008, Pax launched an event photography business: Funcrunch Photo. Their specialty is performing arts, with a particular skill in low-light concert photography. In 2015 they shifted to a patron-based funding model, making all their new work freely available under Creative Commons licensing.
Pax blogs at The Funcrunch Files about gender and social justice issues, with a particular focus on cissexism (oppression of transgender and non-binary people) and speciesism (oppression of non-human animals).
15. Amie Breeze Harper, PhD
Amie Breeze Harper, PhD, the creator of The Sistah Vegan Project and the editor of the ground-breaking anthology, Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health, and Society, is a sought-after speaker, writer, researcher and consultant at Critical Diversity Solutions. Her most recently published book Scars: A Lesbian Experience in Rural White New England (Sense Publishers 2014) interrogates how systems of oppression and power impact the life of protagonist 18 year old Savannah Sales, the only Black teenager living in an all white and working class rural New England town. She is currently working on another book titled Recipes for Racial Tension Headaches: A Critical Race Feminist's Journey Through 'Post-Racial' USA's Ethical Foodscape.
Overall, Dr. Harper's work focuses on how systems of oppression-namely racist and normative whiteness-operate within the USA. She uses food culture within North America to explore these systems, using critical whiteness studies, decolonial theory, critical race feminism, critical animal studies, and critical food studies.
16. J. Bradley Project
In the summer of 2007, Jarvis Bradley was engaged in a casual conversation with a local school teacher in his community of Prince George's County, Maryland. He was totally amazed to learn that many of the children in his surrounding communities were homeless and didn't have back packs and school supplies at the beginning of the school year.
Compelled to help these students, Jarvis launched his very first back pack drive, "Operation Bac-Pac". Knowing absolutely nothing about fundraising, he simply asked family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers for donations and was blessed to collect enough money to purchase 30 back packs complete with all the supplies needed for deserving students.
Later the same year, Jarvis learned that these same students didn't have coats for the winter. Again, he leaned on the shoulders of those who helped him earlier that year and was successfully able to collect and donate more than 50 coats to deserving students.
Five years later, Jarvis decided to move forward with his philanthropy and start a non-profit to help not only the students in his current community but also the students in his hometown of Forrest City, Arkansas and eventually students all over America.
The J. Bradley Project is a nonprofit organization created to help children of less fortunate families prepared for the upcoming school year. They conduct three projects/fundraisers throughout the year to ensure students have the necessary supplies and equipment to succeed.
H.O.O.K.S (Helping Out Our Kids to Succeed) is our Back-Pack and School supply drive. N-T-N (No Thanks Necessary) is our coat drive. Live the DREAM Scholarships (LTD-S) is our scholarship program.
In an effort to create more funds for the N-T-N Coat Drive, last year Jarvis rode his bicycle 500 miles in the month of October and successfully collected $2300 in donation and over 100 coats. They believe their projects will increase the academic achievements and self-esteem of elementary school children of less fortunate families. They also believe that these projects will help clear the path to success for these students!
In addition to his own programs, Jarvis is also a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. where he is constantly supporting the community doing Adopt-A-Road, Teen Domestic Violence Conferences, Cancer Awareness, Purple Boot Initiative Mentor Programs, Voter's Registration Drive, and just being a good friend to whomever.
He is also a vegan and a huge advocate for fitness! For the past two years, he has posted every workout his has completed on Facebook (which is over 500 different workouts). When asked why, he says, "You lead by example. People are motivated when they see that you practice what you preach!"