ASCEND BLO: An Accelerator , An Experience, A Family

Over the past 6 months we have had the joy of participating in the East Bay Community Foundation’s (EBCF) ASCEND:BLO Accelerator program. The BLO Accelerator was designed in order to create a well of resources and networks, to support Black-led organizations across the Bay Area to achieve their visions of justice, while also daring them to dream bigger and bolder.  In this space, we have worked closely with four other Black-led Organizations; Hidden Genius Project, Roots Community Health Clinic, Community Housing Development Corporation (CHDC) of Richmond, and African American Arts and Culture Complex (AAACC) of San Francisco. While geographical lines separated our organizations physically– the clarity and severity of our visions brought us all together to form a long term bond and solidarity that will go beyond our short time together.

Being a part of a cohort of organizations dedicated to transforming the lives of Black folks through varying avenues; from the arts, housing, and health, to technology and community organizing– has been a transformative experience. Not only have we been able to build long lasting connections with the brilliant people who run and represent  these organizations, we also had the opportunity to dream together. Through the cohort , we worked to develop and problem solve through bold ideas that each of our organizations had. We had the privilege of working with the most talented, warm, REAL, and skilled Black consultants which made the experience that much more fruitful. Each organization also  had access to individual and team coaching from these consultants organization which continues to be a big support for the overall work.  The accelerator served as an incubator of our bold idea , and allowed us to have access to resources and technical assistance that would support us in creating a following through with our ideas. For BOP, we boldly claimed the opening of our first chapter in the Antioch/Pittsburg area. As we lean into 2019 we are ready to take on this opportunity to support our people where they are at.

The BLO accelerator was the first of it’s kind and was successful!  This Black learning community should serve as model in which supporters and ally-funders can look to  , when creating a space designed to support the most impacted communities first. EBCF made sure to get it right, with community at the center, and spirit in mind. We are thankful to be a part of this network and are excited to continue to build relationships with all we’ve met in the space.