Fundraising

Principles of Fundraising

In order to make Black Land Ownership happen we are coming to the community for help. We will be crowd-sourcing most of our donations and looking to raise money via private donors, friends, family, organizations, government grants and institutions. We expect the majority of our donations to come from individuals that support the vision and may not have large sums to contribute but are fervent and excited about our goals. We stand by principles of transparency and accountability.

If you are interested in donating and would like the tax credit, please email info@blacklandownership.com.

Structure of Fundraising

We have developed three ways that people can support our fundraising drives:
1. The general fund.
2. The 40 acre Fundraising Drive
3. The Conservation Fund

1. General fund

This is a general fundraising initiative that is ongoing and allows us to utilize donations at our discretion in the following areas—administrative costs, legal costs, paying researchers/consultants/contractors, and general expenditures that keep the doors open and the lights on at Black Land Ownership. The funds can also be directed by us to specific initiatives that serve the mission of BLO. None of the donations will be spent on anything other than BLO activities and costs. 

2. The 40 Acre Fundraising Drive

Five years ago, the founders of Black Land Ownership started a community organization in Brooklyn (Gamba) with the intent of providing a platform for underrepresented creatives and performers. We wanted to create a space where muted voices were amplified and people were encouraged to share their boundless, authentic creative passion—whether it be oriented to art, literature, academia, education or political activism.

Now, it’s time to expand the vision, and we would like to buy rural land outside of NYC. After renting three different spaces in the past four years we have realized how difficult it is to sustain communities like ours due to exorbitant rents, unsupportive landlords and the continuous buying and selling of space in NYC. The only way to have longevity and a sustained presence is if we own the land and buildings.

It’s important to mention that during this ongoing pandemic, community art spaces all over the nation are closing because rents are literally unsustainable, artists have not received a lot of government support and the people that run indie creative spaces have not been given much emergency financial assistance. We want our 40 acres.
HOW MUCH MONEY
We are working to raise $250,000 dollars in order to buy an undeveloped property outright or put a substantial down payment on land that already has houses or buildings. Properties in upstate NY within a two hour drive of NYC a 40 acre partially cleared undeveloped property can run 200K - 250K (on the low end) and can run 400k or more if there is a turnkey house on the property. 
WHAT WE WILL DO WITH THE LAND/PROPERTY
Once we own the property we would like to be able to offer opportunities like conferences, yoga retreats, field trips for youth and other gatherings at little or no cost to the public because we don’t have a hefty rent or mortgage to sustain. The possibilities with this much acreage are boundless and allow us to engage in endeavors as large as starting an education center rooted in Pan-African philosophy and geared around anti-racist and anti-colonialist theory, historical accuracy and indigenous health.

Ideas that we are considering for the 40 acre initiative:
• A yearly outdoor music festival
• Artists residency programs, an apiary
• Small level sustainable farming
• Sculpture park (think of Storm king)
• Reintroduction to wilderness survival training
• Self-defense for women/marginalized groups
• Rites of passage weekends for young people

Our work does not stop with this 40 acres; it merely starts here and we are asking for your help to reverse the narrative and the data so that in 2030 the visual data looks different.

Buying this land allows us to continue supporting the community while also building an autonomous, sustainable space that can grow with us and we will not be at the mercy of market rents, landlords selling or such an extreme profit motif. It will allow us to provide a home base and model for black land ownership; a hub for research, gatherings, exploration, networking, community problem solving and a think tank away from the hustle and bustle of the city, yet still accessible.

The Black Land Ownership Conservation Fund (BLOCF)

The BLOCF aims to raise funds in order to purchase land for conservation purposes, ensuring that it cannot be developed and that the wildlife (flora and fauna) can exist unencumbered and protected in perpetuity. The BLOCF is dedicated to conservation, environmental protection, stewardship and preservation. Essentially, BLOCF works to promote the condition of the land's natural state rather than the exploitation that very often comes with land use. Our goal is to raise $50,000 to go towards the purchase of various properties that are wetlands protected, wildlife refuges or conservation easements and cannot be turned into residential, industrial or major commercial endeavors.

The BLOCF purposefully shifts focus from having to extract resources from the land or "using" the land in a colonial sense to working with the land; recognizing the harmony and synergy between people & land and doing what is best for the land to remain natural and pristine for generations to come.

Often, when we discuss Black Land Ownership’s general mission with people, the first few questions tend to be—What kind of business will you run?, What kind of farm are you going to start? Or, how large of an artist collective are you going to create? From there, the discussion quickly moves towards the more colonial concept of—How will you exploit or use the land in a way that is monetarily beneficial to you, your donors and your investors? After a number of these conversations, we started to get frustrated with the idea of having to “use” land or “do” something with the land like it is a disposable object. This frustration sparked our interest in preservation and the question: How do we purchase land and ensure that it will continue to exist in its natural state, providing a home for various flora and fauna unobstructed by human development? How do we make “use” of land that is not normally seen as economically viable due to easements, wetlands, isolation, distance from major hubs, topography or etc? How do we live and work with the land in a manner more aligned with indigenous and native practices? These questions and more led us to develop the BLOCF.

For every hundred dollars that you donate, you save the equivalent of 12.5 trees! 

How is this related to Black Land Ownership’s mission?

A number of our organizational interests at Black Land Ownership are oriented to farming, agriculture, education, sustainable development, and projects that involve use of the land in a way that's non-exploitative and considerate of the environmental impact. However, many of our projects still require buildings, septic systems, wells and a use of the property in a way that would augment its natural development. In our research we have realized that not only should we purchase lands for use (residential or commercial) but we should also learn how to use the power of ownership to protect and preserve nature and ensure future generation's access to natural environments. This led us down the path of how to work with easements, land trust groups and other forest management/ecological preservation and conservation groups. We would like to align with organizations that have experience in conservation and work to open that space up to more folks of African descent and build awareness and appreciation in the African American community.

What can we do with the land if we can’t "use it"?

We will be able to walk the land, give nature tours, hike/camp, create a sculpture park, acclimate folks with the outdoors, learn about flora and fauna germane to New York State as well as foster interest in environmental justice and land stewardship. All of our programs will be available to people of all identities with a concentration on marginalized communities and folks of African descent.

Below are some ideas for activities at the conservation property.

Sculpture park
We would like to create a sculpture park made with all organic materials—stone and wood monoliths, microliths, sculptures that incorporate the sun, wind, seasons, and natural processes that utilize gravity and inclines and work with the forested areas of the property. This project will allow us to:
• Get to know the land and the resources it holds
• Promote creative endeavors that aim to sustain natural environments
• Connect with the community by offering and explorative experience in nature
• Support independent artists who may not get the chance to work in such a vast and natural environment  
Hiking and Camping for folks who feel less protected in state parks or common lands 
There are numerous people who feel unsafe camping and hiking on public lands due to the history of racial violence in rural areas. We want our land to be a safe space for folks who would like to experience the great outdoors without the threat of harassment, intimidation and overt racism.

All of the money goes specifically to this fundraising initiative and will not be used for any other endeavors.