Liberty Hill Foundation, L.A.’s leading social justice funding organization, has launched a new giving circle designed to fund organizations impacting the African American community.

Building Leaders and Cultivating Change Fund (B.L.A.C.C.), is one of several influential giving circles housed at Liberty Hill, and was launched Aug. 2, at the start of Black Philanthropy Month.

Black Philanthropy Month, held each August, was created in August 2011 by the Pan-African Women’s Philanthropy Network (formerly affiliated with African Women’s Development Fund USA) as an annual, global celebration of African-descent giving. It was recognized by the United Nations as part of its Declaration of 2011 as the International Year for People of African Descent.

Giving circles are groups of individuals who want to increase the impact of their philanthropic giving by pooling funds and targeting donations.

B.L.A.C.C. is an inter-generational giving circle, targeting professionals in Los Angeles who are both young and “young-at-heart” and dedicated to supporting organizations empowering the African American community through education, jobs and leadership development.

The mission of B.L.A.C.C. is to transform the Los Angeles African American community by harnessing the members’ collective giving power to support organizations working on the front lines of social justice.

“We are casting a wide net among L.A.’s professional network and want to make philanthropy accessible across income levels, and so that we are building community at the same time that we are building leaders and cultivating change” says co-chair Kaci Patterson.

Giving levels begin at $25 a year with no maximum. Contributors at $500 a year and above are given a vote in deciding which organizations receive a grant from B.LA.C.C.; and at $750 or more, contributors are invited to attend site visits and other special events. B.L.A.C.C. exceeded its fundraising goal on its first day, raising almost $14,000.

“All of us have benefited from philanthropy at some point in our lives,” Patterson says. “Whether it was through scholarships and grants to attend college, community organizations that provided free extracurricular programs and health screenings, churches that provided meals and free toys, or civic organizations that invested in building our capacity as leaders, philanthropy has played an important role in providing us opportunities to succeed. We have a responsibility to extend that same opportunity to others in our community and not wait for someone else to consider our well-being. That’s what motivated B.L.A.C.C.”

Involvement in Liberty Hill Foundation’s Uplifting Change initiative was among the inspirations for creating the B.L.A.C.C.

Uplifting Change connects local donor-activists and helps them leverage community assets to strengthen Black Los Angeles through philanthropic investment in grassroots community organizing.

For information about giving circles at Liberty Hill Foundation, contact Blanch Ross at bross@libertyhill.org. For more information about Black Philanthropy Month, go to: http://blackphilanthropymonth.com.