Black Philanthropy Initiative

The Black Philanthropy Initiative is a permanent endowment supported by African Americans to address relevant issues in Arizona's Black community.

Black Philanthropy Initiative group photo posing in front of Black Lives Matter Mural
2022 BPI members

Who we are

The Black Philanthropy Initiative started with a vision from the late Civil Rights Leader and Board member Jean Fairfax in 2008. Under the leadership of the Arizona Community Foundation staff, other Board members, and a dedicated task force comprised of respected African American leaders, BPI
was formed. 

The mission of BPI is to advance equity, leadership, and social justice for African Americans. Led by local volunteers, BPI is a movement and is comprised of charitable funds that engage African Americans and other interested Arizonans as active philanthropists to help achieve this mission.

Give to the Black Philanthropy Initiative

Community Impact

S.E.E. M.E. Program In Action

Owners of Your Favorite Things behind the counter in their Arizona Mills store.

Launched in July 2019

to raise visibility and opportunity.


cohort members.


month program.

Thanks to a $600,000 investment from USAA, the Arizona Community Foundation’s Black Philanthropy Initiative doubled the amount of grant dollars available to improve racial equity and address the employment, educational, and economic disparities experienced by communities of color. BPI’s Social Justice Fund began to work with local leaders to put those grant dollars to good use, and the Social and Economic Equity for Minority Enterprises program was born.

ARG Cultivators Community was selected to receive a $429,000 grant in support of its 18-month S.E.E. M.E. program, designed to raise visibility and opportunities for a cohort of 20 Black business owners from across the state.

The program consists of two different phases: first, the six-week business accelerator where the business owners engage in topics related to strategic development, risk management, budget and cash flow, banking and lending, and sales and marketing. Immediately following the accelerator, the cohort will move into the second phase of the program: plan execution. Business development bankers will provide feedback on the cohort’s business plans, strengthening participants’ portfolios and banking relationships. The program was intentionally designed to make cohort businesses lendable.

The S.E.E. M.E. program aims to remind corporations, lenders, and decisionmakers that just because Black-owned businesses are underrepresented, it does not mean they are underdeveloped. They need to be seen to have greater chances of success.

Micah Phillips and Kris Foster accomplished more than most of us over the past year, opening two upscale resale clothing stores with plans to open a third in December. Brothers and co-owners of Your Favorite Things, Micah and Kris spent years in corporate America before deciding to start a new retail business during last year’s global pandemic. From a warehouse district to Arizona Mills and soon to Scottsdale Fashion Square, Your Favorite Things leverages the growing market for resale fashion and is beating the odds to get closer to its customer base. They believe the program is a great opportunity to learn the essentials of running a business alongside fellow Black entrepreneurs.

While each cohort participant brings a different background and skill set, everyone is there to see and be seen— both by one another and by those whose investments could help them grow their already proven businesses.