Amazing Start to the Black Resilience Fund

By Cameron Whitten

The Black Resilience Fund (BRF) has raised $500,000 and counting from over 6,500 donors in its first two weeks.

Cameron Whitten, former Q Center Executive Director and candidate for Metro Council District 5, started the fund on Cash App and Venmo on the morning of May 31, with the goal of providing an opportunity for allies to support the healing and resilience of Black people in the Portland community.

The next day, Whitten formally launched the Black Resilience Fund on GoFundMe and it raised more than $55,000 in a single day. The following day, community organizer and lifetime Portlander Salomé Chimuku joined the team as a Co-Founder of the emerging movement.

“Our country is grappling with a storm of emotions right now. Our systems are so broken. How do we even begin fixing them? To me, the answer is clear. We start by taking care of our neighbors,” says Whitten. “We’ve gotten responses from people we’ve helped who said things like, ‘holding that check in my hand is when I finally felt I could come up for air’.” To be living during the era of ‘I Can’t Breathe,’ and to hear that coming from someone we’ve directly helped–– I find that to be incredibly powerful.

This morning, Whitten posted to Facebook a list of successes the BRF has accomplished in two weeks’ time, including over 600 volunteers signed up and over 200 recipients interviewed and funded.

To date, over $108,000 has already been distributed to pay for immediate support, including warm meals, groceries, life emergencies, and unpaid bills. A breakdown of funds are posted on the GoFundMe and are updated on a daily basis.

“Receiving this money from this fund makes it so I don’t have to choose between paying my rent or attending my oldest son’s funeral service,” says BRF recipient Elontene. “I was the first person to hold him, and thanks to the BRF I can be the last person to hold him.”

The Black Resilience Fund has been active for two weeks, and Co-Founders Whitten and Chimuku have no intention of slowing down their efforts. Their current goal is to raise one million dollars in order to ensure that as many of the 3,400 Black Portlanders who have applied receive real and tangible support.

“We need healing. We need justice. And that requires action,” says Whitten.

NOTE: Updated funds raised to date are over $1.15 million and counting.

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