Representation and support matters both onstage and off and DeMilo Young, the founder and President of BIPOC Support Foundation has created a place for people to find the resources to make that happen. Young talks about how this foundation is open to support businesses and entrepreneurs and how the art world is a key part of helping to make change happen.
The BIPOC Support Foundation was created by Young to try to help create a better place for Black, Indigenous, and persons of color communities by tackling the racial, social, and economic barriers that can impede them. DeMilo is a driven entrepreneur, performer, activist, and mother who decided this was the time to make a difference to create a better future.
Young, along with a diverse and driven board of directors, says the aim is for the foundation to offer a variety of resources for businesses and individuals alike.
“Individuals can access our resources via our website BIPOCsupportfoundation.org. We have a Resource Hub for businesses and with our recent partnership with Score. We are able to provide business owners and entrepreneurs free access to experienced mentors. Business owners can apply for our emergency hardship grants through our website.”
A key demographic for the foundation are also arts organizations, both as businesses that are working hard to make their organizations more diverse and representative and also as tools to reach out and teach others. Currently, Moonlight Youth Theatre and New Village Arts are sponsors of the foundation’s book club. Young says it is important to bring literature, theatre, and the arts along with helping businesses as a part of your foundation’s mission.
“The core of our mission is to create long-term solutions for long-term issues through education, funding, and networking. It is always the right time to bring literature, theatre, and arts together. Systemic inequity exists in education, business, and entertainment. We cannot have conversations about one without speaking of the other. For instance, my children would go from feeling marginalized in the classroom, to feeling marginalized in rehearsals, to dealing with racism at work.
The theater has always held within its grasp the ability to entertain and teach in equal measure. They have the ability to shock, break norms, question every aspect of life and existence, and tear us apart only to put us back together again, a little better than we were. The strides we have seen our San Diego theaters make toward representation not only in casting but in chosen playwrights and hired crew is commendable. Moonlight Youth Theatre and New Village Arts are theatre companies that recognize the need to implement diversity, inclusion, and belonging in their everyday practices and interactions within the community. MYT and NVA are working hard to make changes within their organizations to combat systemic issues.”
The foundation is also providing resources for educators to help integrate and educate on this lasting change to help prepare the next generation to build a better tomorrow.
“They are putting their money where their mouth is – so to speak. BIPOC Support Foundation is also focused on making lasting change not only on minds but on the very future of our next generations. We want every child to see someone who looks like them in entertainment, law, and business, and knows that their aspirations are possibilities. We are providing educators (teachers, artistic directors of theatre companies, homeschooling parents) the tools and resources to integrate anti-racist policies, procedures, and texts into the classroom and their community.
Just as BIPOC individuals are feeling marginalized in the classroom and in the audition and rehearsal space, BIPOC businesses are experiencing marginalization in the entrepreneurial space. Data made public by the Federal Reserve shows a gap in the financing that White business owners receive compared to a BIPOC owned business. BIPOC received less funding, less often and at higher interest rates than their White counterparts.”
Young says the future that she dreams about and that the foundation is working towards in one where people have built successful, and long-lasting programs that usher in a change.
“Our goal is to provide funding and improve the success of 24 BIPOC-owned businesses in Southern California. My hope is that a year from now will show that we continued our focus on supporting our BIPOC business owners, youth, and women by providing funding, resources, and education.
In five years, our hope is to build successful programs that improve the lives of BIPOC youth, BIPOC business owners, and women entrepreneurs. We will have expanded our impactful programs to other areas of the United States because what we seek is transformative change.”
If you are interested in learning more about or supporting BIPOC Support Foundation you can find more information at www.bipocsupportfoundation.org.
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