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Strengthening Black Families


Over the past two years POISE has conducted national and local research.  Compelling data points emerged that suggested a new grantmaking direction focused on building and strengthening Black families.

POISE accepts the challenge to re-assert the family as a core institution in the re-development of Pittsburgh’s Black community. Building on its history, The Foundation will invest and encourage other private and public investments to that end.  POISE Foundation believes that strengthening families will ultimately strengthen and sustain a higher quality of life in the communities where these families live.

Strengthening Black Families is the POISE Foundation’s new grantmaking strategy designed to accomplish this vision.   Its approaches are based upon-a set of basic beliefs that it holds about the Black family in Pittsburgh; a set of priorities for strengthening Black families in Pittsburgh, and critical decisions about how the Foundation’s grantmaking will change as it takes on this important work.

What POISE Understands About the Black Family

  • Operating definitions of family from the Black perspective are flexible and inclusive. Black families are comprised of many types of relationships with blood ties being only one of the meaningful definitions of family.
  • The structure of Black families in the US today remains linked to our distant past- our African roots- and to our recent past-policies and practices linked to segregation/integration/access to opportunity.
  • The Black family and its network(s) are the first teachers as well as the first responders for its members.
  • Black families can become strong as they become full participants in processes of community betterment.

POISE Priorities in Strengthening Black Families in Pittsburgh

  • Community Learning and Dialogue – Establishing Operating Definitions for the ‘Black Family’
  • Understanding Policies that Disproportionately Impact Pittsburgh’s Black Families- Building Policy Knowledge, Capacity and Advocacy as it relates to policies impacting Black families in Pittsburgh 
  • Shifting the Mindsets of Field Leaders Regarding the Black Family – Building Knowledge and Capacity of Local Leaders to better Support and Engage with Black families in Pittsburgh  
  • Promoting Positive Family Interaction- Providing opportunities and allocated venues for families to engage, exchange, learn and know one another  

POISE is actively pursuing strategic partnerships that will help the foundation to embark upon this strengthening Black families initiative in an informed and effective manner. In the coming months, POISE will continue to engage with community leaders, local and national philanthropic organizations, scholars and practitioners as part of the Foundation’s learning and planning process.

POISE is currently investigating ways to evaluate and assess progress of these early shifts in strategy.  As decisions are made, the Foundation will share these tools with community partners.

Initial grant investments from the strengthening Black families strategies will begin in Fall 2013.  For more information about the Strengthening Black Families initiative, please contact Karris Jackson at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Strengthening Black Families - List of Resources

Coming Soon!