Civic Engagement, Investment Announcements

New Profit and Skoll Foundation Invest $1 Million in the Democracy Organization PushBlack

The largest nonpartisan and nonprofit media organization for Black Americans, PushBlack, plays a unique role in the fields of civic engagement, technology, and media. With its adaptive and data-driven model, PushBlack reaches over 9 million people.

September 16, 2020

New Profit, a national venture philanthropy organization, announced that it will partner with the Skoll Foundation to invest in PushBlack, the largest nonpartisan, nonprofit media organization for Black Americans. Together, New Profit and Skoll will provide $1 million in unrestricted funding and strategic advisory support over the next two years to democracy entrepreneurs Julian Walker and Eskedar Getahun as they and their team look to grow and deepen the organization’s impact. 

PushBlack envisions a world where millions of Black Americans are mobilized to take civic action and transform policy outcomes for their communities. To make this vision a reality, PushBlack engages more than 5.5 million subscribers and 9 million people across its platforms with authentic stories about Black history, culture, and current events, including civic engagement and criminal justice reform. The platform empowers subscribers to take real-world action. By sharing voting messages with friends, submitting their own salient stories, and forming movements to increase civic participation amongst Black Americans.

Yordanos Eyoel, a New Profit partner who leads the organization’s Civic Lab initiative, of which PushBlack was an inaugural member, will serve as an advisor to the PushBlack leadership team and as a member of PushBlack’s board. She said this of the new partnership: “Black Americans continue to face the brunt of systemic racism and structural power disenfranchisement in America. PushBlack has created a growing movement of engaged and empowered black Americans making significant strides towards building an inclusive democracy.  We are very excited to partner with the Skoll Foundation to continue to support PushBlack during this momentous time in our history.”

By leveraging technology and proven media platforms such as Facebook Messenger, Instagram, podcasts, and blogs and video series, PushBlack is able to reach subscribers across a majority of the country, with the greatest density along the East Coast, the South, and major cities in the Midwest, Southwest, and West Coast. Repeated engagement with their subscriber base allows PushBlack to build trusted, high-touch relationships with millions of voters during and between election years. 

Tim Carlberg, from the Skoll Foundation, added that “both New Profit and PushBlack share the Skoll Foundation’s belief in the power of storytelling to motivate change. We see this partnership as an exciting opportunity to learn how PushBlack is using relevant and trusted media content to inspire civic action – at the ballot box and beyond. We look forward to supporting PushBlack as they scale their efforts to educate and activate their community to create real and lasting change.”

In May, PushBlack launched the first season of its Black History Year podcast, which has been downloaded over 690K times. The seven-episode series connects listeners with Black thinkers and activists that have been left out of mainstream conversations. Within the first 24-hours, the podcast reached #1 in the Apple Podcast history category and #6 of all podcasts streaming on Apple. Spotify also recognized Black History Year as one of their top 20 podcasts of 2020. The second season is currently under development and PushBlack has plans to develop additional podcasts that explore high demand topics such as financial services and wellbeing and spirituality.

Interim Co-CEOs Julian Walker and Eskedar Getahun expressed, “PushBlack is thrilled to partner with New Profit and Skoll during what we see as one of the most critical times for organizing and action among our community, and of our generation. With the financial support and capacity building resources we will receive from this grant, PushBlack will be poised to both increase our reach and to deepen our impact and relationship with our subscribers.”

In addition to the unrestricted grant, New Profit will partner with PushBlack on leadership and board development, and strategic planning for growth and impact, among other areas.