Damian Wilmot is on a mission. Just two weeks after the death of George Floyd and during the height of the pandemic, he picked up the phone and called a handful of other Black and Brown executives around Massachusetts.
Collectively, they launched the New Commonwealth Racial Equity and Social Justice Fund. Wilmot is the co-founder and chairman.
“We are really trying to do something different. The moonshot goal is to let’s dismantle systemic racism. And do that in these pillars, education, criminal justice reform, health equity and economic empowerment,” Wilmot said.
NCF provides funding, resources, and opportunities to Black, Brown and Latinx-led organizations. Since 2020 they’ve already raised more than $40 million.
“We have about 100 non-profit leaders in our portfolio. As of June, we have invested about $11 million,” NCF President Makeeba McCreary said.
The money deeply impacting programs like the Sportsman Tennis & Enrichment Center in Dorchester.
“Their gift allowed us to run our summer camp in our traditional format not worrying about who had to pay and provide scholarships so we cant be more grateful to the fund,” Sportsmen Tennis & Enrichment Center CEO Toni Wiley said.
They impact more than 3,000 kids a year, including 16-year-old John Dickens, who comes four days a week.
“It’s meant a lot to me and afforded me the opportunity to travel Florida and Washington D.C. and other places. It means a lot that they give me these opportunities to play,” Dickens said.
It’s not just about tennis at the facility. It’s really about the development of the whole child, and the New Commonwealth Fund helps support many of its programs.
“We’ve always had academics programs here the club was founded on the principles that we would use tennis to improve life opportunities and open doors of education all types of life experiences,” Wiley said.
For Dickens, this program is his second home and now has high hopes to play tennis at the collegiate level.
“Tennis is more than just competing but respect and integrity and showing who you are on and off the court,” Dickens said.
The team at New Commonwealth Fund is hard at work with goal of raising $100 million, all to be poured back into the communities that need it most.
“Let’s see if we can really make a dent into systemic issues that are uniquely impacting these communities that why we have the New Commonwealth Fund,” Wilmot said.
CBS Boston | Paul Burton
First published on February 21, 2023 / 7:30 PM
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