The Black Opportunity Fund acknowledges the ongoing harmful legacies settler colonialism, racism, White supremacy, and racial capitalism have on Black communities; works to address these inequities and injustices, and to fund a strategic agenda that meets immediate and ongoing needs of Black students, faculty, and staff.
The UW created the Black Opportunity Fund in 2020 after months of Black student led organizing and activism across campus and in the greater Seattle area following another wave of murders of Black people (George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Nina Pop) primarily at the hands of law enforcement. Continuing a long history of justice work on UW’s campus, the Black Student Union, along with representatives from other Black orgs like the African Student Association, presented a list of demands to UW leadership, one of which includes a fund to support Black RSO’s. The BOF is an extension of this demand, and is also a result of many conversations Black students and faculty had with university leadership regarding how to create a more sustaining space on campus for Black students, faculty, and staff. The Black Opportunity Fund is run through the Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity. We share this fund with you as a way to continue sustaining the lives, creativity, and brilliance of Black students, faculty, and staff.
BOF recognizes this work takes place on Coast Salish homelands, and understands the separate and connected histories and ongoing legacies of land theft, genocide, and enslavement. We are committed to honoring the peoples and lands of this place as we consider funding proposals.
The Black Opportunity Fund areas of focus:
Educational enhancement is the broadest of the three categories as it can encompass items as common as laptop replacement, educational support tools or tutors. We recognize that the spectrum of needs and potential experiences that might enhance one’s educational experience is broad and ever evolving. The purpose of the Black Opportunity Fund is to bring resources to those needs and experiences that may elude students for financial reasons and students who have been marginalized and traditionally locked out of opportunities that will enhance their educational experience. The fund seeks to support the potential success of each Black student by providing a cone of support for achievement. These are not scholarship funds and are not awarded based on academic merit or achievement. Rather, we recognize what could be standing between your goals as a student could be a functioning laptop, or the ability to expand your global perspective with a visit to the Motherland. Additionally, student groups may want to develop a speaker series or bring a major speaker on campus for group educational enhancement.
Students and faculty are often engaged in community projects. But often these projects can only develop as far as resources go to support them. If you have been or want to be involved in a community-based project that both enhances your education and instruction, and is an asset to the community in solving complex, and or simple issues, we want to help!
Often, students and faculty come across opportunities that will help them bring an idea to fruition, or that encourages them to explore solutions to common problems. But these opportunities often have barriers –resources. The Black Opportunity Fund seeks to encourage students and faculty to lean into these opportunities with the confidence that needed resources are available to you. If you could cover your expenses not covered by an intern stipend to join a tech team developing new software for differently abled people. Or maybe travel to attend a major conference in your field that would bring you one step closer to completing your research. Whatever it is that requires you to stretch and apply your innovation, we want to fill the gap that gets you closer to that goal.
Tell us how your project, either in process or proposed, will benefit the community or your educational growth, and let us help you succeed.
In these complex times, communities are seeking solutions to myriad challenges – from urban design, to safe harbor. We know our Black University of Washington student, staff, and faculty community are some of the most well-equipped to help move us toward realistic community solutions. Removing the barrier of funding and resources is embedded in our mission at the Black Opportunity Fund.
Proposals may be submitted for up to $10,000. Proposals in excess of the amount will be considered on a case by case basis.
Eligibility, Funding, and Reporting
- Proposals are accepted from students, faculty, and staff at the University of Washington Seattle.
- Projects must be completed by December 31, 2023. Projects that request completion dates after, will be given special consideration.
- Recipients will submit a project/activity summary within 60 days of the project/activity conclusion that 1) lists/shows activities supported, 2) evaluates project/activity outcomes, and 3) accounts for project funds.
Application opens: December 2022
Application closes: January 17, 2023
Award notifications: End of February 2023
Award disbursed: March 2023
Each UW campus has set up their own individual funds that are intended to serve the unique needs that students/faculty/staff on respective campuses may have. For more information about the Black Opportunity Funds for UW Bothell and UW Tacoma, please contact those campuses directly.
UW Bothell: For more information about the UW Bothell Black Opportunity Fund visit https://www.uwb.edu/diversity/scholarships/black-opportunity-scholarship
UW Tacoma: Administration of applications to the UW Tacoma Black Opportunity Fund are managed by the Center for Equity & Inclusion. https://www.tacoma.uw.edu/Blackopportunityfund | | firstname.lastname@example.org| (253) 692-4744
This will depend on the number of applications received and the dollar amount requested on each application.
No, applications will be reviewed based on the dollar amount requested and the proposed project.
In most cases students will receive a direct payment. In general, staff and faculty will receive funds through a budget transfer (preferably to a 64-budget number)
This question is applicable to all.
Yes, there will be a call for proposals during the 2022-2023 academic year.
Yes, we encourage award recipients to submit their project summary as soon as possible following project completion.
Yes, two or more people can be on an application for one project.
Some examples of inaugural awards can be found here in this online story about the fund, however, some other examples are listed below.
- Educational Enhancement
- Pandemic Preparedness-Pipelines for Future Rapid Response: funds to purchase a computer to handle designing proteins. Will lead project to generate rapidly scalable, safe and effective treatments for pathogens using computationally-designed proteins.
- Black Community
- UW Seattle Black Student Union applied for funds to host a community-oriented speaker series and to create a space where Blackness is recognized and validated. This speaker series might cover a broad variety of topics including socioeconomic justice and abolition, environmental and healthcare disparities, allyship, and the impacts of Black culture. Providing a variety of voices and expert perspectives enriches the learning experience and builds stronger communities.
- Innovation / Stretch Projects
- Wellness for the People Podcast: mental health focused podcast centered on Black student experience, experts, and wellness exercises. Addresses lack of Black psychologist/therapists on campus.
- Gardening Under a Microscope: A collaboration project with Basilica Bio and Black Star Farmers to transform the Garfield Community Center Garden into an organic food hub for the local community and a series of interactive educational presentations on historical policies, environmental hazards, and solutions. This project links community-based education, mentorship, and meaningful action in the community in an innovative and original way.
Questions may be emailed to BOFUWS@UW.edu.
There will be a number of Black Opportunity Fund information sessions to learn more about the fund and the application and awards process. Registration required. Stay tuned for future sessions before the next cycle of application in late 2023.
Applications will be reviewed by the Black Opportunity Fund Committee, which is comprised of University of Washington Seattle students, staff, and faculty. Proposals will be judged on their alignment with amplifying and elevating Black experiences and communities.
A strong proposal will include projects relating to Educational Enhancement, Black Community, and/or Innovation/Stretch Projects.
- Please provide a description of the project or how funds will be utilized. If selected, this may be used for promotional purposes. [Max 250 words]
- Please provide a statement of how the project or activity will work toward the goals of amplifying and elevating Black experiences and communities. [Max 250 words]
- Please share how this award will enhance your immediate educational needs. [Max 250 words]
- Please provide a detailed budget proposal with a description of any matching funds and/or any additional funds supporting this project.