Credit: Illustration by Chris Allen, VOICE

Breanna Reeves |

In honor of 80 years of giving, the Inland Empire Community Foundation (IECF) has launched a year-long celebration that emphasizes the importance of giving and expands their philanthropic efforts.

“Over the next 20 years, I want us to be the most trusted partner anyone could imagine if they have a vision for the future and if they want to find a way to make real change, anywhere in the Inland Empire,” said Michelle Decker, IECF President and CEO. 

As IECF commemorates their 80th anniversary, they announced eight IECF Signature Funds which seek to raise $80,000 each in order to support “several pressing needs” in the region while also building a culture of philanthropy in the Inland Empire. The Signature funds include Arts for the IE, the Women’s Giving Fund and the IE Black Equity Fund.

Members of the B.L.A.C.K. Collective, a recipient of an IECF’s grant, pose during an event (Image via IECF).

As August marks Black Business month and Black Philanthropy Month, the Foundation is highlighting the IE Black Equity Fund, an initiative that seeks to raise $5 million over the next two years. The funds will be used to support Black-led organizations in the Inland Empire through “core support, program and project support and capacity building.”

This year, 16 Black-led and supporting organizations received $740,000 in grant funds to support organizations as they work to increase capacity and “scale up.” Grantees include a wide variety of Black-led organizations including Starting Over Inc., Clay Counseling, Magdalena’s Daughters and IE Rebound. Individual grants ranged from $10,000 to $75,000.

“IECF’s 80th anniversary is truly a unique moment to bring the community together to celebrate and support what makes the Inland Empire so special,” said IECF Board Chair Dr. Paulette Brown-Hinds. “Looking at the next 80 years, we know the foundation and our generous donors will continue to impact this region to ensure a vibrant, fair, and shared future for all.”

Created by Charles Brouse in 1941, the Foundation was initially called The Riverside Foundation and sought to establish scholarships for Riverside City College students. Now, 80 years later, IECF is the oldest and largest community foundation in the region and has since expanded its reach to support community-centered organizations and nonprofit organizations. 

Participants gathered at an Inland Empire Black Worker Center (IEBWC) retreat. IEBWC received a grant from the Black Equity Fund through IECF (Image via IECF).

Today, ​​IECF manages assets of approximately $130 million across more than 317 funds. IECF supports communities and organizations throughout Riverside and San Bernardino Counties to extend its community impact.

“I hope that trust leads to the kinds of flexible dollars our nonprofits need, and the discretionary funding that will allow IECF to respond to what will continue to be an ever-changing landscape,” Decker said.

Breanna Reeves

Breanna Reeves is a reporter in Riverside, California, and uses data-driven reporting to cover issues that affect the lives of Black Californians. Breanna joins Black Voice News as a Report for America Corps member. Previously, Breanna reported on activism and social inequality in San Francisco and Los Angeles, her hometown. Breanna graduated from San Francisco State University with a bachelor’s degree in Print & Online Journalism. She received her master’s degree in Politics and Communication from the London School of Economics. Contact Breanna with tips, comments or concerns at or via twitter @_breereeves.