We are hugely excited to launch THE BELAFONTE FAMILY FOUNDATION (BFF), a public foundation with an innovative approach to creating access and opportunity for disenfranchised youth across racial, gender, and economic lines, offering progressive programming and resources with a demand for diversity, equity, and inclusion.
As a family having spent a lifetime serving others, The Belafonte Family Foundation begins with a multi-generational approach to philanthropy having multiple pillars in areas that are critical to a young person’s development and success. Pillars that are diverse but not unrelated.
While the penultimate goal of a global, harmonious co-existence should be pursued, a massive, imbalanced playing field exists where education, opportunity, health and well being are seemingly inaccessible to a massive swath of our youth. BFF looks to do its utmost to level that field, create that access, and offer pathways forward to a better life.
With an interest in the neglected category of high school students, the foundation will focus on full scholarships to private, academically renowned US high schools for the full four years. The foundation will provide annual scholarships to a select group of young, deserving high school students based on a combination of educational merit and economic need. Scholarship candidates will be drawn from the schools pool of ninth grade applicants that also meet the foundation’s educational, economic, and diversity criteria. Minority students, high achievers, and low income will be our primary focus for the recipients. Additionally, the foundation will offer similar scholarships to colleges, elementary and middle schools, as well as other types of institutions.
In keeping with the multi-generational approach, the foundation is developing programs to further elevate the human condition, focusing on our commitment to support equality, fight social injustices and create opportunities for the world’s systemically disenfranchised.
We are creating programs that focus on social justice, wrongful incarceration, sex trafficking, healthcare, and programs that offer opportunities for people to become self-sufficient, start their own businesses, and develop entrepreneurship.
Grants will be an important part of the foundation’s initial work. The foundation intends to award grants to other existing 501(c)(3)'s within the foundation’s tri-generational focus areas of social justice, education, the arts, disabilities, equality, the environment, and programs that enlighten.
The foundation expects to identify possible grant recipients using the knowledge and expertise of its directors, officers, advisers and founding circle members. Any such grants and scholarships must advance the foundation’s mission and be in accordance with best practices.
BRIGHT ROAD FARMS
Bright Road Farms (BRF) is a new type of urban indoor farming initiative that will grow and supply locally grown greens and herbs to businesses, residents, and those in need in underserved communities and food deserts via a state-of-the-art training curriculum and mobile, vertical production farms.
Belafonte Family Foundation is designing a distributed farming network in cooperation with Freight Farms, Inc. to deliver access to fresh food and increased food supply, building a sustainable way for people to grow food year-round in ANY climate ANYWHERE. The Bright Road Container Farm initiative will allow us to provide the infrastructure, training, and support needed to be successful in these sustainable and scalable growing projects.
BRIGHT ROAD MARTIAL ARTS SCHOLARSHIPS
In a world that is, for many, a gauntlet of seemingly insurmountable challenges, finding a baseline of stability is a critical piece of a young person’s healthy development. In keeping with BFF’s red thread of health and wellness throughout its programs, the Bright Road Martial Arts Scholarship will sponsor qualifying at-risk-youth in martial arts training programs across multiple disciplines, partnered with renowned academies and instructors.
Commitment to a martial arts discipline can be a life changing experience that, when practiced at the highest level, becomes an integral lifestyle component… self discovery, self control, self respect, rules of engagement, and team oriented training. Martial arts requires that you push your limits resulting in great self discovery, increased focus on inner being and synchronization of the mind a body…
“As a family we have spent a lifetime serving others. The Belafonte Family Foundation begins with multi-generational approach to collaborating with those who we have served in the past, present, and hope to serve in the future, ensuring that the legacy continues paying it forward for generations to come.
In keeping with a legacy steeped in decades of civil activism started by artist/humanitarian Harry Belafonte, the foundation will support institutions and create programs that enlighten, fight prejudice, and foster peace both in the world and within one’s self. To help steer people away from the misconception that nothing can be done... to transition from feeling HELPLESS to being HELPFUL.”
- David Belafonte, Co-Founder, Executive Director
“What my father-in-law has achieved is nothing less than astonishing. But sadly the work is far from done. Having been so fortunate to follow along in the shadows of this amazing man, it is paramount that we use the precious present to continue his legacy. And we need to diversify the reach by including our children, and build on what we have all fought for to achieve a better world. We need to heal the divide: racially, socio-economically, gender and sexual orientation-wise, environmentally, and politically. We need to fix this mess and that can only be done generationally. Coming together for the goal of healing and thinking forward by using lessons from the past, actions from the present in order to change the future. It is time to shift the paradigm while being kind to one another.”
Malena Belafonte, Co-Founder