Build Black Houston

This Build Black Houston website was created to help build power for Black-led organizations in the greater Houston area. Our vision is a Houston community where Black-led organizations are valued, encouraged, and supported with the resources required to maximize success.

Why is this needed?

Structural barriers and racism often compel Black leaders to found their own organizations to address unmet community needs. Black-led startup organizations (0-5 years old) begin with little or no operational funding and typically struggle to survive. Legacy Black-led organizations (>5 years) have valuable experience and history, but they also struggle with securing sustainable funding and planning for leadership succession.

Black-led organizations are called upon to meet a broad range of community needs and expand their services in response, causing them to be overstretched. Meanwhile, funding structures do not adequately support Black-led organizations, and philanthropy has created harm by breaking promises and creating hurdles to funding. Black-led organizations are forced to “just get by” and are not resourced for stability. They struggle with siloed and rigid foundation funding that is built around a culture of exclusivity. Philanthropy needs to do more to support Black-led organizations, address the harms they have caused, work towards healing, and support wellness and stability for Black leaders.

Build Black Houston Landscape Study: What We’re Learning

We recently surveyed Houston area organizations and funders, in addition to conducting focus groups and interviews.

91% of the organizations we surveyed were founded by Black people

More than 90% of the organizations said they are fulfilling complex or challenging needs for their clients. This is consistent with what we hear from folks in Black-led organizations.

“I have always sought to create programs that involve African Americans in Houston. I was born and raised in Houston and the well-being of African Americans in the city is always a part of my consciousness.”

Making a Way Out of No Way



“Sometimes I feel like I have 50,000 needs that my organization needs to address on any given day, and we’re only getting funding for one of them.”

“I want to be resourced with buy-in with more thoughtful processes instead of reactionary changes and results. Less band aids and more root causes addressed.”

We heard Houston’s Black–led organizations describing similar struggle

Of the organizations we surveyed:

BLO Struggles

We also surveyed and talked to foundations to gather insights about what they fund.