A group of people standing and sitting at tables, talking to one another.

Recap: Black Justice Fund's Network and Nurture

HealthSpark Foundation hosted our second annual Network and Nurture event, which blooms out of the Dr. Frank E. Boston Black Justice Fund (BJF) on February 29th. Black leaders, organizations, community advocates, and allies gathered together for an evening of inspiration, rejuvenation, and connection. 

The event was hosted at Theatre Horizon in the heart of Norristown and made for a comforting and engaging space. Guests spent the beginning of the evening networking with one another, meeting both familiar and new faces. The main program took place in Theatre Horizon’s classic auditorium style theatre:

  • We kicked off with welcome remarks by HealthSpark’s President and CEO Emma Hertz, who reminded us that the BJF’s core mission is to addresses the historical exclusion of Black leaders and Black community-serving organizations from tackling the challenges and opportunities facing Montgomery County residents.
  • After, three Black Justice Fund grantees shared how their organization missions are progressing:
    • Angelique Hinton, Executive Director of PA Youth Vote shared that the organization is continuing to engage Black and Brown youth in civic engagement and the power of voting. 
    • Kareese Foster, Executive Director of MADE shared how learning trade skills and financial literacy can deeply empower Black men and youth.
    • Nicole Jones, Executive Director of Girls First shared how social-emotional learning through the arts with a trauma-informed lens can provide meaningful opportunities for Black girls to thrive. 
  • Our BJF Community Action Team members then facilitated a mini grant info session on the fund background, eligibility requirements, application questions, and scoring rubric. 
  • Following, Stefanie Simpson So’Journey provided a moving poetry performance. Stefanie is a mental health activist, whose poetry explores the intersection of mental health and the Black experience.
  • Next, Denise Williams, Founder and Executive Director of BeRezilient, Healing Through the Arts, and Dr. Bernadine Eyo Akhonai, Founder and CEO for the Coalition for Racial Equity and Social Justice came together to talk about the importance of partnership for collective liberation. The conversation was moderated by Lindsay Kijewski, Director of the Nonprofit Repositioning Fund.
  • Finally, Shaykh Anwar Muhammad, Owner of the Black Reserve Bookstore and President of Ambler NAACP encouraged us to continue connecting with one another, and reminded us of the power and goodness that could lead to doing so.

The entire event made for a memorable one. We are grateful to our hosts at Theatre Horizon and Flavaz for catering. We are also grateful to our Community Action Team members and our board members for their continued support in growing the impact of the Dr. Frank E. Boston Black Justice Fund. 

The BJF is now accepting applications till March 21st, 2024.