This is real allyship!
Lisa Snowden-McCray is the Black brilliance behind Baltimore’s free bi-weekly newspaper, The Baltimore Beat. According to Essence, creating a free newspaper for Black residents in Baltimore that was staffed by Black editors and writers has always been Snowden-McCray's dream. Once an editor for The Sun, her and Brandon Soderberg, who was an editor for Baltimore City Paper, attempted to get the ball rolling on the community-driven newspaper but experienced a setback in 2020 when a potential publisher pulled out.
Lawyer-activist Adam Holofcener met Snowden-McCray and became interested in the publication. After hearing her story, his family foundation, Lillian Holofcener Charitable Foundation, decided to do something that has yet to be done: donate $1 million dollars, almost all their earnings and assets. “I knew he was a nice guy. I didn’t know he had access to a million dollars. The money was a complete shock to me," Snowden-McCray said.
Although the foundation gives out grants often, Holofcener said this one in particular was a risky decision that required other family members' approval, but the selfless act was only right considering their gains came from the expense of Black Baltimore citizens. The foundation hopes other affluent organizations follow their lead. “It was very important that not only were we giving all the money away but that we were losing the money. It’s as important to disempower ourselves as it is to empower them," Holofcener said.
What was once considered a setback turned out to be a set up for a major comeback! The foundation had no stipulations on how the grant should be used, but they wanted to ensure the publication would be starting with everything it needed to be successful. The Black-led publication has put out ten issues and has the support of the community on their back.
Photo: Michael Theis/Chronicle of Philanthropy via AP/ WYPR