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Tarik Ward

Stories of Brooklyn Giving

A crowd of people in a city.
Courtesy Jeremy Amar / Amar Productions (
A Black Lives Matter demonstration in downtown Brooklyn, 2020.

In the summer of 2020, our country faced a racial reckoning following the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police that was unlike anything we’ve seen in recent history. Our communities mourned deeply and were galvanized into action, both in the immediate and the long term – from demonstrating in the streets to mapping roads to achieve critical change. Tarik Ward, the Director of Music Programs for The ELMA Philanthropy Services, brought together his network with a vision of rallying resources for Black communities.

Together with his fellow alumni of the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Tarik compiled a list of over 200 Black-serving and Black-led organizations across the country to support. But even with this resource, questions remained. Tarik and his colleagues asked themselves, “How are people actually going to give to these places? What if we did it together? What if we gave people a vehicle that was easy, where they could give and then we could figure out the rest together?”

After some research, Tarik decided to open up a Donor Advised Fund with Brooklyn Org. “With our DAF, we want to give people in our networks the opportunity to invest wisely in Black lives – to see if we can find ways to put people’s giving and capital to work,” Tarik explained. “That’s really where the Donor Advised Fund idea came from, because it offered us a community solution to a community problem.”

Tarik sees the Stanford GSB Alumni for Black Lives Fund as a “ready-made vehicle” that helps make giving as easy as possible while also maximizing impact. The Fund provides an accessible tool where generosity isn’t impeded by a burdensome giving process, as Tarik shared: “This is a thing that anyone can do – as long as you’ve got a good sense of who’s in your community, and how you can best serve them, you can start a fund.” The fund is “kind of like a collection plate,” and allows for communities to pool resources to help others.

This is a thing that anyone can do – as long as you’ve got a good sense of who’s in your community, and how you can best serve them, you can start a fund. Tarik Ward, DAF Holder

After researching different ways to give, Tarik says that choosing to open a fund with Brooklyn Org was simple, as “it was a very flexible and easy to understand vehicle for collective giving and action.” Being a Brooklynite himself, he felt that a DAF with Brooklyn Org would impact the most people and advance racial justice most widely. “There are very few Donor Advised Fund programs that have annual fund fees this low, and even fewer still that reinvest those fees like BKO does through its grantmaking,” he explained. “When you start to actually invest real money into your DAF, you now are literally invested in that community.”

With this DAF, Tarik is confident that his alumni network’s giving will be more efficient and more meaningful than ever: “Now that this DAF exists and different alumni classes are starting to think amongst themselves about what they can do, we can offer our fund. It lowers barriers to entry.

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