BlackNorth Initiative

Message from our Chief Executive Officer

Message from our Chief Executive Officer December 19, 2023

Dear Supporters, Signatories, Partners, and Allies,

As we commemorate the third anniversary of the BlackNorth Initiative, I am immensely grateful and proud of what we have accomplished together. On behalf of our team, including our dedicated Board of Directors, committee members, partners, and volunteers, I extend my heartfelt thanks for your unwavering support and dedication to our mission of dismantling systemic anti-Black racism.

This year has been extraordinary, not only in our collective achievements but also in the recognition of our efforts. We are honoured to have been awarded the University of the West Indies Chancellor’s Award and the Canadian Psychological Association Humanitarian Award, acknowledgments that underscore the significance and impact of our work.

Amidst these recognitions, we have also achieved remarkable direct support and empowerment milestones. We successfully raised over $270,000 to assist African refugees in Toronto, providing them with much-needed aid and support. Secured $6.5 million for Black homeownership, a critical step toward economic empowerment and stability for Black families. Awarded over 6 scholarships to 35 students across the country, investing in the education and future of our young leaders.  Our programs have directly impacted over 850 members of the Black community in 2023, demonstrating the real-life effects of our initiatives on individuals and families.

The launch of BlackNorth Connect has been a pivotal development this year, offering a platform for early career opportunities, including internships, job postings, mentorships, and bursaries for post-secondary education. This initiative is playing a crucial role in empowering the next generation of Black leaders and professionals.

The establishment of the Alberta Chapter, a powerful assembly that unites influential organizations, allies, and leaders in our collective pursuit of combating anti-Black systemic barriers. This achievement exemplifies the synergy that arises when brilliant minds come together to drive meaningful change. As we look to the future, we are committed to continuing to expand and address barriers faced by Black Canadians throughout Canada.

We are equally excited about the introduction of the BlackNorth Black Entrepreneurship Growth and Innovation Network (B.E.G.I.N). This digital platform supports Black entrepreneurs with educational resources, funding directories, pro-bono services, and mentorship programs, aiding them in realizing their entrepreneurial aspirations. As we look to the future, we are excited about a series of upcoming events that promise to further our impact and outreach. The launch of our Nova Scotia and Quebec chapters will expand our presence and intensify our efforts in these regions. The BNI Career Fair is poised to provide vital networking and career development opportunities. We will also be celebrating our successes and the inspiring contributions of our community at the BNI Excellence Gala. Additionally, the BNI Golf Tournament promises to be a delightful event for fostering camaraderie and support among our partners and community members. These events, along with many others in the pipeline, represent our ongoing commitment to creating a society where equality and justice are not just ideals, but realities.

Regarding pledge progress in 2022, survey engagement improved with participation from larger companies increasing, with those having over 500 employees rising from 35% to 54%. The percentage of companies without any Black employees dropped from 17% to 6%. Black representation among companies with over 1,000 employees grew from approximately 2% to 4%. There was also progress at the first-line manager level, with companies having no Black representation decreasing from 45% to 30%, and those within the 1-4% target increasing from 13% to 41%.

In the spirit of Nelson Mandela’s belief in the power of collective effort, we continue to strive for meaningful change.

Your support and commitment are the foundation of our movement. As we move forward, let’s remain united in our mission, embodying a purpose-driven existence to shape a more equitable and just world.

Thank you for your partnership in this transformative journey.

With deepest appreciation and anticipation for the future,

Dahabo Ahmed-Omer
Chief Executive Officer
BlackNorth Initiative

Click here to view our BlackNorth Pulse Check Report.

Click here to view our BlackNorth Initiative Impact Report.