This post is part of a special series by Rosetta Thurman entitled “28 Days of Black Nonprofit Leaders.” In honor of Black History Month, Rosetta will be “highlighting 28 Black nonprofit leaders who have done or are doing their part to make our world a bit better, a bit more hopeful for the generations that will come.”

In her introduction to the series on her blog, Rosetta writes, “I love Black History Month because it reminds me of how far we still have to go in this country in terms of race relations and giving everyone a fair chance to take part in the “American Dream.” How far we still have to go before Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream of social justice and economic opportunity for everyone will be realized. Fortunately, there are countless leaders out there who are continuing to address so many aspects of social change.” The SSIR is proud to publish some of their stories.

image If you run in social justice philanthropy circles, you’ve probably heard of Erica Hunt, President of the Twenty-First Century Foundation in New York. What you may NOT know is that Erica Hunt is also a marvelous poet.  A woman after my own English major, free verse-loving heart.

From the Twenty-First Century Foundation website:

Erica Hunt, a leading expert on Black social justice and economic issues, was a Senior Program Officer with the New World Foundation, before joining 21CF in 1998 where she has led new work in the field of Black philanthropy. During her tenure, 21CF has sought to strengthen Black giving and community-based philanthropy through donor education; grant making through donor-advised funds and special national initiatives; and applied research to document trends in Black philanthropy and community impact. Under her supervision, 21CF has grown from an all volunteer organization, to a premier national $8 million public foundation. Hunt holds a B.A. in Literature from San Francisco State University, and is a past Fellow in the Duke University/University of Cape Town Center for Leadership and Public Values. She currently serves as a participant to Diversity and Effectiveness in Philanthropy; the International Working Group on Philanthropy for Social Justice and Peace; and Rye Collaborative National Progressive Foundations. Her past professional leadership affiliations include: the New York Regional Association of Grantmakers; National Center for Black Philanthropy, and the Coalition for New Philanthropy. Hunt, a published author of numerous articles and essays on Black philanthropy, was the 2008 recipient of Spelman College’s award for National Community Service.

From the Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing at the University of Pennsylvania:

Erica Hunt works at the forefront of experimental poetry and poetics, critical race theory, and feminist aesthetics. She has written three books of poetry: Arcade, with artist Alison Saar, Piece Logic, and Local History (Roof Books, 1993). Her published and forthcoming essays include “Notes for an Oppositional Poetics” (The Politics of Poetic Form,, ed. Charles Bernstein), “Parabolay” (Boundary 2), and “Roots of the Black Avant Garde” (Tripwire, forthcoming). Hunt’s poems can be found in Moving Borders: Three Decades of Innovative Writing by Women (ed. Mary Margaret Sloan), Iowa Poetry Review, and the Virago Anthology of Women’s Love Poetry. Hunt has also worked as a housing organizer, radio producer, poetry teacher, and program officer for a social justice campaign. She is currently president of The Twenty-First Century Foundation which supports organizations addressing root causes of social injustice impacting the Black community.

See also: A complete audio archive of Erica Hunt reading her poetry hosted on the PennSound website

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