Race Forward and Amalgamated Foundation Partner on "New Communities First" Initiative

Helen Chin to Lead the New Initiative as Senior Fellow

May 18, 2021, New York, NY—Race Forward and Amalgamated Foundation are pleased to announce a joint Senior Fellowship for Helen Chin. As Senior Fellow, Helen will launch Communities First, an initiative to center the wisdom of communities in reimaging and building the infrastructure our country needs to allow everyone to thrive.

Communities First will leverage the combined expertise, deep understanding of how communities of color, systems, governance, and capital operate, and the broad and rich relationships among these actors to reorient public resources and private capital towards effectively supporting underinvested communities and advancing their visions for thriving neighborhoods.  By  aligning these groups around a set of shared values and commitments we can change the landscape of racial inequity and create a world where race no longer determines life outcomes. 

“We are delighted to have Helen working with us to shift practice so communities are at the center,” stated Glenn Harris, President of Race Forward and Publisher of Colorlines. “From the work we do with local jurisdictions through our Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE), we know change is most impactful when it centers and is driven by community. Helen brings a rich background working with communities, both inside the US and internationally, that will help to ensure a just, inclusive, multiracial democracy.”

“Amalgamated Foundation is thrilled to partner with Helen Chin and Race Forward to launch the Communities First Initiative,” said Anna Fink, Executive Director of the Amalgamated Foundation. “The opportunity to move resources to local communities with a clear equity lens is of crucial importance and Helen’s distinguished reputation and proven track record of action provide the leadership needed to meet the moment.”  

Prior to joining Race Forward, Helen worked at the Surdna Foundation for 13 years as Program Director and as Program Office for Sustainable Environments, leading the program’s work to develop and support people of color and low-wealth communities in promoting infrastructure development to achieve racial equity, and economic, environmental and climate justice. 

Her previous experience includes leading initiatives on land use planning and transportation to advance sustainability at WE ACT for Environmental Justice, serving as Acting Deputy Director at the International Fund for Animal Welfare in Yarmouthport, MA, where she managed a grant portfolio that designed and supported programs to provide Indigenous communities with the skills and resources needed to preserve and protect natural resources and wildlife habitat in over 15 countries. She has also spent a significant amount of time in Africa, Asia, and India, working directly with communities.

Learn more about Communities First.


About Race Forward:
Race Forward catalyzes movement building for racial justice. In partnership with communities, organizations, and sectors, we bring systemic analysis and innovative approaches to complex race issues to build strategies and help people take effective action to advance racial justice in our policies, institutions, and culture.

About Amalgamated Foundation:
Amalgamated Foundation is redefining philanthropy by empowering activism and harnessing generosity to support social change.  We forge connections and collaboration between funders and movements at the frontlines of social change. The Amalgamated Foundation’s values and vision builds upon the legacy of the Amalgamated Bank, a 100-year old financial institution built by textile workers fighting to improve labor rights and the lives of local communities.