The 2020 Clara Lionel Foundation Annual Report

2020 was a year like none other. A year that, in many ways, continues to shape everything we do, everything we see and hear, and every action we take. 

Most years, we use our annual report as an opportunity to pause and reflect on all that we accomplished. But how do we take stock of a crisis when we are still in the thick of it? How do we measure success when so many continue to suffer? How does one look ahead when our systems continue to fail Black and Brown communities every day?

So, even though the theme of uncertainty threatens to define the many months ahead, we at CLF are determined to keep moving forward with both urgency and hopefulness. Despite the fact that the COVID-19 global pandemic is far from over—and decades of progress in nearly every social sector remain at risk because of it—we know there is light at the end of this tunnel.

Which is why we are and will continue to be relentless in our pursuit to shift inaction to action, oppression to agency, injustice to justice.

Thanks to the incredible organizations, partners and communities we work with, everything we accomplished together in 2020 is just the beginning.

Justine Lucas
Executive Director

Robyn “Rihanna” Fenty

invested across climate resilience, education, racial justice and COVID-19 response efforts

supported and elevated

Afghanistan • Algeria • AnguillaAntigua and Barbuda • Bangladesh • BarbadosBelizeBritish Virgin Islands • Burkina Faso • Cameroon • Central African Republic • Cote d'Ivoire • Democratic Republic of Congo • DominicaDominican RepublicThe Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis • Greece • GrenadaHaiti • India • Kenya • Malawi • Mali • Mexico • Montserrat • Navajo Nation • Pakistan • Puerto RicoPanamaSaint LuciaSaint Vincent and the Grenadines • Sierra Leone • South Africa • Syria • Tanzania • United States • Venezuela • Yemen

To Fight
Racial Inequity


For Mental Health Services


For Education and Employment

For Housing and Shelter

In Cash Assistance

For Voter Advocacy AND Community Organizing

For Emergency Response and Preparedness

For Police Reform

For legal support

Provided with access to health services and equipment

Children and young adults given access to education

Students Provided with Access to Technology

ready to tackle a year of well-laid plans spanning our core pillars of climate resilience and emergency response, education and legacy programs. We hit the ground running to advance our clinic hardening programs in Belize and the Dominican Republic. We initiated multiple communications assessments to determine gaps and opportunities for building integrated emergency response strategies across the Caribbean. And we recommitted to our work in Malawi, continuing our multiple years of on-the-ground programs supporting girls’ education.

Climate Resilience and 
Emergency Preparedness




Dominican Republic

Spotlight On:

Communications and Access to Health in the Caribbean

CLF’s Climate Resilience Initiative (CRI) invests in multiple dimensions of emergency preparedness and scaling solutions across three key pillars: access to shelter, health and communications. In 2020, we began working with partners to assess information ecosystems and technology in Barbados and Dominica in order to recommend methods to strengthen emergency communications across the region.

We also supported infrastructure and operational preparedness at health clinics in Belize and the Dominican Republic with the International Planned Parenthood Federation-Western Hemisphere and Engineers Without Borders-USA. And we're working with these organizations, along with the Belize Family Life Association and the Profamilia, on the creation of a resilience toolkit that can be distributed to health clinics seeking to bolster their emergency preparedness and response strategies.

Education in the Caribbean and Sub-Saharan Africa

United States




Spotlight On:

Girls’ Education and Entrepreneurship in Malawi

CLF, in partnership with the Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED), has taken a 360-degree approach to transforming the impact of our education programs. Through strategic grantmaking, we're helping provide new pathways for young women and girls in Malawi and elsewhere to thrive. Our scholarship programs are increasing the number of girls accessing quality education while professional development, HIV-tester and COVID-19 response training programs are enabling students to transition from secondary school towards higher education or successful careers.

Exacerbated by the impact of racial, social and health disparities, communities of color, low-income households, LGBTQIA+ youth, at-risk students out of school, refugees, the incarcerated and many others found themselves at the epicenter of a public health emergency.

we moved quickly to leverage $36 million to support mental health services, food access and distribution, economic assistance and health equity efforts for those hardest hit in the early days of the crisis.

Greater Chicago Food Depository

The COVID-19 crisis left millions of Americans facing food insecurity for the first time. In many areas, there was already a lack of consistent access to adequate, nutritious food. In June, CLF partnered with the Greater Chicago Food Depository to significantly increase the organization’s capacity to provide access to food for those facing food insecurity. By creating new pop-up food distribution centers in communities lacking permanent access to pantries and increasing its financial support to existing food pantry partners within its network, the Greater Chicago Food Depository is ending hunger for thousands of children, older adults and families in neighborhoods across Chicago.

Barbados Response

During the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, CLF quickly worked in tandem with the Government of Barbados to procure 30 life-saving ventilators for Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH). The donation of ventilators is only one piece of CLF’s long standing support of QEH, the Foundation’s inaugural partner. Continuing the foundation’s support in Barbados, when the pandemic forced school closures, CLF distributed 4,000 tablets to students who did not have access to remote learning technology in partnership with the Ministry of Education.

Newark Emergency Services for Families

For more than 40 years, Newark Emergency Services for Families (NESF) had been providing individuals and families in Essex County, New Jersey with assistance ranging from emergency food, clothing, shelter, rent and utilities support, as well as mental health services. During the pandemic, the demand for these services, and more, significantly increased, especially for unhoused, low-income and senior citizen populations. At a time when the state’s infection rates were near all-time highs, CLF stepped in to help NESF adjust and expand its menu of services to support the health and livelihoods of its community members.

Movement for Black Lives

Following the murder of George Floyd, CLF provided funding to the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) to expand its operational capacity in pursuit of a shared vision and agenda to win rights, recognition and resources for all Black people. We are proud to support M4BL’s policy, advocacy, grantmaking, capacity- and movement-building efforts at a time when their work is more critical than ever.

Covenant House New Orleans

Covenant House is one of the most well-known and trusted crisis care centers in New Orleans. Runaway, unhoused, trafficked and at-risk youth and children depend on Covenant House New Orleans not only for food, shelter, security and support services, but also love, safety and respect. During the height of the pandemic, more young people sought support from Covenant House New Orleans than ever before. With help from our partnership, the organization managed to remain continuously open throughout the crisis, and did so in a way that ensured the safety of its residents while providing them with comprehensive care and support.

Freedom House Detroit

For asylum-seekers living in the United States, when disaster such as a global health crisis hits, the few resources and services typically available to sustain and support them become even fewer. An event like the pandemic has the potential to forever dash the dreams for security, safety and freedom for hundreds of survivors of persecution from around the world. Our support helped ensure Freedom House remained one of the few shelters in Detroit that was able to keep its doors open to new clients throughout the year and beyond.


More than 15 years ago, Hurricane Katrina wiped out nearly 2,000 lives because of racism, apathy and a broken emergency response system.

Live telecasts and racially biased reporting on the disaster inflicted wounds into our collective memory that have yet to heal.

Today, people of color, marginalized populations

and those living in poverty

bear the brunt of 

climate change,
health inequities,
economic disparities,
the pandemic,

no matter where in the world they live.

Access to health, housing, education, economic opportunity and a safe future are basic human rights. These rights are continuously threatened by the connection between inequitable systems and climate change.

This is why we at CLF are determined to push forward with a greater sense of urgency than ever before.

This is about

Thank you to every person that gave to CLF at any level over the past year. We are grateful for every contribution.


Dick Clark Productions
Fenty Maison
Fenty Beauty
Goldman Sachs
Jack Dorsey
Jairus Byrd & Family
Joseph Marchese
Open Society Foundations
Savage X Fenty

Sean Michael Anderson Foundation
Shawn Carter Foundation
Silicon Valley Community Foundation
Sony Music Group
Stadler Family Charitable Foundation
Start Small LLC
The Cara Delevingne Foundation
The David Rockefeller Fund

The Giving Back Fund, Inc.
Universal Music Group

*$10K and above as of December 31, 2020