Last Updated on August 1, 2022 by BVN

Amber Bolden |

The Black Voice News (BVN)’s Mapping Black California (MBC) is relaunching its website with a groundbreaking new data tool, Mapping Black California: Black-Led Organization (BLO) Directory

The first and only comprehensive statewide interactive map of Black-led organizations in California, the directory is MBC’s newest and most robust flagship project. It is also a response to existing data gaps within the Black community. 

Mapping Black California Logo

“For Black analysis, finding race disaggregated data is a greater challenge than your typical research project,” Alex Reed, MBC’s project manager and lead staffer, said. “This directory is the first step towards the centralized, complete resource on Black determinants California needs.”

“This project has been more than a year in the making,” Mapping Black California Founder Paulette Brown-Hinds said. “We couldn’t have done this without consistent and ongoing support from our partners.”

Technical support

Spearheaded by the MBC team, the BLO Directory will receive additional technical support from RomoGIS to expand its feature offerings. The directory has received funding support from Google News Initiative, The California Endowment, Inland Empire Community Foundation, and SoCalGas, which has been one of the project’s lead partners, encouraging its development and continuous expansion. 

“The mapping project gave us better insights into our giving and support in the Black community measured against data on population needs. It also created not only a database, but a geographical visual of Black-led nonprofits serving California,” SoCalGas Community Relations Director, Trisha Muse, said. “Elevating this work to help more Black-led nonprofits expand their service in the community is important to me personally, and to SoCalGas.”

(L) Candice Mays, Project Director and (R) Alex Reed, Project Manager of Mapping Black California

The BLO Directory uses GIS data, specifically Esri’s ArcGIS, Story Maps, and ArcGIS Hub, to support data visualization. It leverages and expands existing regional lists and databases to provide a more holistic view of the state’s organizations led by Black people developing solutions for Black communities. 

The interactive map allows users to apply multiple search filters based on their specific query including youth services, civic services, senior services, health services and more. 

Designed to be a living project, Reed and the MBC team consistently update the database to make sure that site users have the most accurate information available. Reed underscored the need to have access to complete datasets that substantively inform solutions to support MBC’s commitment to engineer solutions to fill the data gaps

The BLO Directory is the cornerstone project demonstrating BVN’s continued commitment to problem-solving using reliable data and community input. BVN is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. This type of longevity is rare for any publication and it is especially significant for the Black woman-owned media news outlet.

Amber Bolden's background includes program development, partnership development, journalism and workforce development. In her previous role, she co-created the CA Fwd Young Leaders Advisory Council and led CA Fwd’s Voices of Shared Prosperity series where she highlighted the diverse narratives of individuals who influence policy across California. She is an adjunct professor at the University of Redlands and a member of the Sankofa Birthworkers Collective of the Inland Empire. Amber is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She is deeply committed to the advancement and implementation of culturally conscious community-based solutions to help amplify the voices of historically marginalized people at the decision-making table.