Creative Activism: Driving Impact for the Black Community Through Grassroots Campaigns | Budgeting Brilliance (Campaigns ≤ $400,000) | Industry Insights | All MKC Content | ANA

Creative Activism: Driving Impact for the Black Community Through Grassroots Campaigns


With their two purpose-driven campaigns, Big Facts, Small Acts, and the Courageous Conversation Global Foundation (CCGF) showcased the influential role community organizations can play in addressing crucial issues, even when faced with financial constraints.

By employing research, forming strategic partnerships, and leveraging grassroots efforts, these entities tackled the distinctive challenges faced by Black Americans during the pandemic and in the context of racial bias in policing. Their endeavors stand as a testament to the transformative power of community organizations in addressing social issues effectively on a limited budget.

Championing causes that uplift and support marginalized communities isn't a feat reserved for brands with substantial financial resources. Through creativity, grassroots engagement, and strategic partnerships any organization can craft impactful purpose-driven campaigns on a limited budget.

CCGF illustrated how grassroots efforts can be meticulously crafted to support the Black community. Navigating the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and addressing racial bias within law enforcement, these organizations showcased the power of innovation and creativity in delivering impactful messages, even when resources are constrained.

Artful Activism: Transforming Murals to Transform Minds

Big Facts, Small Acts (BFSA) is a community organization dedicated to addressing the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Black and Latina communities in the United States. Founded by Sherri Day Scott, with an initial investment of her $600 stimulus check, the organization sought to encourage mask-wearing among Black and Brown communities. The challenge? This cohort, specifically Black men, had an ingrained resistance to mask wearing due to a fear of being profiled as a result of covering up.

Recognizing the need to engage this target in a way that differentiated from traditional news media, BFSA partnered with local street artists to transform their own iconic murals of Black icons, such as Martin Luther King Jr., Bob Marley, and Colin Kaepernick to promote mask-wearing by adding large removable vinyl masks and unique messages of survival and hope to their work.

The initiative was amplified by social media content featuring daily reminders to #CoverOurCommunity. The organization also sold and donated masks featuring messages such as "Just Trying to Stay Alive While Black."

BFSA's initiative became a national news story featured on Bloomberg, CNN, NPR and YouTube's Wear a Mask PSA. The organization's program was also recognized on Fast Company's 2021 List of World Changing Ideas. The campaign ultimately earned over 120 million impressions.

Shattering Illusions and Sparking Action Against Racial Bias in Policing

CCGF is dedicated to elevating racial consciousness through interracial dialogue. The organization provides racial equity workshops, training, coaching, and consulting services for millions of racial equity leaders around the world. Inspired by racial bias uncovered within the Austin Police Department, and the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor, the organization launched its "Not a Gun" and "Not a Crime" campaign. The objective of these campaigns was to increase demand for the organization's unconscious-bias and de-escalation training programs for police. These programs are aimed at combatting the racial biases leading to unjust police shootings.

CCGF's campaign targeted local generation Z and millennials who felt helpless in the face of racially bias police brutality. The organization moved to mobilize this cohort to create a grassroots movement that would encourage people to sign a CCGF petition for police training.

The organization's initiative was rooted in three critical insights:

  • Despite white men being twice as likely to carry a gun, Black men are three times more likely to be killed by police.
  • Police spend seven times more time on firearm training compared to de-escalation training, despite the latter reducing police killings by 25 percent.
  • While one out of 10 civilians experience fear-based visual inaccuracies, two out of three current or former police officers regularly experience fear based visual inaccuracies.

To drive awareness of these fear-based inaccuracies and its de-escalation program, CCGF released a short film featuring two white people purchasing a candy bar. The video than showed a Black man being profiled by police after purchasing the same candy bar, which was depicted as a gun.

The ad ended in a call-to-action to sign a petition encouraging police to utilize CCGF's unconscious-bias and de-escalation training by visiting After launching the short film, the organization conducted more test that found that subjects who regularly experienced fear-based visual inaccuracies were significantly more likely to think the Black man in the video was armed. This inspired 80 percent of this group to say they were likely to share the video online.

Despite budget constraints, the purpose-driven campaign led to a 900 percent increase in requests for CCGF's unconscious-bias and de-escalation training.

The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.

Dominick Fils-Aimé is a manager of editorial and content development at ANA.