ABFE: A Philanthropic Partnership for Black Communities Announces 2023 James A. Joseph Lecture & Award Emerging Leader

ABFE: A Philanthropic Partnership for Black Communities Announces 2023 James A. Joseph Lecture & Award Emerging Leader

ABFE Philanthropic Emerging Leader Award was established in 2002 to recognize and encourage the accomplishments and contributions of dynamic game-changers on the rise who have served as staff, donors, and trustees in the philanthropic sector.



Matthew L. Evans


ABFE is proud to announce that the 2023 Emerging Leader Award goes to Matthew L. Evans, the United Philanthropy Forum’s Senior Director of Public Policy. This honor, which is part of the James A. Joseph Lecture and Awards annual event, was created to recognize philanthropic all-stars who are poised to do even more important work in the coming years.


“I am deeply humbled and honored to have been selected as ABFE’s 2023 Emerging Leader. Since I began my work in the philanthropic sector, ABFE has been my place of refuge, support, motivation, and solidarity. It has been a place where I have always felt seen, valued, and encouraged to keep doing the work that I do,” says Evans of the honor.


“To be recognized by this integral organization, its leadership, and its members, is confirmation that this work is not in vain,” he continues. “I will use this honor as a catalyst to work even harder, using my voice, position, and influence to achieve meaningful policy solutions for Black communities and communities of color across this country.”

Evans earned this award with his 15 years of public policy, government relations, and external affairs experience. Under Evans’s guidance, the Forum led a powerful charge to make the Census more equitable, an effort that resulted in a partnership with the White House to advance the issue in Congress. Evans approaches advocacy through a racial equity lens and has expanded the Forum’s national efforts to focus on creating strong, vibrant, equitable communities. Thanks to Evans and the Forum team, the organization is now poised to lead philanthropy as an ally to uplift disparities in maternal health, criminal justice, and climate change.


Evans previously served as the Director of Public Policy and Special Projects at the Southeastern Council on Foundations and he currently serves as the Board of Directors Vice Chair for Nonprofit VOTE, an organization that helps nonprofits do nonpartisan voter engagement work. His degree from Tennessee State University makes him a proud member of the HBCU family.


“We are so thrilled to have Matthew L. Evans as our 2023 Emerging Leader. He is consistent, progressive, and comprehensive in his leadership and advocacy of our people and this sector. Matthew’s influence has already born fruit with the policy and advocacy work he is doing on behalf of our sector, and we know that his continued innovation will take him far,” says ABFE President and CEO, Susan Taylor Batten.


The 32nd Annual James A. Joseph Lecture and Awards will take place on April 14th in Raleigh, North Carolina during Harambee, the largest convening of Black philanthropic professionals. Virtual tickets–which provide access to the JJL Lecture and Awards ceremony, panels, workshops, and discussions–are still available. Reserve your ticket today