Monday, August 18, 2014

“Philanthropy on the Vineyard 2014” Convenes Philanthropists, Executives and Thought Leaders

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Tonya Griffith, Wells Fargo (summit sponsor), Comcast Foundation’s Charisse Lillie, Head and Heart Philanthropy Founder Christal M. Jackson, 
MSNBC’s Joy-Ann Reid and Skillman Foundation President Tonya Allen at “Philanthropy on the Vineyard 2014” opening conversation, Sunday, August 10, 2014.

Annual summit returned to Martha’s Vineyard for three days of panel discussions and conversations on black philanthropy

NEW YORK, NY – The 3rd annual “Philanthropy on the Vineyard” summit gathered an influential cohort of foundation, nonprofit and corporate executives, faith-based leaders and philanthropists for enlightening and empowering discussions on philanthropy.  The convening was hosted by Head and Heart Philanthropy at the Harbor View Hotel in Edgartown, MA that featured speakers MSNBC hosts Joy-Ann Reid and TourĂ©; Credit Suisse’s Michelle Gadsden-Williams; White House Director of Social Innovation Fund, Michael Smith; New York Times bestselling author, dream hampton; the Kapor Center for Social Impact’s Mitch Kapor and Freada Klein Kapor; NBA Retired Players Association President and CEO Arnie Fielkow; Comcast’s Vice President of Community Investment and President of the Comcast Foundation, Charisse Lillie; Color of Change’s Rashad Robinson; and more.

The summit kicked off on Sunday, August 10 at Lola’s Restaurant with a discussion on the economic state of African Americans from 50 years ago to today, moderated by Joy-Ann Reid with panelists Tonya Allen, president of the Skillman Foundation and Charisse Lillie.  The opening discussion was active on social media with attendees using the hashtag #hhp2014.

Highlights during the summit included the second annual Charisse Lillie Luncheon themed “The Intersection of Corporate America and Philanthropy” keynoted by Michelle Gadsden-Williams, Managing Director and Head of Diversity & Inclusion at Credit Suisse; and a special reception honoring Color of Change attended by writer and creator of BET’s “Being Mary Jane” Mara Brock Akil and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX).

Session topics included: “The Influence of Faith and Philanthropy, Social Justice and the ‘New’ Black Church,” “Inside the World of Foundations-Communications and Grant making,” “The Impact of Sports, Media, Arts and Entertainment on Philanthropy,” and “Global Philanthropy & Investment Opportunities, Creating a Sustainable Economy in Haiti.”

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Philanthropy on the Vineyard 2014 cohort

After three years of hosting Philanthropy on the Vineyard, Head and Heart Philanthropy Founder Christal M. Jackson reflects on its importance: “I’ve learned that there is a need to convene and connect people of color around key topics of health, education, poverty alleviation and social enterprise, in a space where they feel safe to speak about their work and personal experiences. Often times the mainstream community has defined in their own terms of how we see our community, and the work that needs to be done.  I’ve learned that it’s possible to bring others along, especially once we are clearer on our true perspective.  The summit gives us the courage to share and provides hope to return back to our respective communities to continue our work not alone, but in collaboration with like-minded individuals around the country.”

For additional information and to view a list of all summit attendees, visit and

Photo credit: Rick Matteis

Photos of the Day

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Acclaimed author and director Nelson George and a Lincoln Motor Company representative attend the 12th Annual Run&Shoot Filmworks Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival on August 7. George debuted his work in progress documentary profiling Misty Copeland titled “A Ballerina's Tale.” In related news, Lincoln has teamed up with historic African-American greek letter organizations to aid communities.  Learn more about “The Divine Nine Driven To Give” program by visiting

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Jennifer and Julia Hudson, founders of Julian D. King Gift Foundation, hosted over 8,100 students at their 4th Annual Hatch Day Celebration on August 14 in Chicago. The annual celebration was held in honor of Julia’s son and Jennifer’s nephew, Julian D. King, on what would have been his 13th birthday. “Our goal each year is very simple,” said Jennifer Hudson. “We want these kids to know we are here for them and paying attention to their needs. If one child walks away with that feeling, then we’ve been successful. Chicago needs positive support more than ever and we hope that by doing this, we can encourage the next generation to keep on in that direction.”

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“Going to school has never been more expensive,” added her sister Julia Hudson. “We want our community’s children to have everything they need in order to start the school year out right and that’s what we aim to do every year we host Hatch Day in Julian’s honor,” she added. The Foundation acts as a catalyst for change in children’s health, education and welfare and exists to provide stability, support and positive experiences for children of all backgrounds so that they will become productive, confident and happy adults.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Black Philanthropy Month 2014 Events: Denver & Boston

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The Denver Foundation will observe Black Philanthropy Month on August 21 with “Urban Professionals: Giving Back!,” an evening of networking and conversation featuring giving circle leaders of color in their communities. The discussion will focus on being strategic with gifts of time, talent, treasure and testimony. Event hosts include Denver African American Philanthropists and Community Investment Network. RSVP by August 19 to

In related news, the foundation recently announced a $300,000 grant award from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to amplify giving in communities of color. David Miller, President and CEO of the Denver Foundation stated in a press release, “The values of generosity and giving are deeply embedded in communities of color. We simply aim to connect existing and emerging donors to philanthropic vehicles such as giving circles, scholarship funds, donor-advised funds, and business funds to support issues they care about most.”

In Boston, New England Blacks in Philanthropy (NEBIP) invites you to celebrate Black Philanthropy Month with them as they delve into the beauty of our own image.  “IN OUR OWN IMAGE” will be held on August 21 at The Film Posse, Studio 210, located at 15 Channel Center Street from 5:45pm - 7:45pm. To RSVP, contact

NEBIP is currently embarking on a new study of Black donors in Boston. For more information on Giving Black: Boston and how you can join in the work, visit the website.

Monday, August 11, 2014

‘What’s Community Got To Do With It?’ A Civic Engagement Forum in Observance of Black Philanthropy Month

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NGAAP-Charlotte members Valaida Fullwood (l) and Charles Thomas (r) with Dr. Emmett Carson

CHARLOTTE, NC – Over 300 guests gathered at the Bank of America Center in Charlotte on Tuesday, August 5 for ‘What’s Community Got To Do With It?,’ a civic engagement forum that featured an engaging and bold keynote from Dr. Emmett Carson, renowned thought leader in philanthropy and president and CEO of Silicon Valley Community Foundation. Hosted by New Generation of African American Philanthropists (NGAAP-Charlotte) giving circle in observance of Black Philanthropy Month 2014 (BPM2014), the event’s aim was to provide guests with new insight and inspiration to make positive and lasting impact on their communities.

Prior to the event, a pre-reception was held at Urban Sip at The Ritz-Carlton with guests Dr. Ron Carter, President of Johnson C. Smith University; David Taylor, President of Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture; Michael Marsicano, PhD, CEO of Foundation For The Carolinas; and Patrick Graham, President of National Urban League of Central Carolinas, among other nonprofit and community leaders.

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Eric Montgomery, Athan Lindsay, member of Next Generation of African American Philanthropists giving circle
 and Darryl Lester, member of Next Generation of African American Philanthropists and
 founder, Community Investment Network

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Patrick Graham, President of National Urban League of Central Carolinas, David Taylor, 
President of Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture and 
Patton McDowell, President of PMA Consulting, LLC

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Michael Marsicano, PhD, CEO of Foundation For The Carolinas; Sharon Harrington, JD, AVP for Institutional Advancement at Johnson C. Smith University; 
and Ronald Carter, PhD, President of Johnson C. Smith University

The forum began with a reading of the proclamation to kick off Black Philanthropy Month in Charlotte, followed by Dr. Carson’s BPM2014 talk that included a history of black philanthropy and its role in building the African American community; and his thoughts on the current state of black organizations, black males and black giving. His words resonated with many who shared on social media:

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Dr. Emmett Carson

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Clarence Lyons, NGAAP member and member of National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) with 
fellow NSBE Charlotte Chapter members, an event sponsor.

Event sponsors included Bank of America Black Professional Network, Bank of America Diversity and Inclusion, Foundation For The Carolinas and the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture.  For more takeaways from the event and happenings during Black Philanthropy Month, follow #BPM2014.

About New Generation of African American Philanthropists

Founded in June 2006, NGAAP-Charlotte is a giving circle with members who share values around philanthropy and pool charitable dollars to give back to the community. Its mission is to promote philanthropy – the giving of time, talent and treasure – among African Americans in the Charlotte region with the goal of enhancing the quality of life within their communities. NGAAP is a member of Community Investment Network and is hosted at the Foundation for the Carolinas. For more information, contact Ed Franklin at

Friday, August 8, 2014

Liberty Hill Foundation Kicks Off Black Philanthropy Month with Launch of New Giving Circle

Founders of B.L.A.C.C.

Los Angeles, CA – Liberty Hill Foundation, L.A.’s leading social justice funding organization, is proud to announce the launch of the new Building Leaders and Cultivating Change Fund (B.L.A.C.C.).

The B.L.A.C.C. Fund, one of several influential giving circles housed at Liberty Hill, launched August 2, at the start of Black Philanthropy Month.

Giving circles are groups of individuals who want to increase the impact of their philanthropic giving by pooling their funds and targeting their donations.  The Building Leaders and Cultivating Change Fund launch party was held at the home of Fran Jemmott and Bernie Rollins, longtime social justice activists and Liberty Hill supporters, and was attended by more than 50 people.  The garden party setting allowed for informal personal connections and socializing, part of the “building community” aspect of the giving circle.

An inter-generational giving circle, B.L.A.C.C. seeks to build a community of philanthropists among professionals in Los Angeles and is open to both the young and young at heart who are dedicated to supporting organizations empowering the African American community through education, jobs and leadership development.

The mission of B.L.A.C.C. is to transform the African American community in Los Angeles.  By harnessing the members’ collective giving power to support organizations working on the frontlines of social justice, B.L.A.C.C. provides an opportunity for professionals to become philanthropists and strategically position grant dollars to advance the African American community.

“We are casting a wide net among L.A.’s professional network and want to make philanthropy accessible across income levels,” says co-chair Kaci Patterson, “so that we are building community at the same time that we are building leaders and cultivating change.”

Giving levels begin at $25 a year with no maximum.  Contributors at $500 a year and above are given a vote in deciding which organizations receive a grant from B.L.A.C.C.; and at $750 or more, contributors are invited to attend site visits and other special events.  The group exceeded its fundraising goal on its first day, raising almost $14,000.

“All of us have benefited from philanthropy at some point in our lives,” Ms. Patterson says. “Whether it was through scholarships and grants to attend college, community organizations that provided free extracurricular programs and health screenings, churches that provided meals and free toys, or civic organizations that invested in building our capacity as leaders, philanthropy has played an important role in providing us opportunities to succeed.  We have a responsibility to extend that same opportunity to others in our community and not wait for someone else to consider our well-being.  That’s what motivated B.L.A.C.C.”

Among the inspirations for the Building Leaders and Cultivating Change Fund founders is their participation in Liberty Hill Foundation’s Uplifting Change initiative. Uplifting Change connects local donor-activists and helps them leverage community assets to strengthen Black Los Angeles through philanthropic investment in grassroots community organizing.

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Nichole Curtis, Leadership Program Officer, United Way L.A.; Lola Smallwood Cuevas, 
Director, Los Angeles Black Worker Center; Shane Goldsmith, President/CEO, Liberty Hill Foundation

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Cynthia McNamee and April Harris 

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Kaci Patterson and Carol Young

About Liberty Hill

Liberty Hill, a public foundation in Los Angeles, advances movements for social change through a unique combination of grants, leadership training and alliance building.  When Liberty Hill began in 1976, it was a daring new foundation that turned philanthropy on its head.  Today it is a national leader in social justice. Organizing and advocacy powered by Liberty Hill has changed national policies, launched movements, transformed neighborhoods, and nurtured hundreds of community leaders who respond to the experience of injustice by fighting for their rights.

Related post: 5th Annual Uplifting Change Summit Gathers Donors to Strengthen Black Los Angeles

Top photo: The four founders of B.L.A.C.C.—Sarah Figueroa, Senior Vice President, Camino Nuevo Charter Academy; Kaci Patterson (co-chair), Vice President, Families in Schools; Felicia Jones, Deputy Director, Community Asset Power Re-defining Education (CADRE); and Ryan Smith (co-chair), Director of Education Programs and Policy, United Way of Greater L.A.

Source and photos courtesy of Liberty Hill Foundation

Charles H. Wright Museum Celebrates Black Philanthropy Month 2014

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The world’s largest institution dedicated to the African American experience is celebrating Black Philanthropy Month by featuring daily blog posts on notable black philanthropists. Profiles to date include Bill and Camille Cosby, Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter and Detroit entrepreneur Pam Rodgers.

The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History was founded in 1965 by Detroit obstetrician Dr. Charles Wright and provides learning opportunities, exhibitions and programs based on its collections and research.  Among the current exhibitions are “Ingrid Saunders Jones: 31 Years of Distinguished Service... and Counting,” a retrospective highlighting retired Senior Vice President of Global Community Connections for The Coca-Cola Company and Chair of The Coca-Cola Foundation; “Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Celebrating a Century of Sisterhood, Scholarship & Service: 1913 – 2013” presented by the Detroit Alumnae Chapter; and ongoing exhibitions, “And Still We Rise: Our Journey Through African American History and Culture” and “Inspiring Minds: African Americans in Science and Technology.”

It’s very important that we support African American museums. (In case you missed it, this two-part series by Nonprofit Quarterly highlights the struggles faced by these institutions.) Visit the website to learn more about the institution, its exhibits and membership. And, save the date for “The Wright Ball: The Gala” to be held on October 11, 2014. Let us know how you’re celebrating Black Philanthropy Month by using #BPM2014!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Dreaming Out Loud: Social Entrepreneur Honors Family Legacy Through Urban Farming

While most third-graders are learning math and reading, Christopher Bradshaw was learning advocacy and social change. When a teacher banned the game of tag, he organized his classmates to sign petitions, stage sandbox sit-ins and boycott recess for their right to play. Today, Christopher’s passion for social change continues as the founder of Dreaming Out Loud, Inc. (DOL), a Washington, DC based nonprofit whose mission is to inspire and build a more ethical society through human development, community engagement and social enterprise.

DOL’s projects provide access to fresh produce, spur economic development and build health equity in urban communities impacted by “food deserts.”  One such project is Aya Community Markets, a developing network of farmers markets that offers places for businesses to develop, and for the community to gather in fellowship and purchase quality goods.  DOL’s urban micro-farm, Aya Farms Project, is located within a few blocks of their farmers market in Ward 6 of Washington, DC and also serves as a youth employment program site. Youth design, plan, and implement community garden projects; receive nutrition education and S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering, and math) learning through gardening; and develop entrepreneurial and leadership skills by learning to run a farmers market.

This year DOL was awarded a $6,000 grant from The Black Benefactors giving circle to enhance the Aya Farms Project.  The enhancements will allow DOL to host programs for children and youth, as well as workshops for community members, particularly low-income individuals; supply public housing communities, churches, schools and community gardens in the area with seedlings for their growing projects; and house an aquaponics system – an agricultural technology that grows both fish and plants in a closed loop system, multiplying their impact and making the project unique in DC.

Read on to learn how Christopher’s grandfather and uncle introduced him to farming, his vision for DOL in five years and how you can get involved.

Congratulations on the Black Benefactors grant! Please share more about it.

The Black Benefactors (BB) grant came at just the right time and helped us on two levels: emotionally and financially.  We were planning for a breakout year in terms of our impact and needed a shot of energy to let us know that things are going in the right direction...BB provided just that!  We knew that we were on the right track and could make commitments towards the youth that we needed to support, while building our garden so that it would be a great space for learning and growing.

What inspired you to get involved in urban farming?

I was inspired to get involved in urban farming for a number of reasons. One is a community need that was very much lacking in terms of exposing young people and rekindling an interest among elders. As I got more into farming, memories began coming back to me.  Those memories were running up and down the crop rows of my Uncle Walt’s nearly two-acre garden in Morristown, Tennessee.  From his garden – which he basically did by himself – he would grow everything imaginable, which my grandmother, aunts, and neighbors would can and preserve and we would eat for months.  Memories of my grandfather (pictured) and his garden were also prominent. He was a man from rural, small-town Jacksonville, GA with only a 4th grade education.  Yet, he accomplished much.  He worked for Pratt and Whitney building airplane parts, worked at an ice-cream shop, and eventually started buying houses, apartments and duplexes across Hartford, Connecticut.  It was real estate that allowed him to gain independence and prosperity from his limited education, but it was farming that kept him grounded, connected him to his childhood and gave him a release.

I remember him working very hard all week, but then on Saturday mornings he would wake me up between 5 and 6 am to get breakfast, and then we would proceed from property to property where he would fix everything from sinks to doorknobs. After that was done around 11 am, you think that would be enough, but that was only the warm up because we still had farming to do.  Farming was like recreation for him.  The picture of us standing in the field was at his growing space in Connecticut; it was his way of mentally escaping to Georgia.  He always wanted to retire there and farm, but he didn’t get to.  Now I honor him, my Uncle Walt, and countless other women and men in my ancestry who didn’t get to do it for fun, but rather forced to under the yoke of oppression. Today we do it as an act of liberation.

Share a success story.

Beyond helping to provide access to fresh, local produce we’ve made an impact on multiple levels.  An example is Khalil, a 10-year old male.  We met him at our first farmers market while hitting one of our yard-signs with a stick.  When I gently approached him, I jokingly asked if he had something against vegetables; he blushed with embarrassment, as his friends laughed.  I asked him to return to the market the next week along with his friends. They returned, along with several other friends at 7:30am every Saturday for 18 weeks.

We are now growing Khalil and friends as new leaders and community voices through a structured youth development program for 15 youth, primarily African-American males.

Where do you see DOL in five years?

In five years, I see DOL having impactful social enterprise projects at the national and international level. I envision connecting communities, cultures and social change through social enterprise; particularly amongst the African Diaspora.  We want to create sustainable solutions that are embraced by communities so that they take ownership of them, yet know that they are linked to others.

How can readers get involved with DOL?

Readers can always come visit us at our growing space at 700 Delaware Avenue, SW in Washington, DC and volunteer getting their hands dirty watering and weeding, turing compost, or whatever else is needed. Or folks can come to one of our farmers markets...either on Saturdays from 9am-1pm at 900 4th Street SW or Wednesdays from 2-7pm at 3924 Minnesota Avenue, NE.