Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Black Philanthropy Month 2014: How You Can Get Involved

 photo blackbpm2014-1_zps2d54630a.jpg

August 1st marks the beginning of Black Philanthropy Month 2014 (#BPM2014), a month-long, multi-media campaign designed to inform, inspire and invest in Black philanthropic leadership.  Founded by the African Women’s Development Fund USA and proclaimed by the United Nations and Congress in August 2011, Black Philanthropy Month was created as an annual, global celebration of African-descent giving in the United States and worldwide. This year’s theme is “Generosity at Home and Around the Globe.”

Last year the response to Black Philanthropy Month exceeded our wildest expectations.  Highlights included a partnership with Donors Choose that raised funds for classroom supplies; over 70 media mentions with articles appearing in and; events in cities such as Boston, San Francisco, NYC, Charlotte and Washington, DC; and weekly Tweetups on topics that included HBCU alumni giving and black men and boys that became trending topics on Twitter.  #BPM2013 was also a top hashtag among black tweeters on August 24, 2013, the day of a commemoration event honoring the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington in Washington, DC.

We invite you to get involved, online and offline, in activities, discussions, thought pieces, events and generosity that are important to you and your community. Here are some ideas:

Host an event in celebration of Black Philanthropy Month.

 photo bostonbpm2013TammyDowley-BlackmanwithpastandpresentProteusFundDiversityFellows2_zps33d136b5.jpg
Proteus Fund Diversity Fellows attend a 2013 Black Philanthropy Month event in Boston hosted by 
New England Blacks in Philanthropy and EPIP-Boston.

Use Black Philanthropy Month to highlight the work of your organization to gain new supporters.

Write op-ed pieces inspired by the theme, “Generosity at Home and Around the Globe” with a focus on black philanthropy.

Join or start a giving circle in your community.

Host local civic engagement forums e.g., panel discussions, community conversations, etc. around topics/issues of local interest.

Share news and stories with newcomers to the concept of philanthropy and traditions of black giving.

Become a mentor, volunteer and/or donate to a cause of interest.

Let us know how you will celebrate Black Philanthropy Month by using #BPM2014. By getting involved, you’ll be supporting a national and global movement for black philanthropy. We look forward to celebrating with you!

Photo of the Day: 2014 National Suit Drive

 photo NatlSuitDrive_zps5bdeb758.jpg
New York Giants stars Stevie Brown and Jon Beason donate suits at Men’s Wearhouse in New York City 
for the 7th annual National Suit Drive.

The 2014 National Suit Drive hosted by retailer Men’s Wearhouse encourages donations of gently-used suits and professional attire (men’s and women’s suits, shirts, jackets, ties, pants, belts and shoes) that will be refurbished and distributed to over 180 nonprofit organizations, which will provide job-readiness skills and training to men and women who are transitioning into the workforce.  In return, Men’s Wearhouse will provide a coupon for 50% off a future purchase to each participating donor.

After some pre-season closet cleaning, New York Giants stars Jon Beason and Stevie Brown showed their support by donating a few suits at the Men’s Wearhouse flagship store in Manhattan on July 17th, just in time before the start of training camp.

To support the cause without donating from your own closet, Men’s Wearhouse will make a monetary donation of $1 (up to $20,000) to their National Suit Drive cause for every new Twitter and Instagram follower and each time the hashtag #giveasuit is used.  The month-long initiative ends on July 31st.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

‘The Soul of Philanthropy’ Exhibit to Showcase African American Giving

 photo ngaapIMG_13442_zps530b5838.jpg

JCSU and Charlotte giving circle receive IMLS Museum Grant for African American History and Culture

CHARLOTTE, NC—Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU) has received a $96,665 grant award from the Institute of Library and Museum Services (IMLS) and $124,494 in matching funds and resources for a two-year project to develop a touring exhibit and public programs that illuminate cultural traditions of giving in African American communities.

Groundbreaking in focus and depth, Giving Back: The Soul of Philanthropy Reframed and Exhibited presents the history of Black philanthropy through artful photography and insightful first-person narratives.  James B. Duke Memorial Library staff at JCSU will work with author Valaida Fullwood, photographer Charles Thomas and members of the giving circle New Generation of African American Philanthropists (NGAAP-Charlotte) to design, curate and fabricate the exhibition as well as create collateral educational and marketing materials in print and online.  The exhibition’s touring schedule at college campuses and cultural museums and institutions, primarily throughout the South, includes robust community programming during each exhibition period.

“Prairie View A&M University in conjunction with the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum is proud to participate in this traveling exhibit as it is certain to provide a larger scale audience the opportunity to witness African American philanthropy up close and personal,” says Nelson Bowman, PVAMU Executive Director of Development.

Influencing the next generation of givers is an objective, so most exhibitions will occur at colleges, particularly Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Innovative approaches that engage not only college students but also K-12 students, alumni, educators, faith-based congregants, neighborhood leaders, volunteers and staff at nonprofit organizations and foundations and the wider public are planned as defining characteristics of the exhibition’s programming.

Partners on the IMLS-funded project include Bennett College, The Black Benefactors,, Blair Caldwell African American Research Library, Buffalo Soldiers National Museum, Foundation for the Mid South, Levine Museum of the New South, Prairie View A&M University and The Denver Foundation.

 photo IMG_12172_zps25529fa8.jpg
Photo from a recent pop-up mini exhibition, a precursor to the IMLS-funded “Soul of Philanthropy” exhibit and programming.

In celebration of Black Philanthropy Month, on August 5, NGAAP-Charlotte will host Silicon Valley Community Foundation CEO Emmett Carson at an event introducing the project:

Nonprofit Celebrates 10 Years, Hosts Second Annual Fundraiser to Benefit Detroit Youth

 photo HtR2013photo32_zps14833a10.jpg
Marlowe Stoudamire, 2013 honoree; Franky Hudson, Teen HYPE staff; Hajj Fleming, founder of Brand University; 
and Ambra Redrick, Executive Director of Teen Hype at the organization’s 2013 fundraiser.

DETROIT, MI — In pursuit of its mission to empower urban youth to thrive, Teen HYPE (Helping Youth by Providing Education) will host its second annual fundraiser “HYPE the Rooftop, A Decade of Dedication” on August 21, 2014, an evening affair to benefit programs that help keep teens on the right track and lead healthy, prosperous lives.  “We are excited to produce this event for a second year,” says Teen HYPE Executive Director, Ambra Redrick.  “As a safe haven for youth, Teen HYPE provides a number of resources and programs that are directly funded through events like HYPE the Rooftop.”

The event will feature a presentation of Teen HYPE’s second annual Spotlight award winners, recognizing two individuals or organizations committed to positively impacting the community; live entertainment by one of Detroit’s own R&B/soul groups, The B. Williams Experiment, and the spinning expertise of DJ Amy Dreamcatcher.  Guests can participate in a silent auction featuring tickets to local events, gift certificates and goodie baskets.

This year’s honorary co-chairs include Janice Cosby Bridges, chief marketing and community relations officer for Ascension Health Michigan and St. John Providence Health System; Portia Roberson, head of the city’s Civil Rights and Ethics Division; and Marlowe Stoudamire, principal at The Butterfly Effect and an inaugural recipient of Teen HYPE’s Spotlight award.

“HYPE the Rooftop, A Decade of Dedication” is made possible in part by presenting sponsors Quicken Loans and St. John Providence Health System.  Other major sponsors include the Health Alliance Plan of Michigan (HAP) and Henry Ford Health System.  Teen HYPE welcomes donations from businesses and local eateries that would like to participate.  Please contact Juanita Davis at to learn more about sponsorship opportunities or visit


DATE: Thursday, August 21, 2014
WHERE: The Madison Building, 1555 Broadway Street, Detroit, MI 48226
TIME: 6-10 p.m.

Tickets begin at $50 and are available now at

About Teen HYPE

Founded in 2004, Teen HYPE empowers urban youth to thrive while strengthening their community.  The organization provides cultural, educational, and personal enrichment experiences to help teens make positive choices, improve their quality of life, and become leaders in their schools and communities.  For questions about Teen HYPE or if you would like to get involved, please contact Ambra Redrick at or 313-831-8336.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Resurgence of African American Male Philanthropists

 photo UjimaLegacyFund-10432_zpsa4d39bf3.jpg
Members of the Ujima Legacy Fund at their event in 2013.

TEDx talk tells story of the Ujima Legacy Fund

Reggie Gordon’s TEDxRVA talk opens with his experience attending the Million Man March in 1995 – a historic gathering held in Washington, DC that brought thousands of black men from all over the world to promote unity, and family and community values.  It was this experience that led Reggie to stop practicing law to become a humanitarian.

Today, Reggie is CEO of the American Red Cross – Eastern Virginia Region and co-founder of the Ujima Legacy Fund, a black male giving circle based in Richmond, Virginia.  The giving circle is named Ujima after the third day of Kwanzaa that celebrates collective work and responsibility.  Its founders were inspired by the story of Thomas Cannon, a retired African-American postal worker from Richmond who lived well below his means, ultimately giving away thousands of dollars on a meager salary.  Reggie shared with

“The organizers of TEDxRVA interviewed me about my life and work in Richmond.  When I told them that I was one of the founders of the Ujima Legacy Fund, they felt that the story about the creation of a black male giving circle in Richmond would make an interesting TED talk.  So, I reflected on the genesis of the concept for the Ujima Legacy Fund and tried to relay my feelings about the importance of our giving circle created by black men, during the TED talk.  This year, we gave away a grant for $28,000 to Art 180.  Our goal for our 2015 grant cycle (our third year) is to increase our numbers to 50 men and give away $50,000 to a deserving organization.  The momentum continues to build. I am sure we will reach our goal.”

Watch Reggie’s TEDx talk, “The Resurgence of African American Male Philanthropists” here. The men of Ujima would love to be a resource for black men in other cities who would like to use their model to create a giving circle. Learn more about their fund housed at the Richmond Community Foundation here.

Rules of Engagement: New Workbook for Women on the Importance of Building Relationships

Froswa’ Booker-Drew, a former contributor for (BGB), is the author of the new book, Rules of Engagement: Making Connections Last.  The workbook focuses on the importance of building strong, lasting relationships that can help women both personally and professionally.  In an email interview with BGB, Froswa’ shares what prevents women from establishing lasting relationships, and how the book can help young professionals and women working in the nonprofit sector and philanthropy.

What prevents women from establishing lasting relationships?

I think that our experiences impact our ability to connect to one another.  Often it is a result of what we’ve seen or have been taught.  Our mothers and early female role models (or lack of) are so important in forming our beliefs about trust, empathy, and building connections.  If we’ve had negative experiences, this becomes a lens for how we process relationships until we recognize how our past has become a barrier.

I also believe that media plays a significant role in the way women form relationships.  Social media can be a wonderful place for connecting but often, it has become a place that highlights female aggression and hostility. We don’t spend enough time connecting authentically.  There is power in the story and when we connect to others, the conversations will help us see the resilience, optimism, and hope that are a part of all our journeys.  The truth is that women can build long lasting relationships but in order to do so, it is essential to understand your narrative.

Why do you feel that making connections last is important?

Building relationships are critical to not only our emotional well-being but can serve as an opportunity to meet others that can help you both personally and professionally.  Social mobility is not just about what you know but who you know can be helpful to your career.  Having high quality connections can help a person achieve their goals on a number of levels and these are the types of relationships that last.

What do you feel is the common myth of networking?

I think we feel networking is about transaction and getting something right now.  Sharing business cards is not about relationships.  It is hoping that you can do something for me.  The goal should be transformational relationships.  The relationship has to be mutually beneficial.  The goal is to make sure that we both walk away with something—even it means just connecting one another to someone else.  Relationships take time—personal or professional—and we typically believe that networking results in immediate action.

How will this book change the mindset of rising professionals?

I believe this book provides information to help younger professionals think about opportunities to connect by learning from my experience and knowledge.  Many young adults are so fixated on completing their degree that they may not take the time to build relationships that can help them later.  I remember sharing with a group of female students at Susquehanna University about networking and I was amazed with their interest in this topic.  I was very fortunate because when I started my career, I was extremely active in my university and community.  I started early building my network.

Why did you decide to gear the book towards women?

I am currently completing my dissertation for my PhD in Leadership and Change at Antioch University. Throughout my program, I have focused on social capital (networking, relationship building), diverse women and relational leadership.  In my first research project, I brought together a group of diverse women (race, age, religion, occupation) to discuss how they build social capital.  When it was time to introduce themselves, all of the women talked about their titles instead of really focusing on who they are and their interests.  They also focused heavily on their relationships which can be instrumental in the formation of their identity.

Women, when they remove the layers of work, family, and friends, are challenged to really think about who they are.  I wanted to create a workbook for women based on my learning from this group and from my life experience.  I had being hearing from so many women that they couldn’t trust or become friends with other women, so I want them to begin to reflect on their lives and see how their experiences informed the way they connect to one another.

How will this book help women in philanthropy and the nonprofit sector?

The nonprofit sector has so many amazing women in a variety of roles. I think it will be helpful especially for those who are trying to grow in their roles to have tools and tips that can accelerate their growth and relationships.  For the more seasoned and experienced leader, the workbook can assist in building conversations with your teams that can build your relational/social capital within your team and organization. It can also be impactful for reflection and helping readers become more aware of their story.

Froswa’ is currently a PhD candidate at Antioch University in Leadership and Change and the National Director of Community Engagement for World Vision, US Programs.  Froswa’ also provides webinars for nonprofits on For more information about the book or to purchase, please visit

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Young Black Philanthropists Gather for Changing the Face of Philanthropy Summit

 photo cfp14-3_zps9597362e.jpg

WASHINGTON, DC – More than thirty African-American millennials convened for the Changing the Face of Philanthropy Summit (#CFP14) at the United Way of the National Capital Area on June 27 and June 28.  The Summit was presented by Wells Fargo Advisors and Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

Presented by Friends of Ebonie, LLC, the social impact organization dedicated to young black philanthropy, the summit hosted the only two-day intensive of its kind bringing together young black professionals between 25 - 40 years old to strengthen giving behaviors and develop strategic action plans for civic leadership.

Workshop sessions focused on three core-learning areas: Board Leadership, Effective Mentoring, and Social Innovation.  Summit headliners included Damon Hewitt, Senior Advisor for Open Society Foundations, Decker Ngongang, Senior Associate for Fellowship Programs at Echoing Green and Mike Muse, co-founder of Muse Recordings.

 photo cfp14-8_zps3191d570.jpg
Decker Ngongang and Damon Hewitt lead a brown bag lunch session.

 photo cfp14-2_zps18d18272.jpg

Highlights of the Summit included a board leadership training by Board Source and a panel on black perspectives of board leadership, moderated by Brickson Diamond, COO of the Executive Leadership Council.  The Summit also featured its first mock-pitch competition.  Attendees worked in teams to create innovative solution-based ideas to solve a specific issue.  The Summit concluded with each team pitching their ideas to the panel of expert judges; including Echoing Green, tinyGive and Wells Fargo Advisors.  The winning team won a cash prize of $250.

 photo cfp14-1_zps99212596.jpg
Katarina Eleby, African American Board Leadership Institute; Darla Bunting , Co-Founder, First Book-DC Board;
Ebonie Johnson Cooper, founder, Friends of Ebonie LLC; Omar Woodard, Venture Philanthropy Partners;
Brickson Diamond, COO, Executive Leadership Council and the Executive Leadership Foundation

“The event provided us with practical ways for us to begin to engage with the community in a philanthropic way.  Additionally, the sessions with the professionals in the field were extremely informative,” said Kenneth Jacobs, a #CFP14 attendee.

The Summit’s opening reception, presented by Wells Fargo Advisors, featured a special presentation from the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture by John W. Franklin, Director of Partnerships and International Programs, also the son of historian John Hope Franklin.

Organizational Partners for the Summit included Thursday Network of the Greater Washington Urban League, Young Nonprofit Professionals Network, Echoing Green, Northern Virginia Young Professionals Network, Think BrownINK, African American Board Leadership Institute and DC Social Innovation Project.

 photo cfp14-4_zps26e8588a.jpg
Ebonie Johnson Cooper  with Mike Muse, co-founder, Muse Recordings and
Kelly Brinkley, COO, United Way of the National Capital Area

 photo cfp14-5_zps8b648649.jpg

“I am extremely proud of my team and grateful to everyone who made this year’s Summit possible.  It was truly the manifestation of a dream I didn’t even know was possible,” said Ebonie Johnson Cooper, Chief Millennial Officer of Friends of Ebonie, LLC.  The full agenda and speaker line up from this year’s summit can be found at

About Friends of Ebonie, LLC
Friends of Ebonie, LLC is the social impact organization focused on social responsibility and philanthropy for African American millennials. It provides insight, programming, and resources for and about young black professionals and giving.  Through its unique approach to engaging young black professionals, it helps to shape its audience into trailblazing leaders and build the bridge to sustainable engagement relationships for non-profit organizations.  For more information about Friends of Ebonie, please visit:

Press release/Photo Credit: Ruby Melton Photography