Monday, September 15, 2014

ABFE Connecting Leaders Fellowship Helps Philanthropy Retain and Advance African-Americans in the Field

ABFE Announces 9th Class of Connecting Leaders Fellows

New York, NY – A diverse group of philanthropic professionals who have vast experience across a range of issue areas including youth development, health, education and advocacy have been selected as the 9th Class of ABFE Fellows.

The Connecting Leaders Fellowship Program (CLFP) is a year-long experience designed to sharpen the skills and strengthen the leadership capacity of foundation staff, donors and trustees who are committed to assisting Black communities through philanthropy. Fellows have the opportunity to learn from seasoned grantmakers and peers on a regular basis, understand how to be more effective agents for change within their institutions and participate in a network that focuses on innovative solutions to community challenges.

The CLFP year officially kicks off with a four-day, intensive Leadership Summit that will take place on November 3-7, 2014 in Birmingham, Alabama at the request of former ABFE Fellow Lyord Watson ('12). Watson is a founding member of the Birmingham Change Fund giving circle, a board member of the Community Investment Network and was recently elected to the Birmingham Board of Education. He stated,“Bringing a talented group of experts and leaders who are passionate about change to Birmingham will be a wonderful gift for my city.”

ABFE launched CLFP in 2005 to improve retention and career advancement for Black professionals in the field of philanthropy. Its track record is impressive. Over 80% of alumni are still in the field of philanthropy and CLFP alumni respondents to a 2012 survey credited the Fellowship in the following positive ways: gaining more responsibility in current role (55%); moving to a new organization in philanthropy (37%); and obtaining a promotion in a new organization (45%). In 2013-2014, three alumni were named CEO of their foundations.

Fellows were chosen based upon a set of criteria covering their experience in philanthropy, their goals for the future, and their interest and passion for making systemic change in Black communities. The 2015 Class of Fellows are: Jehan Benton-Clark, Senior Program Officer, Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust; William Cordery, Program Officer, Marguerite Casey Foundation; Patrick Hendricks, Development Manager, Mayor’s Institute for Excellence in Government, Memphis, TN; Kelli King-Jackson, Program Officer, The Simmons Foundation; E. Bomani Johnson, Senior Director of Programs & Partnerships, DC Children & Youth Investment Trust Corporation; Michelle D. Johnson, Associate Program Officer, The Kresge Foundation; Katrina Mitchell, Program Officer, Andrus Family Fund; Terrance Pitts, Program Officer, Criminal Justice Fund, Open Society Foundations; Castle Redmond, J.D., Program Manager, Health Happens in Schools, California Endowment; and Ed Smith-Lewis, Associate Program Officer, Student Success, U.S. Program, Postsecondary Success, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

For more information about ABFE and the Fellowship program, visit

Thursday, September 4, 2014

#BPM365: Celebrating Black Philanthropy Month Year-Round

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Thank you for celebrating Black Philanthropy Month 2014! It was wonderful to learn of the many events held, op-eds written and stories of giving shared. The month kicked off big with the mayor of Charlotte, NC proclaiming August as Black Philanthropy Month at a civic engagement forum that featured Dr. Emmett Carson, president and CEO of Silicon Valley Community Foundation and recently appointed as the first Charles Stewart Mott Foundation Chair on Community Foundations. Jackie Copeland Carson, Dr. Carsons wife and the founder of Black Philanthropy Month, penned an op-ed in the Huffington Post titled “Our New Brave World: A Black Philanthropy Month 2014 Call to Action.” She wrote:

“I created Black Philanthropy Month (BPM) back in 2011 as a time to celebrate, review and renew our rich traditions of giving, self-help and social innovation. As has been true throughout our history, our collective giving and action are still keys to our success. But I feel compelled to temper my usual celebratory BPM kickoff post with an urgent call to reshape our Movement for the times.”

The article is first in a series of commentaries that will share her views on new principles for black giving and promising examples to inspire innovation.

Throughout the month BPM 2014 events were held in Boston, Denver, Los Angeles and San Francisco that featured nationally renowned speakers, community leaders, grassroots givers and local black philanthropy affinity groups. Although August has ended, black philanthropy continues here at and at these upcoming events:

The Power of Black Giving

The Black Benefactors giving circle in Washington, DC will host “The Power of Black Giving,”an evening of food and philanthropy with ABFE (Association of Black Foundation Executives) on Wednesday, September 17th. Among the topics of discussion are: a history of black philanthropy and its evolution; giving trends among African-Americans; how you can become more strategic in giving of your time, talent and treasure using ABFE's Responsive Philanthropy in Black Communities (RPBC) framework tool; and in the wake of Ferguson and other related events, how you can engage in advocacy for systemic change. Visit here for more information and to purchase tickets.

Dialogues in Leadership

New York Blacks in Philanthropy presents “Dialogues in Leadership & Fall Mixer” on Wednesday, October 1st that will feature a discussion with Denice Williams, Assistant Commissioner, City of New York and moderated by Toya Williford of the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City.  Register here.

Gantt Symposium 2014 - Common: A Lecture on Greatness

The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture in Charlotte, NC presents artist, actor, and philanthropist, Common as the 2014 Gantt Symposium speaker on Thursday, October 2nd. The museum states that Common’s appearance is an ideal end-cap to the dialogues inspired by the Question Bridge: Black Males exhibition, and a dynamic segue into their 40th Anniversary celebration that will celebrate artists who use their work to transform awareness, empower youth, and affect social and creative change.  Visit here to learn more.

Continue to share ways to give back, stories of black philanthropy and events throughout the year using #BPM365!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Community Investment Network Set To Mark A Decade of Impact Through Giving Circles

“It was 10 years ago when the Ford Foundation invested in the idea that African American young adults were untapped community philanthropy resources in the US, especially in the American South. The return on that investment has been amazing—new community leaders, new pools of philanthropic funds, new relationships with other donors and non-profits to address local and state policies…I can’t wait to get to the CIN Conference in October to hear the stories of impact!”
— Linetta J. Gilbert

COMMUNITY INVESTMENT NETWORK (CIN) is set to come full circle in Durham, North Carolina, October 2-5 by celebrating its 10th anniversary conference. The CIN 2014 National Conference will commemorate its first convening a decade ago. Stories of impact—from CIN Giving Circle members, national thought leaders and community-based changemakers—are a focus of the three-day conference, designed to inform, engage, and inspire attendees from across the country. Register via this link.

Keynote speakers include:

JACQUELINE COPELAND-CARSON, PH.D., Scholar and Global Consultant on Black Diaspora Giving and Founder of Black Philanthropy Month 
(Saturday Breakfast Plenary)

DAVID JOHNS, Executive Director, White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans 
(Saturday Lunch Plenary)

REV. TREVOR BEAUFORD, DeiVision Minister for Children, Youth and Singles, Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina 
(Sunday Breakfast Plenary)

For new members and people interested in collective giving, the CIN workshop “Giving Circles 101” is scheduled for Friday afternoon. Conference registrants will also experience sightseeing bus tours of communities in and nearby Durham that reveal stories of impact from Next Generation of African American Philanthropists, which is based in the Triangle and one of the initial CIN Giving Circles. Concurrent conference workshops will examine a range of issues, explore multiple facets of philanthropy and spotlight more stories of impact from CIN Giving Circles.

2014 Honorary Conference Co-Chairs:


LINETTA J. GILBERT, Longtime Champion of CIN

Sponsors of the conference include: Triangle Community Foundation, Lake Institute on Faith and Giving, and IBM Corporation. Methodist Home for Children is the sponsor of the 2014 CIN Youth Summit on Philanthropy and Leadership, which is offered on Saturday morning for young people ages 12 to 18. More about sponsorships can be found here.

About Community Investment Network: CIN is a nonprofit membership organization that inspires, connects and strengthens African Americans and communities of color to leverage their collective resources and create the change THEY wish to see. There so much to learn about giving circles, and CIN’s annual conference is a go-to source for solid information and for building relationships with knowledgeable and approachable people from across the U.S.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Celebrating #BPM2014: Black Philanthropy Month

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Image created by Center for Urban Families...thank you!

During the last week of Black Philanthropy Month, we’d like to highlight some of the organizations observing the annual month-long campaign that aims to strengthen African American and African descent giving in all its forms.

The Arizona Community Foundation is highlighting its people and projects that advance philanthropy for African Americans in Arizona. The foundation profiles two giving circles, African American Women’s Giving and Empowerment Circle and Real Engagement through Active Philanthropy (REAP), which provides Black men in Arizona with a mechanism for community investment, strategic giving and grantmaking. Read more here.

Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture profiles its members and their stories of giving. The Floyd Family shares, “As our family thinks about Black Philanthropy Month, we pay tribute to how we can continue to serve and impact our community while also representing our ideals and values. Locally, we continue to work closely with and actively support several organizations which embody our beliefs, including the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture. The Gantt Center is a major focus of our family's continued giving and support. It symbolizes the center of African-American culture here in Charlotte and uniquely represents those African-Americans who have sacrificed for the well-being of our family.” Read more profiles here and here.

Center for Urban Families has created a wonderful graphic (pictured above) and video in observance of #BPM2014. The Baltimore-based organization aims to strengthen urban communities by helping fathers and families achieve stability and economic success.  Visit the website to learn more about their local and national programs.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

POISE Foundation Strengthens Pittsburgh’s Black Families Through Grants, Advocacy

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Representatives from Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield and POISE Foundation

African-American foundation receives $250,000 in support of initiatives aimed at strengthening the Black community

PITTSBURGH, PA – In 1980 the POISE Foundation was created, the first public foundation in the state of Pennsylvania exclusively organized and managed by African Americans. Its mission is to assist the Pittsburgh region’s Black community in achieving self-sustaining practices through strategic leadership, collective giving, grantmaking and advocacy. To date the Foundation has impacted the community with more than $9 million in financial support to organizations that add value to the quality of life in Black Pittsburgh and the region as a whole.

In 2012 POISE established a new grantmaking strategy with the goal of creating strong families and community sustainability – Strengthening Black Families. POISE believes that by strengthening the Black family, it will ultimately elevate and sustain a higher quality of life in the communities where they live.

Support for the new initiative was provided by Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield with a $250,000 grant. Highmark’s initial $100,000 investment in 2012 positioned POISE to launch the grantmaking strategy and recently, the company granted the remaining installment of $150,000 to enable POISE to provide program management and technical support to four local organizations whose programming and activities lift the region’s Black families.

“The generous investment from Highmark, coupled with their commitment as a community partner, supports the Foundation in our goal to be a more proactive grantmaker and to build policy knowledge and capacity within the Pittsburgh community,” said Mark Lewis, president and CEO at POISE Foundation. “We realize the importance of new and transformative approaches to impact community change.”

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Mark Lewis, President & CEO of POISE Foundation

The four programs receiving funding are: Amachi Pittsburgh - Family Strengthening Project Plan, Melting Pot Ministry - Family Konnections Program, The Center That C.A.R.E.S. - Family Time Program and University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine’s Teen Mother, Young Father Program.

“The ‘Family’ is the first and most important institution we have. Health, education, morals, values and work ethics are influenced first and foremost by our families,” said Karris Jackson, vice president of programs at POISE Foundation. “It is to this end that we believe strong families are essential for building a strong community.”

To learn more about POISE Foundation, visit

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.