Monday, November 19, 2012

Influential Non-Profit and Political Professionals Defined Young Black Philanthropy in Harlem on National Philanthropy Day

Defining Young Black Philanthropy (l-r) Moderator Jovian Irvin; Panelists: Mike Muse, Amanda Ebokosia, Nubia Murray, Virginia Almendarez & Friends of Ebonie, Ebonie Johnson Cooper

On November 15, leading non-profit and political influencers, gathered for a poignant evening of networking and discussion focused on young black philanthropy

NEW YORK, New York –There was no doubt where the philanthropic influencers of color were last Thursday evening. Hosted by Friends of Ebonie, with in-kind support from UPTOWN Magazine, COVERGIRL Queen Collection and CIROC vodka, Defining Black Philanthropy drew more than 80 young professionals of color to ImageNation RAW SPACE in Harlem for a mixer and panel discussion promoting civic engagement.

Following an hour of mixing and mingling, the panel discussion took attendees on an interactive journey through the world giving.  Led by moderator Jovian Irvin, Teach for America executive and Official Chasemaster for Janelle Monae’s Wondaland Arts Society, the discussion opened with a framing question to the audience: How often do you give?  "The core of philanthropy is not just giving, but giving in a strategic and meaningful way,” began panelist Nubia Murray, Senior Associate of Philanthropic Initiatives at JP Morgan Chase.  It was Democratic Finance Committee chair, Mike Muse who enlightened the audience to the power of philanthropy, "Philanthropy is the gateway to power. We [African Americans] are being left out of the conversation.  Being a giver now creates social currency and giving gives you the power to make requests.”  The panel also focused heavily on influence, especially the popular influence of social media.  As attendees live tweeted highlights of the conversation using the hashtag, #DefiningYBP, panelist, Amanda Ebokosia of the GEM Project, reminded the audience that 28% of the active Twitter demographic is African American.  “You don't have to have one million followers or a big title to have a voice,” Muse shared on social media influence.  Irvin fittingly ended the discussion by encouraging attendees to be proactive with their time and resources, “figure out where you are uniquely positioned to give.”  The panel also received artistic giving advice from Virginia Almendarez, Director of Individual Giving at The Apollo Theater.

The evening concluded with the opportunity for guests to engage with five New York-based non-profits looking to build relationships with new diverse volunteers.  Organizations included: New York Needs You, Generation Schools, The Apollo Theater’s Young Patrons Program, Girls Write Now and Figure Skating in Harlem.  Defining Young Black Philanthropy was also a donation site for The 24th Annual New York Cares Coat Drive; collecting a number of coats and warm outerwear for needy New Yorkers.

How was young black philanthropy defined, you ask? Friends of Ebonie Founder and President, Ebonie Johnson Cooper summarizes, "Young black philanthropy is all of who we are. It is our social influence, our culture and how we engage with our communities.”   View more photos from the event here.

About Friends of Ebonie
Friends of Ebonie is a full service social responsibility and career engagement boutique firm for millennials of color. Through its unique approach to engaging young professionals in community and career acumen, Friends of Ebonie is helping to shape Generation-Y into trailblazing leaders.  The weekly blog and daily online engagement provides more than 1,200 professionals between the ages of 22- 35 with the resources to enrich their careers and to promote change in their communities. With its career enrichment service, The Resume & Cover Letter Shop, the firm helps to shape the career lives of its audience through writing and editing services as well as in-person workshops to develop strong professional brands.  Through social engagement, workshops and webinars, Friends of Ebonie has built a community of young professionals of color dedicated to serving their community and enriching their careers.  For more information about Friends of Ebonie, please visit

Image Credit: RudineCarin Photography

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