Friday, August 30, 2013

Remembrance, Realities and Renewal for The Next 50 Years

Roundup for Black Philanthropy Month 2013: An August of Dreams and Mountaintops

The reflecting pool at the center of photographs from the 1963 March on Washington provides rich imagery deserving of reflection as August ends. Included in the picture frame are a throng of diverse citizens, expressed concerns on picket signs, a fertile gathering place, the monumental tower, the speakers’ platform, media, the wider city scene and the pool itself. Substance and symbolism fill Dr. King’s riveting speech and they abound in this scene as well. It is a view that depicts key elements required to move today’s Black philanthropy from a moment or a month to an effective and sustained movement.

Black Philanthropy Month 2013 has granted us ample opportunity to reflect on the past and also time to assess today’s realities that challenge our communities. And while this month-long wave of events, stories and giving has been phenomenal, it is the months to come that really count as we apply lessons from the past as well as new knowledge and tools to navigate toward a better future.

While it’s all but too clear where many of us stood in 1863 and in 1963, determining where we are in 2013 and where we can be in 2063 will require ongoing analysis and attention.

As “An August of Dreams and Mountaintops” comes to a close, there is still cause to celebrate because the BPM 2013 campaign will continue opportunity to get involved. The next six months—now through February’s celebrations of Black History Month provide a window to build momentum around our new Black philanthropy and renew our commitment to community change at home and abroad. You are invited to sustain celebrations of Black giving in all its forms:

  • Saving Our Future Health Summit in Chicago on Saturday, September 14th, the first-ever global forum of thought leaders concerned about Pan-African women’s health
  • Community Investment Network’s Beyond the Mountaintop conference in October 2013
  • Monthly #TuesdayTweetups @ Two on such topics as Black Women and Girls, Diaspora Giving and more
  • National Philanthropy Day celebrations in mid-November
  • Family, community and faith-based traditions during the November and December “giving season”
  • MLK Day of Service on January 20, 2014
  • More celebration of our legacy and achievements during Black History Month

And in case you missed it, be sure to check out articles, blog posts and more on Black Philanthropy Month 2013 that made headlines in the past week: has compiled a summary of our successful Black Men & Boys “TweetUp” held on August 20th.  See the recap from the Twitter chat that brought together local grassroots advocates, mentors and community leaders with leaders of nationally and globally focused philanthropic institutions. And if you’re interested in hosting your own “TweetUp” on a topic of interest, we provide 8 best practices to help you get started in the article, “Twitter For Funders: An Effective Tool for Dialogue and Engagement” for the GrantCraft blog of the Foundation Center.

The Charlotte Post features John Martin, CEO and founder of Young Black Male Leadership Alliance in the article “Helping Young Boys Find Success,” in celebration of Black Philanthropy Month.

Dr. Jackie Copeland-Carson, executive director of African Women’s Development Fund USA, the founder of Black Philanthropy Month, pens an op-ed for the Huffington Post, “Black Philanthropy Month 2013 and Beyond: Support Mother Africa, Revive the Dream.”

Tracey Webb, founder of highlights the son of civil rights leader Andrew Young in the article, “Andrew Young III Continues Father’s Philanthropic, Civil Rights Legacy as CEO of” for

Akira J. Barclay, community philanthropy professional and contributor for, shares ways that advocacy can support issues of importance to Black communities in ‘Of Dreams and Mountaintops’: Celebrating Black Philanthropy Month for

Valaida Fullwood, author of the award-winning book Giving Back is interviewed for Mosaic Magazine, “Give ‘Til It Helps.”

Charlotte Viewpoint highlights Eric Law, executive director of Hands on Charlotte and member of the New Generation of African American Philanthropists giving circle, in celebration of Black Philanthropy Month.

For a complete list of articles, interviews and other BPM 2013 features, visit

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Giving augustly, year-round

Black philanthropy is . . .

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Photograph by Charles Thomas, Jr. from the award winning book Giving Back

Black philanthropy defined in words and video by nonprofit leaders, philanthropists and everyday givers 

When people of color generously give money, time and energy to support and advance issues that negatively impact our communities. Black philanthropy has not always been acknowledged or defined. — Denise Watts, Learning Community Superintendent, Project L.I.F.T. and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

Dynamic, layered and intrinsic to who we are as a people. — Meka Sales, Program Officer, The Duke Endowment

Relevant, necessary and powerful, but it is also one of the most under-publicized and under-utilized assets in the Black community. — John Martin, CEO and Founder, YBM Leadership Alliance

Black philanthropy is where the soul meets the community. It starts with love for our community and celebrating the giving spirit among people of African descent. Black philanthropy starts with you. Your feelings. Your dreams. Your values. And it makes you part of a broader world. — Michael Chatman, founder, Michael Chatman Foundation

The giving of financial, intellectual and/or social capital by people of African descent to promote the collective wellbeing of their communities and humanity more broadly. — Jacqueline Copeland-Carson, Ph.D., Executive Director, African Women’s Development Fund USA

A concentrated effort by African Americans to give or to serve these in need. — Lucious Taylor, Grad Student, Yale Divinity School

The gifts that African Americans give back to the world that includes money, time, skills, etc. — Augusta Graves, President, Ebusua Club

Required. — Decker Ngongang, Senior Associate, Black Male Achievement Fellowship Program, Echoing Green

Love in action that Black people show for others. It is shown through giving of ourselves as well as gifts of our own resources, small and large. — Linetta J. Gilbert, Co-Leader, The Declaration Initiative

The key to eradicating poverty and all of the other ills plaguing the African American community. — Men Tchaas Ari, Chief Program Officer, Crisis Assistance Ministry

Generosity inspired by appreciation for our ancestors and aspirations for our children. — A’Lelia Bundles, President, Madam Walker/A’Lelia Walker Family Archives

The survival spirit of our ancestors coupled with a nickel and prayer propelled by the willingness to make Black communities and Black neighborhoods better than when we inherited them, by investing our individual and collective time, talent and treasure. — Darryl Lester, Assistant Director, African American Cultural Center, North Carolina State University

A deep obligation to invest in our communities and each other. — Tiffany Graham, Director of Advancement, Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts + Culture

The heart and soul of our community—the very space where we proudly invest our best, in terms of time, talent and treasure. — LaDawn Sullivan, Manager, Strengthening Neighborhoods Program, The Denver Foundation

An opportunity to build on the work of my ancestors while leaving a legacy for my children and all children. — Aimee Cole-Laramore, Associate Director, Lake Institute on Faith & Giving, Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, Indiana University

Responsible for sustaining African American socio-economic progress from slavery and Jim Crow through the Civil Rights Movement to today. — Emmett Carson, Ph.D., President and CEO, Silicon Valley Community Foundation

Critical. — Charles Thomas, Executive Director, Queen City Forward

Truth Be Told

We are pleased to present the video premiere of Truth be Told, an original poem on Black philanthropy by Valaida Fullwood, featured in her award-winning book, Giving Back:  A Tribute to Generations of Philanthropists. Watch it here.

South African Giving Circle Inspires Community, Builds Philanthropy

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Last in a series of weekly giving circle profiles for Black Philanthropy Month 2013

By Shaun Samuels, Managing Director , Technical Support & Dialogue Platform

“It takes a village to raise a child” is a well-known African proverb and perhaps one of the best illustrations of the sense of community that pervades African life. In Southern Africa, the kraal (traditional dwellings placed side by side in a circular pattern) strongly suggest that social networks are part of the fabric of family and community life.  It is not surprising then that giving and savings circles in South Africa continue to be an instrumental part of the social make-up of communities, particularly those characterized as low-income.

Although the majority of South Africa’s population come from modest or low-income backgrounds, giving of resources, materials and time is considered normal and in many cases, obligatory.  While the term “philanthropy” is not widely used, the practice of giving, steeped in the notion of “Ubuntu” (meaning humanity to others), is indeed a reality.  In recent years the spending power of the new black-middle class in South Africa has surpassed that of the white, ushering in concrete opportunities to grow the culture of giving even further.  With the legacy of colonization and apartheid, being active in creating a new society and ensuring giving is part of the DNA of democracy remains critical for the Black population.

The Technical Support and Dialogue Platform (TSDP) has, for the last four years, been involved in growing philanthropy in the country.  What began as a service to provide technical support to non-profits working in the area of philanthropy has now morphed into a fully-fledged program that encourages individual and collective giving.  TSDP realized that in order for it to truly advocate for increased giving, it needed to “walk its talk.” It became important for members of the organization to dip into its own pockets, pool together resources and support community initiatives that promise positive social change.

The TSDP Givers Circle is in its infancy, but holds exciting potential according to one of its members, Daryl Coutries. “The Circle has a massive potential to grow and the growth should be measured by the amount of lives it has touched and changed,” Daryl says. “The aim is not to change the world but rather to change the perception that nobody cares.  Making a difference in one child or a person’s life is better than doing nothing at all.”

For Judy Maharaj, the convenor of the TSDP Givers Circle, this is a personal journey that began in the tight-knit community she grew up in.   “I was not taught how to give but rather told ‘you must love by caring.’  And caring meant you cannot look at a hungry person and do nothing,” Judy recalls. “You just care and love and then the giving comes.”

Judy reflects on the process of getting a group of like-minded individuals together. “Everywhere I look people I know are giving in various ways in their lives.  For some members of the group, this is their first, formal involvement in giving and it’s very exciting.  They have always wanted to give back and help the communities around us but didn’t know how.  In this way, they have greatly appreciated TSDP convening this Givers Circle.”

While the notion of giving wasn’t hard to sell, Judy realized it was important to select people who could give systematically and be loyal to the process over a period of time. The TSDP Givers Circle now has 13 members, 7 women and 6 men.   The group is also diverse in its racial and ethnic composition.  In addition to financial donations, the group pledges to donate their time to the selected projects.

“We have only just begun to identify projects in our communities,” Judy says. “Right now it’s likely that in the coming months we will support the enhancement of a primary school’s library, a school uniform drive at the end of the year, and/or support children born and growing up in prisons.  By the end of November we would have raised 26,000 ZAR ($2,600 USD) and is set to grow.”

For more information, visit

In photo:  Member Lisa-Anne Julien and convenor Judy Maharaj of the TSDP Givers Circle

Submitted by Akira Barclay, Contributor

Thursday, August 29, 2013

8 Ways Black Philanthropists Can Help Strengthen Louisiana Communities

Today marks the 8th year since the devastating hurricane struck the Gulf Coast

Yesterday Americans remembered an historic event that tore at the country’s social fabric and exposed injustice around race, class, jobs, opportunity and freedom. Today, we recall another such American moment. If the March on Washington offered a dream, Hurricane Katrina delivered nightmares.

In recognition of the eighth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s catastrophic affects on lives and communities in the Gulf Coast region, three Louisianans were invited to share their thoughts for Black Philanthropy Month. Today, we continue the newly launched “8 Ways . . .” series with an installment from Flozell Daniels, Jr., President and CEO, Foundation for Louisiana. And New Orleans residents, Carol Bebelle and Linetta Gilbert participated in “Of Dreams and Mountaintops” interviews.

Flozell Daniels, Jr. leads Foundation for Louisiana, formerly known as Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation. The Foundation’s website describes its founding as follows:

“In the tumultuous days following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the philanthropic professionals and recovery experts recruited by Governor Kathleen Blanco to establish the Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation knew that a full and responsible recovery would entail far more than rebuilding what was lost. Amidst the chaos of disaster, the founders had the wisdom and foresight to charter an organization committed to alleviating the man-made disasters of neglect and inequity that have compromised quality of life in Louisiana and the Gulf South since long before the storms.”

Prior to his December 2007 appointment as CEO of the Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation, Daniels served as Tulane University’s Executive Director of State and Local Affairs and as an urban policy specialist for the Office of the Mayor in New Orleans. He has served as board chair of the Urban League, is a former director of Associated Catholic Charities of New Orleans and is chairman and a founding director of the Orleans Public Education Network.

Daniels, a proud graduate of New Orleans Public Schools, is an alumnus of Tulane’s MBA program and earned a B.A. in Biological Sciences from the University of New Orleans. A New Orleans native, Daniels resides in New Orleans with his wife and two teenage children. He contributed to the “8 Ways…” series with the piece below.

8 Ways Black Philanthropists Can Help Strengthen Louisiana Communities

By Flozell Daniels, Jr.
President and CEO, Foundation for Louisiana

August is a month ripe with opportunity to reflect on the continuing promise of Black philanthropy.  In Louisiana, we are celebrating examples of local Black philanthropy and we are also commemorating the eighth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. With an emphasis on strengthening Louisiana communities and recognizing the rich history of philanthropy in Louisiana’s Black communities, I offer the following list of reflections for today’s Black philanthropists and philanthropic community:

8. Set the Vision. The Biblical admonishment that “where there is no vision, the people perish” continues to resonate as communities move back to a values-based approach to strategy and action. As Black philanthropists, informed by our unique experience in America, setting our work in a visionary context gives us energy and promotes solidarity in efforts to create enduring change.

7. Dig into the data. Whether you are a devotee to big data (macro, systems-level) or small data (localized, wisdom-based), it’s important that Black philanthropy commit to framing “what” data and “whose” data informs the work going forward.

6. Have an Analysis. An oft-overlooked legacy of 1963’s “March” is the deft analyses developed by different leaders in and around the movement that led, in part, to a detailed policy agenda. The need for this kind of analytical leadership in Black philanthropy is as current as ever.

5. Get a Connection. In the South, we observe the importance of relationships as the infrastructure of our communities. This is relevant in the interest of a vision for successful Black philanthropy—having networks, relationships and consensus-building opportunities create real connections that support more endurance in Black philanthropy.

4. Keep Your Eyes On The Economic Prize. Recent analyses show little, if any, progress in Black economic wellbeing in Louisiana since Katrina or the 1963 March on Washington. Black philanthropy must redouble efforts to expand holistic economic security, asset development and wealth building as a generational strategy. If not, 50 years from now we’ll be having the same conversation.

3. Invest In The Affirmative. Contrary to the common narrative, Black Americans share a legacy of being the conscience of America: creative, durable, hard working, family and community oriented, forgiving and, loving. Investing in practices that support the more affirmative parts of people’s lives remains an important battlefront for Black philanthropy.

2. Civic Leadership Matters. An enduring legacy of post-Katrina philanthropic investments is the advancement of civic leadership that continues to support meaningful policy work. In contemplating the next generation of work, civic engagement and leadership is a critical investment for Black philanthropists to consider.

1. Redemption and the Beloved Community. Whether your focus is on the school-to-prison pipeline, housing policy, public education or prisoner re-entry, the need to reshape our policy agenda in terms of redemption and toward a more fair and just community is eminent. Each investment and action taken therein should support this ultimate goal, and should be the basis upon which we measure our work.

Look out for new installments in the “8 Ways…” series, which will continue with compilations of ideas, values and strategies from philanthropy’s thought leaders through February, under the Black Philanthropy Month 2013 campaign.

Contributed by Valaida Fullwood

Described an “idea whisperer,” Valaida brings unbridled imagination and a gift for harnessing wild ideas to her work as a writer and project strategist. She is a founding member of Charlotte’s New Generation of African American Philanthropists and author of “Giving Back: A Tribute to Generations of African American Philanthropists.” For more, follow, @ValaidaF and @BlkGivesBackCLT.

Community within Philanthropy: An ‘Of Dreams and Mountaintops’ Interview with Linetta J. Gilbert

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Linetta J. Gilbert is well known and highly regarded in the fields of community development and philanthropy. A resident of New Orleans, she consults nationally on a variety of issues.  Gilbert also is co-leader of The Declaration Initiative (TDI), which seeks to improve the quality of life of America’s poorest. TDI works to motivate leaders and communities across country to invest in ensuring that even the poorest have access to the promises of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, as penned in the Declaration of Independence.

For nine years, Gilbert served as a program officer at the Ford Foundation, specializing in programming and grantmaking related to community philanthropy and civic culture in the U.S. and abroad. In this role, she led several initiatives, including the Community Philanthropy, Race and Equity in the American South Initiative, the US-Mexico Border Philanthropy Partnership, the Gulf Coast Transformation Initiative, as well as Ford's investments in community philanthropy around the world. A significant part of Gilbert’s work has focused on expanding the definition of community philanthropy to represent the various pools and types of philanthropic capital to be organized for the betterment of communities.

In 2008, Gilbert received the Robert W. Scrivner Award for creative grantmaking and the Critical Impact Award from the US Council on Foundations in Washington, D.C. She recently shared some reflections in recognition of Black Philanthropy Month and below is her interview.

Black philanthropy is . . .

Black philanthropy is love in action that Black people show for others. It is shown through giving of ourselves as well as gifts of our own resources, small and large.

What are your thoughts on where America stands 50 years after Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech?

I was thirteen years old when Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King delivered that famous speech. It was a speech that called anyone who heard it to examine her or his personal conscience and public decisions. Dr. King insisted that we consider our collective responsibility for achieving America’s basic aspirations written 187 years before as the Colonists passionately claimed freedom of opportunity. He asked us to align our national values with our individual consciences. Today, we are required to do the same. We have collected and examined the data on the great American experiment of democracy. The data suggests that Americans must change the way that we are implementing the experiment so that we ensure the achievement of our aspirations of racial equality and social justice in our lifetime.

When it comes to society or our community, what is your “dream” or aspiration?

My dream for our people is to witness many more of us living and leading ourselves and others based on our wisdom, knowledge and compassion.

In terms of your philanthropic endeavors, what’s your “mountaintop” or highest achievement to date?

My highest achievement in philanthropy has been to identify, invest in and infuse the field of philanthropy with new thought leaders who are committed to deepening the impact of community-based giving world wide.

Name a book that has shaped your philanthropy.

Two books have shaped my understanding about philanthropy: Why We Can’t Wait by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King (1964) and Longitude by Dava Sobel (1995).

Read the growing number of interviews composing the BPM 2013 “Of Dreams and Mountaintops” series here:

Contributed by Valaida Fullwood
Described an “idea whisperer,” Valaida brings unbridled imagination and a gift for harnessing wild ideas to her work as a writer and project strategist. She is a founding member of Charlotte’s New Generation of African American Philanthropists and author of “Giving Back: A Tribute to Generations of African American Philanthropists.” For more, follow, @ValaidaF and @BlkGivesBackCLT.

An ‘Of Dreams and Mountaintops’ Interview with Carol Bebelle, New Orleans Community Leader

A native New Orleanian, Carol Bebelle co-founded Ashé Cultural Arts Center (Ashé CAC), along with Douglas Redd, in 1998.  Ashé CAC is dedicated to community and human development using culture and art, and it became a central player in the rebuilding of New Orleans post-Katrina, particularly in the Central City community and the city’s cultural landscape.

Bebelle was among those featured in the “Healing Histories” initiative of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, an online interactive documentary that calls on Americans to engage in a dialogue around racial equity and racial healing.

Bebelle is a graduate of Loyola and Tulane universities.  She has a 20-year career in the public sector as an administrator and planner of human service programs.  She also is a consultant offering planning, development, and grant writing services to human service programs.  Her clients are non-profits, religious programs, entrepreneurs and artists.

A published poet and essayist, Bebelle is a popular panelist and commentator on the transformative power of culture.  Her written works can be found in various anthologies, reports and journals.  For Black Philanthropy Month, she generously shared her thoughts as a part of the “Of Dreams and Mountaintops” interview series. An abridged version is below and her full interview can be found at the Collective Influence blog of the Community Investment Network.

Black philanthropy is . . .

Black philanthropy is the sharing of your personal or collaborated resources, time, treasure and talent with others, not necessarily related to you, for the general good and love of the community.

What are your thoughts on where America stands 50 years after Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech?

Dr. King understood clearly that all things are relative as did the founding fathers in their notion of “a more perfect union.”  Dr. King’s inspiring and much studied words give us clear standards to measure by as well: poverty diminished or disappeared, justice in bountiful presence, people enjoying the pleasure of life without judgment, equal access and opportunity. These standards still remain as unmet goals for our democratic society. We are neither perfect nor have we arrived at the gold standard of a fully activated democracy.

When it comes to society or our community, what is your “dream” or aspiration?

An end to poverty.
An existence that has working class as a launch and minimum starting point for every family.
An end to racism, sexism, homophobia, classism, ageism and adultism.
An existence that is full of opportunity for all.
An assured existence that is safe and secure for all.
An existence where all children are valued and given a high quality education and preparation for life.
An existence where prisons are ended and institutions that work to really rehabilitate those who go astray are used to replace them.
An existence that values family in every form it comes.

In terms of your philanthropic endeavors, what’s your “mountaintop” or highest achievement to date?

Realizing that generosity is not a quality available only to those who have large excesses of money. Being generous in the contribution of money, time and sharing yourself, even and especially when it is not convenient, is part of the formula for democracy.

Name a book that has shaped your philanthropy.

Giving Back: A Tribute to Generations of African American Philanthropists, by Valaida Fullwood (2011)

Visit and get involved in BPM 2013: An August of Dreams and Mountaintops.

Contributed by Valaida Fullwood
Described an “idea whisperer,” Valaida brings unbridled imagination and a gift for harnessing wild ideas to her work as a writer and project strategist. She is a founding member of Charlotte’s New Generation of African American Philanthropists and author of “Giving Back: A Tribute to Generations of African American Philanthropists.” For more, follow, @ValaidaF and @BlkGivesBackCLT.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Spotlight Pivots to the Visionary Founder of and The Black Benefactors

The difference between a dreamer and a visionary is that a dreamer has his eyes closed and a visionary has his eyes open. ― Martin Luther King, Jr. "I Have a Dream," 28 August 1963

It is the exceptional visionary that opens our eyes. “A young Black woman making history as the first online chronicler of Black philanthropy,” as observed by The Huffington Post’s Black Voices, Tracey Webb has opened eyes and minds with a steady stream of stories about African-descent giving since 2007.

Webb is the creator of (BGB), heralded as the premier website on Black philanthropy. BGB showcases the rich and long history of African Americans as benefactors.  She is driven by the firm belief that telling the once-untold stories of giving by Black people will inspire others to give back and have an impact on their communities.

Colleagues and admirers shared these observations about Webb’s passion and groundbreaking work on the philanthropic front.

Akira Barclay, BGB New York contributor:

“Tracey Webb is a visionary who was able to see back in 2007 that the news cycle about philanthropy was missing something.  It is an honor to work with her as a contributor to and be inspired by her wisdom and ideas.

“ stands alone in the field of philanthropy as a destination that simultaneously educates, entertains and enlightens.  Uniquely, its audience includes professionals in the field as well as mainstream readers who are attracted to the good news and positive images the site delivers.”

Edward Jones, member of The Black Benefactors:
“Tracey Webb’s humble but deep commitment to giving to those who are often neglected or underserved lit her philanthropic fuse.  Thanks to that spark, she’s now spreading the spirit of giving in two important ways.  She founded the virtual, global ‘giving news network’ (GNN) called and the homegrown giving circle called The Black Benefactors.  Whether local, through her giving circle, or global, by preaching the giving gospel through BGB, we are blessed by Tracey’s vision and commitment to others.”

Chad Jones, executive director, Community Investment Network:
“ is an unparalleled platform that identifies and elevates stories and examples of who, what and where Black philanthropy in the US and throughout the Diaspora is heading in the 21st century.  True to the essence of vanguard blogs, BGB builds community among the contributors and readers.

“Tracey’s site continues the legacy of independent Black newspapers of the last 150 years with an ear to the ground, telling stories that would otherwise be missed or deemed unimportant by other press outlets and blogs.  It is a trumpet for stories of Black philanthropy and it resonates with a broad spectrum of people and institutions. Rather than wait for others to tell these stories, celebrates the praiseworthy philanthropy of, by and for Black people.”

A Washington, DC native and Howard University alum, Webb has over 20 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, working in various disciplines, including program management, grantmaking, development and direct services.  In 2005, she formed The Black Benefactors, a giving circle that supports organizations serving the African American community in the Washington, DC region. 

Recently, AT&T’s “The Bridge” named Webb among its “Four Influential Black Bloggers to Know” and her site ranked 25th among the Top 150 Nonprofit Blogs. Webb’s honors and awards include becoming the first recipient of the Black Philanthropic Alliance’s Legacy Award, being named an “Influential” for MLK Day in 2011 and receiving an inaugural Living Legacy Award from the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) in 2012.  Major media regularly feature Webb, including the August 2011 “Black Wealth” issue of Ebony magazine, the premiere episode of “The Root Live” on The,, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, The New York Times,, and the book, Black Is the New Green: Marketing to Affluent African Americans.

Poised, quiet and reserved in person, Webb unleashes her energy on the pages of her website with stories about people around our nation and globe.  For the first time ever, she sat for a BGB interview to share some of her own thoughts for the “Of Dreams and Mountaintops” series.

Black philanthropy is…

Black philanthropy is the foundation of Black America.  Our ancestors pooled their money, sweat and dreams to create learning institutions, churches and mutual aid societies that are still in existence today.

What are your thoughts on where America stands 50 years after Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech? 

We have made great strides, even electing an African American as President twice, but racial disparities in the areas of education, health, unemployment and more continue to permeate Black communities.  I'd like to see increased collaboration among organizations working toward addressing these issues for even greater results.

When it comes to society or our community, what is your “dream” or aspiration?

I have a dream that all Black Americans will see the true value in their financial giving, taking measure to make it strategic and a part of their annual budget.

In terms of your philanthropic endeavors, what is your “mountaintop” or highest achievement to date?

Creating and The Black Benefactors giving circle in 2007.   Many people ask me if these projects are my full-time jobs, but they are not (although I would like it to be!). I started BGB as a hobby because I wanted to share my passion for philanthropy with others and inspire people to give.   I also wanted to dispel the stereotype that African Americans are passive recipients of philanthropy, when in fact, we are great benefactors.  A couple of months after I introduced BGB, I launched The Black Benefactors.   To date we have granted $14,000 to nine organizations in the Washington, DC area that serve the African American community. I am humbled at the support and awards I have received for both.

Name a book that has shaped your philanthropy. 

When I was a graduate student at Howard University in the 90s, I read Savage Inequalities by Jonathan Kozol (1991).   It really opened my eyes to the disparities in the nation's educational system and the subsequent impact on Black communities. The book shaped my philanthropy in that I then began to focus my giving on education related causes. And I am a big fan of Valaida Fullwood's book, Giving Back: A Tribute to Generations of African American Philanthropists (2011). It is an eloquent display of photography and stories that truly capture what Black giving is all about.

Contributed by Valaida Fullwood
Described an “idea whisperer,” Valaida brings unbridled imagination and a gift for harnessing wild ideas to her work as a writer and project strategist. She is a founding member of Charlotte’s New Generation of African American Philanthropists and author of “Giving Back: A Tribute to Generations of African American Philanthropists.” For more, follow, @ValaidaF and @BlkGivesBackCLT.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Philanthropy on The Vineyard II: Annual Summit Luncheon Named in Honor of Charisse R. Lillie, President and CEO of Comcast Foundation

It’s been a full year since the inaugural invitation-only Head and Heart Philanthropy Summit on Martha’s Vineyard was held that featured discussions on giving in the United States and globally.   On August 8 - 10, 2013, a new slate of talented professionals from across the country convened for a three day experience filled with educational sessions, networking, touring and participating in the Harlem Fine Arts Show and the Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival.

Learning opportunities from leaders in the field included Aimée Laramore, associate director at Lake Institute on Faith and Giving and Christal M. Jackson, founder of Head and Heart Philanthropy, followed by an “Investors Roundtable” featuring Lauren Walters, CEO of Two Degrees Food and Adoara Udoji, founder of Boshia Group.   One of the outcomes from the summit was an investment in Walters’ foundation toward feeding hungry kids in Haiti, which was matched by The Happy Hearts Foundation founded by philanthropist and super model, Petra Nemcova.

On Thursday, summit attendees joined the Run & Shoot Filmworks’ Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival for their annual “All White” reception and screening of the film “Unsilenced -The Anita Hill Story.”  A discussion followed that was hosted by NPR featuring Anita Hill, Freida Mock, the movie’s director and Charles Ogletree, Harvard Law School Professor.

Day two of the summit featured sessions including “The Public, Media and Philanthropy” facilitated by thought leaders Kelly Brinkley, COO of United Way National Capitol Area and Karen Avery, director of PBS Foundation; “The Model of Sustainability and Impact” led by La June Montgomery Tabron, executive vice president and treasurer of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation; and “Philanthropy and the Arts” by Anna Barber, major gifts officer, National Museum of African American History and Culture - Smithsonian; and Shannon King Nash, CEO of Nash Management Group and member of Cohort I.

In recognition of her pioneering spirit and tremendous accomplishments in the philanthropy sector, Head and Heart’s annual luncheon, held at the Harbor View Hotel, was named in honor of the keynote speaker, President and CEO of Comcast Foundation, Charisse R. Lillie.  She was pleasantly surprised and joined by several family members, friends and fellow islanders.

The summit concluded with “Coffee & Conversation” presentation by Darryl K. Lester, president & CEO of Hindsight Consulting and assistant director of the African American Cultural Center at North Carolina State University, and Rashad Robinson, Executive Director of who discussed the progress being made on “Stand Your Ground” laws across the country and the implications of the recent decision on the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

“I was honored to receive an invitation to attend the Head and Heart Summit. I was very impressed with how the program integrated funding practices of the legendary funders with the approaches utilized by new philanthropy.   What a brilliant idea to create a forum for our shared learning.   We all left enlightened and energized about the work,” shared La June Montgomery Tabron.

Cohort III participants were Tracey Allison, attorney; Walter August, pastor and founder, Bethel Family Baptist Church; Karen E. Avery, senior director of institutional giving, PBS Foundation; Kyle D. Bacon, mentor program coordinator, U.S. Dream Academy; Anna Barber, major gift officer, Smithsonian Institution; Kelly V. Brinkley, chief operating officer, United Way of the National Capital Area; Dion Clarke, CEO and president, JWD Enterprises; Gizelle Clemens, MPA candidate, Rutgers University; Lybra S. Clemons, consultant; Ebonie Johnson Cooper, founder,; Dr. Reagan Flowers, founder, CSTEM (Communication-Science-Technology-Engineering-Mathematics) Teacher & Student Support Services, Inc.; Albert R. Gladden, consultant; Christopher Hammond, The Parish Foundation; Dr. Schnavia Smith Hatcher, director, Center for African American Studies at The University of Texas at Arlington; Aimée A. Laramore, associate director, Lake Institute on Faith & Giving; Darryl K. Lester, assistant director, African American Cultural Center, North Carolina State University; Charisse R. Lillie, president, Comcast Foundation; Julie Marlette, executive director, New York Campaign for Achievement Now (NYCAN); Dr. Sheila Smith McKoy, director, African American Cultural Center and Africana Studies Program, North Carolina State University; Samaia Muhammad, major gifts officer, Advancement Project; Frances Naiga Muwonge, Esq.; Shannon Nash, film producer and president, Nash Management Group, Inc.; Rashad Robinson, executive director, Color of Change; J. Sakiya Sandifer, founder, We Think LLC; MeShelle Foreman Shields, comedienne; Tori Wright Soudan, shoe designer and entrepreneur; Debra Vanderburg Spencer, independent curator and art historian; La June Montgomery Tabron, chief operating officer and treasurer, W.K. Kellogg Foundation; Steven J. Toll, co-founder and treasurer, Lolly’s Locks; Reverend Dr. Eboni Marshall Turman, director, Office of Black Church Studies and Assistant Research Professor of Black Church Studies, Duke University; Adaora Udoji, founder, The Boshia Group; Lauren Walters, co-founder and CEO, Two Degrees Food; Jacqueline M. Washington, M.D., founder, Save Our Hands and Atlanta Neuromuscular Diagnostics; Tandelyn Atkinson Weaver, executive director, The Kingdom Builders’ Center; and Topher Wilkins, CEO, Opportunity Collaboration.

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Cohort III attendees of Head and Heart Philanthropy Summit

Sponsors and partners of this year’s Philanthropy on the Vineyard were Comcast, the Guild Agency, The Caraway Group, The LVS Agency and K. Marie and Associates, LLC.

About Head and Heart Philanthropy
Head and Heart Philanthropy an invitation only convening of philanthropists and high net-worth individuals centered on the best practices in philanthropy, domestic/global funding opportunities and initiatives that are of importance to communities of color. Learn more at

Top photo:  Head and Heart Philanthropy Founder Christal Jackson with President and CEO of the Comcast Foundation Charisse R. Lillie.

Photos courtesy of Head and Heart Philanthropy

Monday, August 26, 2013

Dr. Jacqueline Copeland-Carson Works To Expand Bridges Across Communities and Continents

Founder of Black Philanthropy Month and Founding Executive Director of African Women’s Development Fund USA is building a global network to strengthen Black communities

In 2011, Jacqueline Copeland-Carson, Ph.D. (pictured 2nd from left) became executive director of the African Women’s Development Fund USA (AWDF USA).  Her global charitable fund provides a vehicle for effective American philanthropy to Africa and builds the capacity of the continent’s women for social change and sustainable development.

Dr. Copeland-Carson has worked as a philanthropy scholar and practitioner for almost 30 years, internationally and in the United States.  She has been an executive, grantmaker, evaluator, strategist and researcher for numerous foundations, including the TY Danjuma, Philadelphia Foundation, Noyes, Women’s Funding Network, Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees, Institute for the Future, Bertelsmann, U.S. Bank Private Client Group and many others.  Her writings are influential and examine issues in globalization, diaspora studies and social theory, evaluation, women’s leadership, and development.   She is author of several articles and books on African development issues and a philanthropy blogger for Huffington Post and other online publications.

A recent Ubuntu Award winner, Dr. Copeland-Carson was recognized by Priority Africa Network for her contributions to African people’s development.  She also was a recipient of the Bush Foundation’s prestigious Leadership Fellowship for her contributions as an activist scholar.  Dr. Copeland-Carson served on the boards of more than 20 nonprofit organizations, and founded the Pan-African Women’s Philanthropy Network, a rapidly growing diaspora philanthropy community.

Dr. Copeland-Carson is a graduate of University of Pennsylvania, where she attained a doctorate in anthropology and two master’s degrees, in urban planning and in cultural anthropology.  She holds undergraduate degrees in literature from Georgetown University, with a certificate in African studies from its School for Foreign Service, including studies at Nigeria’s University of Ife.  Below are thoughts she shared for our “Of Dreams and Mountaintops” interview series.

Black philanthropy is . . .

Black philanthropy is the giving of financial, intellectual and/or social capital by people of African descent to promote the collective wellbeing of their communities and humanity more broadly.  It is not just a US phenomenon and does not only refer to Blacks giving to Black organizations.  Black philanthropy encompasses the giving and volunteerism of Black people everywhere to any institution.   Ubiquitous throughout Africa and its worldwide diaspora, it represents a long tradition of generosity represented in the ancient Nigerian proverb: “Wealth is not what a man has but what he gives away.”

What are your thoughts on where America and the world stands 50 years after Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech?

America and the world are at a crossroads.  On the one hand, we have the country’s first Black president with a recent African heritage—something unimaginable 50 years ago.  But at the same time, we are witnessing a post-recession erosion of civil rights laws, economic opportunity and mobility, and community compassion represented in policies like the Stand Your Ground Law and more.   Worldwide, our basic social and economic systems are at a breaking point.  Many economies are growing at the same time environmental degradation and social disparity increase.  My hope is that we all realize that promoting King's “dream” of social justice for all is not political but an absolute moral imperative for the sustainability of our communities and the planet.

When it comes to society or our community, what is your “dream” or aspiration?

The dream that I work for everyday is a world where everyone, including Black people and women worldwide, have an equal opportunity to realize their innate talents and live with dignity.

In terms of your philanthropic endeavors, what’s your “mountaintop” or highest achievement to date?

Because of the support of others throughout my life, I have been fortunate to have many accomplishments as a philanthropy professional.  But my highest personal achievement has been my personal philanthropy and volunteerism to create a global network of diverse women devoted to giving to Black communities everywhere as well as UN recognition of Black Philanthropy Month (BPM)—both of which are now AWDF USA projects since I became executive director.   My hope is that both the network and BPM help to build a global coalition of social justice movement for Mother Africa and her children worldwide—including the Black diaspora and our allies of all backgrounds, as we are, in the end, all Africa’s progeny.

Name a book that has shaped your philanthropy.

Religious texts, especially the New Testament, but also scripture of other religions have influenced my sense that giving back is not only socially responsible but morally necessary to maintain balance and justice at all level of society and the universe—the Golden Rule, Karma, etc.   As an African American with Gullah roots from South Carolina raised in Philadelphia, I would have to say my first reading of the Slave Narratives as well as many of the classic autobiographies from America’s slave period have most influenced my devotion to social justice philanthropy and a global sense of Black philanthropy.   These first-person accounts document our people’s amazingly resilient social networks, diversity and cultural creativity, reminding us that our traditions of giving and mutual support can change our condition and the world.

Read Dr. Carson's op-ed in the Huffington Post, "Black Philanthropy Month 2013 and Beyond: Support Mother Africa, Revive the Dream" here.

Visit and get involved in BPM 2013: An August of Dreams and Mountaintops.

Contributed by Valaida Fullwood
Described an “idea whisperer,” Valaida brings unbridled imagination and a gift for harnessing wild ideas to her work as a writer and project strategist. She is a founding member of Charlotte’s New Generation of African American Philanthropists and author of “Giving Back: A Tribute to Generations of African American Philanthropists.” For more, follow, @ValaidaF and @BlkGivesBackCLT.

USPS Unveils 1963 March on Washington Limited Edition Forever Stamp

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Thurgood Marshall Jr.; Congressman John Lewis; US District Judge Alexander Williams; Actress Gabrielle Union; Deputy Postmaster General Ronald A. Stroman; President & CEO, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights Wade Henderson; Entertainer Joe Coleman; and VP, Sales & Marketing, Newseum Scott Williams

“Equality has a stamp of its own” as on Friday, August 23, 2013, the US Postal Service (USPS), with the help of Georgia Congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis and Actress Gabrielle Union, unveiled its’ “1963 March on Washington” (MOW) Forever Stamp at the Newseum in Washington, DC.   The limited-edition commemorative stamp observing the march’s 50th Anniversary is the last in a trio, joining the “Rosa Parks” and the “150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation” versions that debuted earlier this year.

At the first-day-of-issue ceremony held at the museum, remarks, gratitude and recollections of an era past were shared by Master of Ceremonies US District Judge Alexander Williams; Scott Williams, VP of Sales & Marketing, Newseum; and Wade Henderson, President & Chief Executive Officer, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights.

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Congressman John Lewis speaks to the audience.

Lewis, who is the last surviving speaker from the march, echoed similar sentiments as those on stage and spoke in depth about the planning of the original MOW fifty years ago.  “It is so appropriate and so fitting for the United States Postal Service to issue this Forever stamp on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington,” Lewis said in a released statement.  “The march was one of the turning points in the on-going struggle for civil rights and social justice in America.   In the years to come, when individuals use this stamp, they will be reminded of the distance we have come and the progress we have made as a nation.   And they will be reminded of the civic duty of every American to stand up for what is right in our democracy.”

Before Friday’s event, as a first of its kind effort, USPS encouraged interactive participation by asking those on social media to contribute to the stamp’s virtual artwork by adding a Facebook or Twitter profile photo as a pixel up until just moments before its’ issuance.  Friends and followers received a tweet or message from those in their networks who became part of the mosaic, inviting them to join the movement as well.

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An interactive screen at the 1963 March on Washington Forever Stamp issuance ceremony shows a social media profile photo added to the stamp’s virtual mosaic.

The stamp, under the art direction of Antonio Alcalá and created by artist Gregory Manchess, was then revealed by Ronald A. Stroman, Deputy Postmaster General, Lewis, Union, and others to the audience while concurrently being shown on USPS’ Facebook Page.

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Audience members included Thurgood Marshall, Jr., speaking with Gabrielle Union

The Newseum was a fitting location as the 250,000 square foot museum has two related exhibits: ‘Make Some Noise: Students and the Civil Rights Movement’ exploring “the new generation of student leaders in the early 1960s who fought segregation by making their voices heard and exercising their First Amendment rights” and ‘Civil Rights at 50’ which “chronicles milestones…from 1963, 1964 and 1965 through historic front pages, magazines and news images.”

To learn more about the USPS’s newest 1963 March On Washington stamp and the entire civil rights series, or to purchase, please visit

Story submitted by Stacey Trammel.  Follow her on Twitter @Buzzology.

Friday, August 23, 2013

10 Historic Landmarks Symbolic of the Civil Rights Movement

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The Malcolm X – Ella Little Collins house (Photo credit: Steve Dunwell)

As the country prepares to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream” speech, the National Trust for Historic Preservation has compiled a list of 10 civil rights landmarks, five preserved and five endangered, that are symbolic to the Civil Rights movement.   The organization has worked closely with the communities of several of the sites to help bring their personal stories to the public such as the Malcolm X – Ella Little Collins house (pictured above), the last known surviving boyhood home of Malcolm X.

Among the preserved landmarks is the F.W. Woolworth Building in Greensboro, N.C. that was the scene of a “sit in” that began with four college freshmen at the stores “white’s only” lunch counter and ended with more than 400 peaceful protesters.  A year later, 126 cities, including Greensboro, had integrated their restaurants and lunch counters.  Today the building houses the International Civil Rights Center and Museum and includes the original portion of the lunch counter and stools where the four pioneering students sat.

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F.W. Woolworth Building in Greensboro, N.C.

Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) are among the endangered sites that include Pillerman and Gore Residence Halls at West Virginia State University, built in the early 1900s.  Many of the buildings on HBCU campuses have stood for more than a century. During the civil rights movement, campuses like West Virginia State University were meeting places for students and the communities to come together and lead peaceful rallies.  Both sites are eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places and are currently facing demolition.  Local preservation groups are urging the county to reconsider.

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Pillerman and Gore Residence Halls at West Virginia State University

The remaining sites are the Rosa Parks Bus, Daisy Bates House, Lorraine Hotel and Freedom Rides Museum (preserved); and Paul Robeson House, Medgar Evers Home and Emmett Till Sites – Bryant Store (endangered).

For more information, read the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s report, “Preserving African American Historic Places” and visit the website at to learn how to support historic landmarks in your community.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Philanthropy For And By The People

BGB Contributor and Giving Back Author Valaida Fullwood To Deliver Keynote Message at North Carolina Nonprofits Conference

Opening with a breakfast keynote speech by Valaida Fullwood, author of Giving Back: A Tribute to Generations of African American Philanthropists, the N.C. Center for Nonprofits 2013 annual statewide conference will take place in Concord, North Carolina, September 19-20. “Nonprofits Making the Difference” is the theme of this year’s gathering, which is set to draw over 500 conference participants. The conference offers a mix of timely topics, intensive workshops, top-notch presenters and networking opportunities for nonprofit staff, board and volunteers.

“Nonprofits make an extraordinary difference in communities across North Carolina,” says Trisha Lester, Vice President of N.C. Center for Nonprofits. “The people who do this work—staff, board, and volunteer leaders—must be supported so that they can engage and learn from others, network with their peers and be reminded of why they do what they do. Our hope is that the conference gives them those opportunities and more.”

Titled “Philanthropy For and By The People,” Fullwood’s keynote is informed by knowledge gained about embracing democratic principles and engaging in inclusive philanthropy while developing her book Giving Back. Also influencing her beliefs are experiences with the giving circle New Generation of African American Philanthropists, which is a member of the Community Investment Network. In recognition of Black Philanthropy Month, N.C. Center for Nonprofits shared some of Fullwood’s thoughts with its membership through a guest blogpost, I Dream of A Day.

About N.C. Center for Nonprofits
The mission of N.C. Center for Nonprofits is to enrich North Carolina’s communities and economy through a strong nonprofit sector and nonprofit voice. The Center serves as an information center on effective practices in nonprofit organizations, a statewide network for nonprofit board and staff members, and an advocate for the nonprofit sector as a whole.

Nonprofits themselves created the Center. Concerned about the growing challenges they faced, nonprofit leaders across the state saw the need to work together to increase the impact of their organizations and their whole nonprofit sector. Jane Kendall founded the Center in 1990. Initial priorities were set with input from 2,153 leaders in nonprofits, foundations, businesses and government from the state’s 100 counties. Today, the Center seeks daily input for continuous improvement to respond to the changing environment for nonprofits.

Register for the statewide conference and learn more at:

Photo credit: Charles W. Thomas, Jr.

In Case You Missed It Part III: Black Philanthropy Month 2013 Roundup

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It’s been another phenomenal week for Black Philanthropy Month and in case you missed anything, here’s a recap!

Our weekly #BPM2013 #TuesdayTweetUp (Twitter chat) on black men and boys was our biggest to date. Presented in partnership with and co-hosted by Shawn Dove, manager of the Black Male Achievement Campaign at Open Society Foundations and Tonya Allen, CEO of the Skillman Foundation, participants shared their thoughts on philanthropy’s role in advancing black male achievement. The response was so great that the #BPM2013 hashtag became a top trending topic in Washington, DC.   Here’s a sampling of the tweets: will post a full recap of the Black men and boys #BPM2013 TweetUp soon.  Be sure to visit the website!

And check out these Black Philanthropy Month news articles in the past week:

Charlotte Viewpoint features “A conversation with David L. Howard,” Senior Vice President of Special Projects and Community Affairs, The Housing Partnership in Charlotte, NC in observation of Black Philanthropy Month.   Howard shares about his first memory of generosity and how it influences his philanthropy:
“My grandmother’s dedication to serving and helping others became a part of who I am.  I have spent the majority of my career on the grant seeker side of philanthropy, which has given me a greater appreciation and respect for the need for more individuals to get involved.  Philanthropy is important and necessary to support and undergird the social fabric of our community. Government and business cannot do it all. Philanthropy provides the community the opportunity to participate.”

Laura Savage writes Celebrating Black Philanthropy Month for the San Francisco Bay View.

The Charlotte Post features Charles Thomas, Jr., Executive Director, Queen City Forward and co-author of the award-winning book ‘Giving Back: A Tribute to Generations of African American Philanthropists.’

Charlotte Viewpoint presents “A conversation with Lucious Taylor,” Graduate School Student at Yale School of Divinity.  In this moving article, Taylor shares his decision to transition from the corporate world to enrolling in divinity school:

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“I was relatively young, 29 years old, and single.  I thought now is the best time to make a move before settling down with a family or before I got too old.  I was torn between going to business school for an MBA to advance my career or enrolling in divinity school to seek further understanding of my faith but with no aspirations of becoming a pastor or to work for a church.  As much as I enjoyed my investment management career, I started to realize my thoughts weren’t about the whys of the market as much as they were about the whys of life.

A turning point came one day observing a man plundering through a trash bin outside of one of Wells Fargo’s corporate centers in downtown Charlotte.  It was during the peak time of day while everyone was outside having lunch. I noticed the man had no reservations about who watched him or what they thought; his only concern seemed to be finding something to satisfy his hunger pains.  The dichotomy of poverty right outside a center of global wealth was disturbing.  One because I’ve never seen hunger so vividly in front of me and two because I sat there and did nothing but watched.  As I went back to the office I thought hard about ways I could marry my faith with my career.  My conclusion was if individuals could spend countless hours during the day figuring out ways to securitize debt for profit, surely that same innovation and intellect could be used to solve issues of homelessness in downtown Charlotte.”

BPM 2013 Social Media Ally Nakisha Lewis pens “Black Philanthropy Month 2013: Of Dreams and Mountaintops” for her blog Next Gen Change Agent. If you’re in Boston, join her tonight along with Resource Generation and New England Blacks in Philanthropy for “The Heart of Community: Reflections on Justice and Giving” in celebration of Black Philanthropy Month.

Chad U. Jones, executive director of Community Investment Network shares about Black Philanthropy Month for “Smart Assets,” the blog for Philanthropy New York.

See a full list of all media mentions at

Don’t forget our BPM matching campaign! Donate to ANY classroom project of your choice and up to $50 will be matched during August!

Evidence, A Dance Company Celebrates 10th Annual “On Our Toes”… In The Hamptons Summer Benefit

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The Young Patron Committee of Evidence, A Dance Company’s 10th Annual "On Our Toes"... In The Hamptons Summer Benefit

NEW YORK, NY – In its 10th year of showcasing African-American culture in the Hamptons, Evidence, A Dance Company held its annual “On Our Toes” Hamptons Summer Benefit on August 17th, on the sprawling grounds of the Hayground School in Bridgehampton.

This year’s summer affair, which has become one of the premier cultural events of the Hamptons social season, raised funds to support the contemporary dance company’s community outreach programs and full benefits for dancers.  Evidence, A Dance Company is under the direction of Founder and Artistic Director Ronald K. Brown, the world-renowned choreographer of Tony Award-winning The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess and 2012 recipient of the Fred and Adele Astaire Award for Outstanding Choreographer in a Broadway show.

Sag Harbor residents Susan L. Taylor, Editor Emerita of Essence Magazine and founder of National CARES Mentoring Movement, Inc., and her husband Khephra Burns, author, playwright and producer, served as the benefit’s Honorary Chairs.  The power couple hosted Evidence’s first summer benefit 10 years ago at Nova’s Ark in Bridgehampton to bring the arts and dance from the African Diaspora to the Hamptons. “I love how they lift up our history, culture and spirit,” effused Taylor about the internationally-acclaimed dance company.

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Reginald Van Lee, Evidence Chair Emeritus; Khephra Burns; Ronald K. Brown, Artistic Director, Evidence, A Dance Company; and Susan L. Taylor

More than 200 guests from the arts and entertainment industry and the business community turned out to support the dance company.  Notable guests in attendance were Evidence chair emeritus Reginald Van Lee; Alvin Ailey dancers Fana Tesfagiorgis and Matthew Rushing; Alicia and Daniel Bythewood; Brie Bythewood; Tawana Tibbs and Bruce Gordon; Peg Alston and Willis Burton; Michael Heningburg and Dr. Jeanine B. Downie; Reginald Canal; Dr. Ancy Verdier; and Donna Williams, among other distinguished guests.

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Bruce Gordon, Tawana Tibbs, Jonelle Procope and Fred Terrell

During the cocktail hour, guests enjoyed drinks and fine wines courtesy of Moet Hennessy.  Guests feasted on an array of delectable appetizers catered by Harlem’s famed 5 and Diamond Restaurant, which specializes in modern American foods with a Spanish influence.

Following cocktails, guests entered a large tent furnished with white lounge chairs, sofas and high tables for a dance performance, live auction, light dinner, dessert and Evidence’s signature “Dancing with the Dancers.” Gail Monroe-Perry, Evidence’s Board Secretary, opened the summer benefit by welcoming guests and thanking them for supporting the 10th Annual “On Our Toes” event.

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For entertainment, Broadway's Porgy and Bess star Andrea Jones-Sojola delighted guests with a soul-stirring rendition of the song “Summertime” from Porgy and Bess; and the dance company presented a special performance of HIGH LIFE, which draws striking parallels of the Great Migration in the U.S. by depicting the journeys from the South to the North and from West African villages to the city.

Evidence board member Reginald Canal led a “Bricks and Mortar” that raised $30,000 to support the dance company.  A live auction offered bidders an opportunity to win private, luxury villa vacations to Italy and France; VIP sport experiences to the Super Bowl and US Open Tennis; VIP tour of Yankee stadium led by a former World Series Champion player; attendance at the “Salute the Sandman” event with legendary Yankee baseball player Mariano Rivera; and exclusive passes to the final round to the PGA Masters tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club.

As the event unfolded, the DJ turned some high-energy tunes that brought both dancers and guests to the dance floor to close out the magical benefit.

The Benefit Committee included: Larry Satterfield, Board Chair; Gail Monroe-Perry, Secretary; Reginald Van Lee, Chairman Emeritus; Zaid Abdul-Aleem; Alvin Adell; Dwayne Ashley; Monica F. Azare; Reginald Canal; Spike Lee; Leslie Mays; James Sullivan; Jocelyn Taylor; and Dr. Ancy Verdier. James Nixon and Curtis D. Young were the Young Patrons co-chairs.

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Curtis D. Young and James Nixon, Young Patrons Chairs

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Corporate sponsors were Moet Hennessy and Verizon Foundation. Benefit sponsors were Dr. Alvin Adell; Bloomberg; Susan L. Taylor, National CARES Mentoring Movement, Inc.; and Reginald Van Lee.

Source: Press release/Photos: Thos Robinson for Getty Images

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

8 Ways . . . A New Series by Thought Leaders in Philanthropy

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New BGB series where thought leaders in philanthropy share eight ideas for transforming Black communities

For Black Philanthropy Month, which occurs during August, the eighth month, thought leaders in philanthropy were invited to list eight things Black philanthropists can do to address some of the pressing issues and concerns in our communities.  Shawn Dove co-hosted yesterday’s #BPM2013 tweet-up that generated unprecedented online engagement, and today’s list comes from Dove on the topic of Black Male Achievement.

Dove joined the Open Society Foundations US Programs staff in 2008 to launch and lead the Campaign for Black Male Achievement.  The Campaign is a national philanthropic initiative that builds on OSF’s existing grantmaking strategies to improve the life outcomes of Black men and boys in the areas of education, work and family. Dove has over two decades of leadership experience as a youth development professional, community-builder and advocate for children and families, designing and leading initiatives locally and nationally.

Before joining OSF, Dove served as Director of Youth Ministries for First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, NJ, where he was responsible for the management of the 7,000-member institution’s youth development strategies, strategic partnerships and cross-ministry collaborations.  He began his professional career in the field at the age of 24 when he was appointed to the position of Executive Director of The DOME Project, a NYC-based youth development organization he joined as a youth participant at the age of 13.

Dove holds an undergraduate degree in English from Wesleyan University.  He is a graduate of Columbia University Business School’s Institute for Not-for-Profit Management and a 1994 recipient of the Charles H. Revson Fellowship at Columbia University.  He has earned numerous awards for his service to youth, families and communities and currently lives in New Jersey with his wife and four children.

8 Ways Black Philanthropists Can Advance Black Male Achievement

By Shawn Dove
Manager, Campaign for Black Male Achievement, Open Society Foundations

8. Become a Willionaire: You don’t have to be a billionaire philanthropist to advance Black male achievement.  All you need to get started is the belief that you can make a difference—the will to win on behalf of Black men and boys and the ability to answer the fruitful question that Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. asks What's in your hand?

7. Act Like the Human Torch: Being a comic book fanatic growing up, one of the many Marvel messages I gleaned was, “nothing happens until it’s spoken.” Yes, Johnny Storm of the Fantastic Four never turned into the Human Torch without declaring the words, “Flame On!” Speak into existence what we want to see in the lives of our Black men and boys. 50 years ago this month Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. helped a nation “flame on” when he spoke the words of his “I Have a Dream” speech.

6. Know That Dream Work Takes Team Work: Another look at the Fantastic Four reminds me that advancing Black male achievement takes teamwork.  Manifest the African proverb that advises, “if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Giving circles are making impact in communities across the country.

5. Act Like The Cavalry Isn’t Coming: Because it isn’t! Stop waiting for philanthropic paratroopers to storm down to save the day in your community. We are the iconic leaders we have been waiting for so start today and act with the fierce urgency of now!

4. Become Obsessed: Stephen Rickard, Director of Open Society Foundations DC office, shared something with me during my first few months leading the Campaign for Black Male Achievement while on a learning and listening tour: “Nothing changes in DC until someone becomes obsessed about it.”  Become obsessed like Harriett Tubman was obsessed to free slaves via the Underground Railroad.

3. Remember that “Scared Money Don’t Win”: Those of us that have experience playing dice, whether at a Vegas craps table or on the corners of our adolescent neighborhood, fully understand what this means.  For everyone else, please see the Case Foundation’s “To Be Fearless” report, which urges us to “make big bets and make history: set audacious, not incremental, goals.”

2. Invest in Both Policy and Programs: Dr. John Jackson, CEO, Schott Foundation for Public Education, reminds the philanthropists that, “programs are progress, but policy is power.”  To advance Black male achievement it is not an either/or proposition but a both/and. We need more progress AND power.

1. Never Forget that Love Makes Change Happen:  At its root, philanthropy means love of man.  Our work to advance Black male achievement must be fueled by love, not just for Black men and boys but for humanity. As my colleague, Rashid Shabazz eloquently shared during the recent Black Male Re-Imagined convening at the Ford Foundation: Love Makes Change Happen.

Contributed by Valaida Fullwood
Described an “idea whisperer,” Valaida brings unbridled imagination and a gift for harnessing wild ideas to her work as a writer and project strategist. She is a founding member of Charlotte’s New Generation of African American Philanthropists and author of “Giving Back: A Tribute to Generations of African American Philanthropists.” For more, follow, @ValaidaF and @BlkGivesBackCLT.