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 valaida.com, @ValaidaF and @BlkGivesBackCLT.