Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Redefining Philanthropy: How African-Americans Give Back

Black giving was a topic of conversation on the NPR show “Tell Me More” yesterday hosted by award-winning journalist Michel Martin and featuring Tracey Webb, founder of BlackGivesBack.com and The Black Benefactors.

The premise of the discussion centered on a 2012 study that found African-Americans donate a higher percentage of their incomes to charity than any other ethnic group in the country, but they aren't necessarily thought of as philanthropists. “I think that our stories of giving really haven't been told, and that's the reason why I created my blog BlackGivesBack.  My main purpose is to highlight the big, bold givers and also our grassroots givers - everyday givers in our communities,” shared Webb. Listen to the full podcast here.

Tell Me More is a news-talk program that features provocative and accessible conversations that connects communities of color with the traditional public radio audience.  Produced at the NPR worldwide headquarters in Washington, D.C., it is a production of NPR News in association with the African American Public Radio Consortium, representing 20 independent public radio stations that serve predominantly black communities.

Story by Stacey Trammel, Contributor

Monday, December 30, 2013

Our Top Stories of 2013

BlackGivesBack.com presented its first event in February 2013 sponsored by J.P. Morgan in NYC.
As we wind down another year of highlighting black philanthropy, we’re taking a look back at our most popular stories and accomplishments of 2013.  Among our highlights are hosting our first ever event sponsored by J.P. Morgan and its African American Employee Networking Group that featured philanthropist Christina Lewis Halpern, and augmenting the observance of Black Philanthropy Month 2013 (BPM2013) themed “An August of Dreams and Mountaintops,” a national initiative to strengthen African-American and African-descent giving in all its forms.  BPM2013 was a resounding success with national media coverage; events held in cities such as Charlotte, NC, San Francisco, DC, NYC and Boston; and a partnership with DonorsChoose.org to fund classroom projects.  Plans are currently underway for Black Philanthropy Month 2014 (sponsorships are available!) and in-person events that you’ll hear about soon.

Check out our list below of top stories for the year and we look forward to another year of bringing the best in black philanthropy!

Have a Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Charlotte Giving Circle Seizes the Season with Gatherings, Grants and Gifts

CHARLOTTE, NC – New Generation of African American Philanthropists (NGAAP-Charlotte) embraced the Season of Giving with fervor.  In November, members observed National Philanthropy Day with a panel discussion about giving circles.  Journalist Eric Frazier moderated the panel, which was part of an ongoing Black Philanthropy series in collaboration with the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture.

On December 6, the giving circle sponsored a performance by Birmingham–based cellist Malik Kofi at the Gantt Center’s annual fundraising event, Jazzy Holiday Luncheon.  In collaboration with Jack and Jill Charlotte Chapter, members arranged for Malik to perform at a yearly holiday festival at Reid Park Elementary School.  His musical performance enchanted the audience of children and parents.  NGAAP-Charlotte’s sister giving circle, Birmingham Change Fund, has served as a benefactor and supporter of young Malik’s development as a musician and public speaker.

In celebration of Christmas, the circle partnered with Hope Haven on two projects.  Hope Haven is a residential program that helps people in recovery rebuild their lives by providing them with the support services needed to achieve healthy recovery and economic independence.  On December 9, circle members constructed gingerbread houses with children and their families at Hope Haven.  Later, members bought gifts to fulfill the Christmas wishes of two Hope Haven families.  The circle gathered at the home of member Diatra Fullwood for a gift-wrapping party and year-end celebration.

To learn more about NGAAP-Charlotte, contact Ed Franklin (efrankli@yahoo.com).  And to learn more about giving circles, please contact Community Investment Network.

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.

Photo: National Philanthropy Day panel discussion comprising: Michelle Serrano Mills (Next Generation of African American Philanthropists), Renee Bradford (New Generation of African American Philanthropists), Ed Franklin (New Generation of African American Philanthropists), Linsey Mills (Next Generation of African American Philanthropists) and Barron Damon (A Legacy of Tradition)

Photo credit: Charles Thomas, photographer and NGAAP-Charlotte member

Thursday, December 19, 2013

7th Annual Top 10 Black Celebrity Philanthropists of 2013

Introduction by Towalame Austin
Executive, Philanthropy
Roc Nation

Are you ready for the 7th Annual Top 10 Black Celebrity Philanthropist of 2013? This year like others, a group of industry leaders were summoned to serve as judges and to be contributors to the 7th Annual Top 10 Black Celebrity Philanthropists list. With the help and input of the loyal followers of Black Gives Back, we are happy to present our Top 10 Celebrity Philanthropists of 2013 in partnership with the Admiral Center.

As a group we challenged ourselves to think outside the box and we also heard from their fans who highlighted some extraordinary stories of compassion and leadership.  We targeted individuals that have been active and consistent with their charitable efforts and philanthropic activity in 2013.  Our selection process focused on seven core principles:

  1. Philanthropy: How much has the celebrity donated from his/her own funds or hosted an event to raise funds?
  2. Awareness: Has the celebrity brought awareness to a cause?
  3. Honors/Awards: Has the celebrity been honored recently for his/her philanthropic efforts?
  4. Leverage: Has the celebrity leveraged company sponsorship or created a significant partnership to support his/her cause? Have they integrated their philanthropic work into their brand?
  5. Communications: Is their foundation website up to date? Do they talk or advocate for their cause?
  6. Social Media: Does the celebrity use their social media platforms to affect change?
  7. Knowledge: Does the celebrity demonstrate a deep understanding of the issue on which their charitable efforts are focused? Do they understand policy, support effective programs, participate and encourage partnerships and collaboration in the field? Has the celebrity hired or consulted with a philanthropy expert to aid them in their giving?

Some of the names on this list may surprise you, but I encourage you to do your research and learn more about what these great philanthropists are doing.  “With great power comes great responsibility,” a catchphrase popularized by Spider-Man comics and movies sets the tone for our philanthropists. Although our top 10 do not have the web-slinging capabilities of a comic hero, their work in communities and impact around the globe makes them heroes in their own right.

These remarkable individuals have been able to embrace our world and determine how to use their power for a greater good to serve those around them.  Our top 10 celebrity philanthropists are fighting to improve our educational systems, creating endowments that will sustain mission-related work, increasing financial knowledge, providing justice and equality, combating sickle cell anemia and advocating for cures and services for those affected by autism and Parkinson’s disease.

As you read and learn more about our 2013 top 10 heroes, we challenge you to embrace your everyday hero. What can you do in your home and community to make a difference? How will you use your power to impact the world?

We are pleased to introduce our Top 10 Black Celebrity Philanthropists of 2013.*

Andre “Dr. Dre” Young
Hip Hop Artist, Producer and Entrepreneur
First-Time Honoree

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In 2012, Forbes magazine ranked the co-founder of Beats By Dr. Dre headphones among the world’s 25 highest paid musicians, earning a staggering $110M in pretax earnings. So it was no surprise when he along with his business partner announced a joint $70 million gift to the University of Southern California to create the USC Jimmy Iovine and Andrew Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation. The Academy has as its mission to “focus on invention and conceptual thinking, drawing on the talents and influences of leaders from across industries to empower the next generation of disruptive inventors and professional thought leaders across a multitude of global industries.”

Although he received criticism for not supporting an HBCU, there’s no doubt that Dr. Dre’s $35 million gift is transformative. His donation ranks among the top to higher educational institutions by African Americans that include Bill Cosby and Verna Dauterive.

Denzel Washington
Academy® Award-Winning Actor and Director
Three-Time Top 10 List Honoree

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New research from Jumpstart and Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy found that nearly three quarters of household charitable giving goes to organizations with religious ties. Following this trend is actor, producer and director Denzel Washington, who donated $1 million to Save Africa’s Children, a nonprofit organization that helps children and orphans affected by HIV/AIDS throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. The Los Angeles-based charity was founded by Bishop Charles E. Blake, pastor of West Angeles Church of God in Christ, one of the largest churches in the Western United States, with a membership of over 25,000 including the Washington family. Washington’s generosity will allow Save Africa’s Children to expand their research on AIDS and poverty.

Holly Robinson Peete
Actress and Autism Advocate
Two-Time Top 10 List Honoree

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Holly Robinson Peete and the HollyRod Foundation is honored at AEG Live!'s
Season of Giving this month in Los Angeles.

Inspired by her father who succumbed to Parkinson’s disease and a son diagnosed with autism, Holly Robinson Peete along with her husband, former NFL quarterback Rodney Peete, founded the HollyRod Foundation in 1997 to provide compassionate care to those living with autism and Parkinson’s disease, resulting in a better quality of life for individuals and their families.

In July, the foundation hosted its 15th annual Design Care fundraiser, an evening filled with fashion, music, philanthropy and gifts that brought out numerous celebrities. Holly shared, “HollyRod Foundation was inspired by the journeys of a father and a son. Parkinson's disease and autism have touched our family in a profound way. We understand what families impacted by one or both experience every day. Rodney and I are honored to shine a light or serve in any way we can. HollyRod has provided us with a way to achieve this.”

Jamie Foxx
Academy® Award and Grammy® Award-Winning Actor and Singer
First-Time Honoree

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“Everybody my age and all of the entertainers, it's time for us to stand up now and renew this dream.”

-- Jamie Foxx issuing a challenge to his celebrity peers to push the civil rights movement forward during his speech at the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington.

Jamie Foxx’s commitment with the Trayvon Martin Foundation and serving as a national spokesman for Big Brothers Big Sisters earned him an inaugural spot on our annual list. During many award show appearances this year Foxx was often seen wearing a Trayvon Martin t-shirt, displaying a silent and powerful display of support.  In November, he hosted a fundraiser for the foundation at his home that drew many of his celebrity friends, including Harry Belafonte whom he credits with encouraging him to get involved in societal issues.

Justin Tuck
Two-Time NFL Pro Bowl and Two-Time Super Bowl Champion
First-Time Honoree

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New York Giants star player Justin Tuck and his wife Lauran are the founders of Tuck’s R.U.S.H. for Literacy, an organization that promotes literacy, opportunity, access to education and financial literacy for low-income youth in New York, New Jersey and Alabama.  What started out as a simple book distribution has grown to include an essay contest and grant making.

In October, the couple joined the Children’s Aid Society (CAS), the Citi Foundation and the 1:1 Fund to launch The Children’s Aid Society College Savers pilot program that will help low-income New York City children and their families save and plan for college. Initial funding for the program was provided through a $100,000 grant from Tuck’s R.U.S.H. for Literacy.  Justin shared, “Many kids in the rural Alabama community where I grew up weren’t so fortunate and never considered college a real possibility. The CAS College Savers program would have made a huge difference in their lives and it has the potential to make a real difference in the lives of low-income New York City children.”

Larenz Tate
First-Time Honoree

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BLOOM spokesperson Larenz Tate with youth participant Anthony Smith

Tate’s support of black men and boys is what landed the “House of Lies” star on our list for the first time. Serving as an ambassador for the California Community Foundation’s Building a Lifetime of Options and Opportunities for Men (BLOOM), he hosted town halls and moderated panel discussions on topics such as incarceration rates, education and employment and used his social media platforms to further bring awareness. And his support of fellow celebrities’ charitable efforts on the list such as Jamie Foxx and Ludacris make him a standout pick.

Chris Ludacris Bridges
Grammy® Award-Winning Rapper, Actor, Entrepreneur
Three-Time Top 10 List Honoree

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Ludacris (center) and “Team Luda” distributed food baskets to 250 families during the Thanksgiving season. 

Making our list again for the third time is Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, founder of the Ludacris Foundation. Since its inception, the foundation has spearheaded college tours, provided book scholarships and has distributed food and supplies during the holiday season. This past Labor Day weekend the foundation hosted its 8th annual Luda Day weekend in Atlanta featuring community events and a celebrity basketball game.

Nasir “Nas” Jones
Hip-Hop Veteran
First-Time Honoree

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This hip-hop legend has made big strides in academia, startup investing and charitable crowd funding. In August, Nas was moved by a news story about a single father of eight in Washington, DC who became homeless after a fire. He created a crowd funding campaign on Crowdtilt (Nas is an investor of the site) that raised just under $65,000 from over 2,000 donors. He shared, “I know this is just one family out of millions, and we aren't solving a global problem. But I believe that a happy ending to a story like this can be the beginning of something bigger for our communities.”

His impact in the hip-hop world was noticed by an anonymous donor, who personally requested Nas to be the face of a new fellowship at Harvard University, the Nasir Jones Hip-Hop Fellowship. Announced in October, this opportunity will fund scholars and artists who demonstrate exceptional productive scholarship and creative ability in the arts, in connection with hip-hop.

Usher Raymond IV
Grammy® Award-Winning Singer, Songwriter and Actor
Four-Time Top 10 List Honoree

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Usher is no stranger to our top ten list, having made the cut four times for consistent work with his Usher’s New Look Foundation. The organization certifies young people in four leadership pillars – talent, education, career and service – to ensure their success as leaders throughout the world.  To date, the foundation cites that 100% of its youth graduate from their programs and 98% have gone onto higher education or job placement. Pretty impressive!

Grammy® Award-Winning Musician, Producer, Director and Entrepreneur
Two-Time Top 10 List Honoree

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“Most kids are not dreaming of being programmers, scientists or engineers. The ones that are... are looked at as being geeks or uncool, when in actuality technology is the only thing that is cool today.”

Making our list for the second year in a row, music producer will.i.am is a catalyst in celebrity giving for his work with the $7M Boyle Heights project in East Los Angeles, an initiative of his I Am Angel Foundation. The initiative had many successes this year, including opening an after school arts facility with College Track, a national college completion program that empowers students from underserved communities, and sponsoring and co-hosting Hack for L.A., the largest civic hackathon in Southern California.

Reader and Judges Pick
Wendell Pierce
Actor, Obie and NAACP Image Award Winner

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Photo credit:  The New York Times

This New Orleans native not only topped the number of reader submitted nominations, but was also a unanimous pick among the judges.  After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Wendell returned to his neighborhood of Pontchartrain Park to rebuild his childhood home. While there, his neighbors asked him to help rebuild the entire area. He founded the Pontchartrain Park Community Development Corporation and along with two investors, created Sterling Fresh Foods, LLC, consisting of grocery and convenience stores in New Orleans low-income areas where supermarkets are scarce.  In a New York Times article earlier this year he shared, “Bringing fresh food into these areas helps create economic growth. But it also helps people understand that there’s value in eating better. It’s not something that’s only available in a better neighborhood.”

Honorable Mention
Beverly Bond
Founder, Black Girls Rock!

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In 2006, DJ and former model Beverly Bond launched Black Girls Rock!, a non-profit youth empowerment and mentoring organization for young women of color that was birthed from the organization’s annual awards show.  Her ability to leverage corporate and celebrity involvement such as BET and the “My Black is Beautiful” campaign in support of celebrating girl power has garnered Bond an inaugural slot on our 2013 list.

In a 2012 Washington Post interview, Beverly shared her inspiration for creating Black Girls Rock!: “I was inspired because to me, the message to women of color was imbalanced; there weren’t enough role models for women to look up to. It was something that I felt was long overdue, for black women, women of all backgrounds, to have something promoting positivity.”

Congratulations to all of the 2013 Honorees!  Did your favorite celebrity philanthropist make the list?  If not, let us know & leave a comment on our Facebook page.  Happy Holidays!

*  The top 10 are ranked in alphabetical order by first name.

Business Executive Richard Parsons Hosts Apollo Theater Holiday Party

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Apollo Theater President and CEO Jonelle Procope and Richard Parsons

HARLEM, NY – The Apollo Theater held a Holiday Cocktail Party for its Board of Directors and leadership funders on December 9, 2013, at the newly reopened Minton’s in Harlem. The event was hosted by Apollo Board Chairman Richard “Dick” Parsons, owner of Minton’s, and Vice Chairman Ronald Perelman, CEO, MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings Inc.

Minton’s fabulous house band played, and in true Apollo fashion, guests were entertained by impromptu performances by noted singer-songwriter-pianist Peter Cincotti, and Apollo Board Member and legendary star of stage and screen, Leslie Uggams.

Among the guests were Ed Lewis, co-founder of Essence magazine; Debra Martin Chase, film and television producer; Apollo Board Member Lisa Garcia Quiroz, Chief Diversity Officer and Senior Vice President, Corporate Responsibility, Time Warner Inc.; Apollo Theater Executive Producer Mikki Shepard; Producer Stephen Byrd; and Marilyn Booker, JoAnn Price, Athena and Mario Bollag, Nadja Fidelia, Lana Woods, Melody Parker, Daisy Holmes, Mark MasonMichele Pagnotta, Carolyn Mason, Judy Byrd, Charles Atkins, Jerry and Debra Shriver, Erana Stennett, Grahame Pratt, Laura Bush Parsons, Yaz Hernandez, David Bartsch, Rodney and Michelle Adkins, Rita Jammet, Hope Knight, Al Zollar and Chris Taylor.

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Art patrons W. Don Cornwell and Sandra Cornwell

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Hope Knight, Apollo Theater Board Member Carla Harris, Managing Director, Morgan Stanley and Patricia Zollar

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Jonelle Procope with Amanda and Glenn Fuhrman

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Apollo Theater Board Member Marcella A. Jones, CEO, Giving Back Foundation; Troy and Keisha Dixon; and Jonelle Procope

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Jason Matthews and Apollo Theater Board Members Troy Dixon, former managing director, Deutsche Bank;
and William Lighten, Managing Director, Eland Capital Partners and President, Lighten Family Foundation

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Fred Terrell, Jacqueline and Kevin Nickelberry

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Richard Parsons and the Minton's House Band

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Apollo Theater Board Member Leslie Uggams performs.

Upcoming events at the Apollo Theater include the Apollo’s Kwanzaa Celebration on December 27, an annual Martin Luther King celebration on January 19, 2014, Apollo Club Harlem in February, and special edition Amateur Nights. For more information on these and other events, visit https://www.apollotheater.org/.

Photos courtesy of the Apollo Theater

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Award-Winning Nonprofit Leader Launches Family Foundation

Aaron Dworkin, the visionary founder of the Sphinx Organization, has announced the launch of the Dworkin Foundation, a private foundation dedicated to providing small grant support to emerging non-profit organizations that have a clear mission to impact communities through significant initiatives.  Key areas of grant making focus are Diversity, Legal Justice, Equal Rights for LGBT communities, and Equal Access to Quality Healthcare, Food and Fitness.

The foundation announced their inaugural grant recipients under their primary grant award program, Dworkin Ignition Grants (DIG). They are:

Free Minds Book Club and Writing Workshop: Empowering young inmates to write new chapters in their lives
Washington, DC

Free Minds’ mission is to introduce young inmates to the transformative power of books and creative writing.  By mentoring them and connecting them to supportive services throughout their incarceration into reentry, Free Minds inspires these youths to see their potential and achieve new educational and career goals.

INTAKE Music: Instrumentally Native Taking on the Classics
Stamford, CT

Intake’s mission is to improve the quality of life for youth by providing access to quality classical music education through the use of native instruments that represent diverse cultural backgrounds.  They strive to increase learning proficiency through educational and learning programs that leverage the discipline of classical music, and addressing community audiences through public performances, community outreach events and cultural advocacy.

KICK: The Center in Detroit
Detroit, MI
Kick’s aim is to implement LGBT affirming programs, services, projects and special events; and to partner with other social justice organizations and allies with similar beliefs.  In 2011 The Center in Detroit opened and provides the LGBT and allied community a safe space in which to discuss, learn and offer support to one another.

Sow Much Good: Gardening for Life
Charlotte, NC
Sow Much Good is committed to growing healthy communities in underserved neighborhoods by providing direct access to fresh, affordable food; educating and engaging residents to adopt healthy eating habits; and advocating for the right of every person to have real food security.

To learn more and apply for a grant, visit www.DworkinFoundation.org.

The Harlem School of the Arts Celebrates the Holidays with “Harlem Holiday”

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By Akira Barclay
NY Contributor

NEW YORK – As a gift to the entire community, The Harlem School of the Arts’ Holiday celebration featured free admission for two shows as part of the Family Enrichment Series generously supported by New York State Council of the Arts.  Guests enjoyed sing-a-long carols plus performances by HSA’s promising students including the HSA Prep Scholars, Dorothy Maynor Singers, and the HSA Advanced Jazz Combo.  The event also included an exhibition of artwork from HSA visual arts students.

“Harlem School of the Arts celebrates the diversity of cultures and community during its annual holiday celebration through its young talented artists...it's simply magical!” said HSA President and CEO Yvette L. Campbell.

“I am always inspired by children that are so excited about the arts and a chance to perform. They come early to practice and don’t want to go home.  I am humbled by their talent and desire to learn.  One performance is worth a thousand classes so we expect a lot of learning this year for the holidays,” explained the show’s Director, Aubrey Lynch.

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About The Harlem School of the Arts

For nearly a half-century, the Harlem School of the Arts (HSA) has transformed the lives of tens of thousands of young people.  Located in Harlem’s historic Hamilton Heights, this pioneering, world-class institution brings together music, dance, theatre, visual arts, and musical theatre instruction under one roof. Serving young people, ages 2 to 18, from the under-served communities of Harlem, across New York City, New Jersey and Westchester County, HSA leverages its reputation for excellence and roster of celebrated alumni to empower youths and constantly revitalize its surrounding community.  For more information about Harlem School of the Arts, visit www.hsanyc.org.

Photo credit: Hosea Johnson

Monday, December 16, 2013

Gantt Center’s 33rd Annual Jazzy Holiday Luncheon Awash in ‘Shades of Delight’

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Gantt Center board member Natalie Frazier Allen with Jazzy luncheon guest Maria Stephens

Drawing inspiration from jazz classic Afro Blue, Jazzy draws over $135,000 for presentations of African American art, culture and history

Charlotte, NC — On December 6, a sold-out audience of 600 assembled at the Westin Hotel while Presenting Sponsor PNC Bank led support for the 33rd Annual Jazzy Holiday Luncheon, benefiting the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture.

Shades of delight, cocoa hue
Rich as the night afro blue

Lyrics, melody, imagery and musicology of Afro Blue provided inspiration for Jazzy 2013.  The evocative song is a jazz standard made famous by North Carolina native John Coltrane.  With a wintry blue hue cast over the banquet hall, Gantt Center presenters invited guests to “imagine anew” when envisioning the institution’s future.  On the threshold of its 40th anniversary during 2014, the Center boasts Jazzy as its signature fundraiser and one of the longest running annual traditions in the Charlotte area.

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Vocalist with the Harvey Cummings Project belts out a jazz classic.

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Andress Weston, Regional President for Western North Carolina, PNC Bank, presenting sponsor
of the 33rd Annual Jazzy Holiday Luncheon 

During Jazzy, Gantt Center board members, staff and supporters recapped high points of the year’s programming and exhibitions.  Over 2013, the Center hosted America I Am, The Kinsey Collection and the art of David Driskell, Julie Moos, Jonathan Green and others.  A lecture by Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. launched the inaugural Gantt Symposium in June.  Question Bridge: Black Males opened in October and will run through spring 2014.  Classic black films, documentaries, educational programs, panel discussions and performances also take place regularly at the Center.

Award presentations took a turn for the poetic as Quentin Talley, last year’s artist award recipient, introduced the 2013 Gantt Center Awards.  Talley delivered original spoken word pieces about the honorees—Sally and Russell Robinson, devoted community leaders, philanthropists and arts patrons; Tyrone Jefferson, award-winning musician, band leader and arts activist; and Compass Group, corporate citizen and community supporter.

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2013 Gantt Center award recipients Russell Robinson, philanthropist and founding partner of Robinson,
Bradshaw and Hinson; Sally Robinson, philanthropist and civic leader; April Morton, Community Relations Coordinator,
Compass Group; Tyrone Jefferson, musician; Vince Berkeley Jr., Chief Diversity Officer, Compass Group;
and Tony Shearer, Chairman, Foodbuy, LLC

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Classical cellist Malik Kofi performed a musical tribute.

As a tribute to award recipients, 12-year-old prodigy Malik Kofi performed a musical piece on the cello. The Harvey Cummings Project played jazz and holiday classics throughout the luncheon.  Film vignettes created by smARTlab threaded the event, providing colorful insights on the Center’s history, mission, artists, scholars, members and leaders.  Members of the audience captured stirring moments via social media.

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Santa Claus with Gantt Center co-founder Dr. Bertha Maxwell-Roddey and former board member
Michel Vaughan

David R. Taylor, Gantt Center President and CEO, ended the event on a high note by announcing a cross-cultural institutional trip to Cuba, December 19–23, 2014.  The trip is part of the Center’s 40th anniversary celebration and will coincide with the Havana International Jazz Festival.  After exciting the audience about Afro-Cuban art, history and culture, Taylor encouraged everyone to sign up for the trip.  And as is the tradition, Jazzy closed with staff, board members and public officials coming to the stage for a sing-along Christmas carol.

Watch this fun and fast-paced short video from Jazzy:

About the Gantt Center
Founded in 1974, Charlotte’s Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts+Culture exists to present, preserve and celebrate the art, history and culture of African Americans and people of African descent through dance, music, visual and literary arts, film, educational programs, theatre productions and community outreach.  Named for Harvey B. Gantt, the prominent Charlotte architect and former Mayor of Charlotte, the Center is housed in a distinguished award-winning building and is home to the nationally celebrated John and Vivian Hewitt Collection of African-American Art.  Learn more at GanttCenter.org.

Story submitted by Valaida Fullwood, event producer of 33rd Annual Jazzy Holiday Luncheon
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.” On Twitter, follow @ValaidaF and @BlkGivesBackCLT.

Photos courtesy of Harvey B. Gantt Center

Friday, December 13, 2013

Distinguished Public Service Professor and Policy Leader Joins the Board of The MasterCard Foundation

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TORONTO, ONTARIO – Dr. Jendayi E. Frazer, an accomplished policy leader and academic with an extensive understanding of issues facing Sub-Saharan Africa, has been appointed to the board of The Mastercard Foundation.

Dr. Frazer currently serves as Director of the Center for International Policy and Innovation and Distinguished Public Service Professor at Carnegie Mellon University.  Previously, she held several positions in the U.S. government including the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, U.S. Ambassador to South Africa, Special Assistant to the President for African Affairs at the National Security Council, and Director of African Affairs at the National Security Council.

During her tenure in government, U.S. assistance to Africa quadrupled reaching an historic high of $6.7 billion by 2008.  Dr. Frazer was instrumental in establishing some of the U.S. government’s signature initiatives including the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the African Education Initiative, as well as the Millennium Challenge Account.

“Dr. Frazer's in-depth knowledge of Sub-Saharan Africa combined with her personal commitment to the continent’s development makes her a valuable addition to the Foundation’s Board of Directors,” said Lois Juliber, Chair of the Board of The MasterCard Foundation.

“I am both honored and excited to join The MasterCard Foundation's Board of Directors,” said Dr. Frazer. “The Foundation's programs provide access to education and finance to empower Africans to improve their lives and build Africa's prosperity. I look forward to contributing to this important work.”

Dr. Frazer is also an Adjunct Senior Fellow for Africa Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, the Founder, President, and CEO for 50 Ventures, LLC, and Managing Partner of Africa Exchange Holdings Company (AFEX). She studied at Stanford University where she earned a PhD in Political Science, two Master's Degrees and a Bachelor's Degree. She was also presented with the Secretary's Distinguished Service Medal, the highest honor bestowed by the Secretary of State in recognition of her public service.

About The MasterCard Foundation
The MasterCard Foundation is an independent, global organization based in Toronto, Canada, with more than $9 billion in assets. Through collaboration with partner organizations in 46 countries, it is creating opportunities for all people to learn and prosper. The Foundation's programs promote financial inclusion and advance youth learning, mostly in Africa. To learn more about The MasterCard Foundation and the African Leaders of Tomorrow Scholarships Fund in Honour of Nelson Mandela, please visit www.mastercardfdn.org.

Source:  Press release

Monday, December 9, 2013

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Launches 2013-14 Season with Opening Night Gala Benefit

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Honorary Event Chair Gabrielle Union, Joan Smalls and Ailey Artistic Director Robert Battle
at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's 2013 opening night gala in New York City.

Event featured company premiere of Chroma and a live musical performance of Revelations

NEW YORK, NY – Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s 2013-14 New York season kicked off with an Opening Night Gala benefit on Wednesday, December 4th at New York City Center, raising over 2.4 million dollars for the creation of new works and Alvin Ailey’s extensive educational programs for young people, including AileyCamp and scholarships to The Ailey School.

Hosted by honorary chair Gabrielle Union, the gala was attended by prominent figures in the worlds of entertainment, business, philanthropy and politics.

The curtain went up with an exhilarating company premiere of Wayne McGregor’s Chroma, a ballet filled with layered beautiful dancing, astonishing lifts and a luminous set.  The Ailey company premiere, made possible with generous support of New York City Center, marks the first time a work by this multi award-winning British choreographer appears in the Ailey repertory.  The gala performance concluded with Alvin Ailey’s timeless masterpiece Revelations, which was accompanied by live music.

The celebration continued at the gala after party in the Hilton New York’s Grand Ballroom with Ailey’s Board of Trustees led by Chair Joan Weill and President Daria L. Wallach with 1,000 guests including models Joan Smalls and Carolyn Murphy, actor Taye Diggs, BET Chairman and CEO Debra L. Lee, chef Marcus Samuelsson, actor/singer Tristan “Mack Wilds,” opera star Jessye Norman, Elaine Wynn of Wynn Resorts, David & Karen Peetz, Delores Browne, Ebonie & Rossi Thurman, Steven & Daryl Roth, Ailey Artistic Director Emerita Judith Jamison and many more who joined in dinner and dancing with the stars of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

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Robert Battle with Event Co-Chairs Kathryn and Kenneth Chenault

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American Ballet Theatre Soloist Misty Copeland and Gala Vice Chair Valentino D. Carlotti; 
Ailey Executive Director Bennett Rink with Event Co-Chairs Daria L. & Eric J. Wallach

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Robert Battle and Ailey Chairman, Board of Trustees Joan Weill

Event co-chairs were Simin Allison & in memory, Herb Allison, Kathryn & Kenneth Chenault, Daria L. Foster & Erich J. Wallach, Agnes & Gerald Hassell, Debra L. Lee and Joan & Sandy Weill. Benefit sponsors included American Express, BET Networks, BNY Mellon and Joan & Sandy Weill and the Weill Family Foundation. The official sponsor of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s New York Season is Wells Fargo.

Ailey’s exciting season, the 25th since the passing of legendary founder Alvin Ailey, continues throughout the holidays in New York, then tours 23 cities across North America beginning in February. For more information visit www.alvinailey.org.

Source:  Press release/Photo credits: Dario Calmese, Christopher Duggan

Thursday, December 5, 2013

New Reports Highlight Giving Habits of African American Millennials & Keys to Advance Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Philanthropy

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Young professionals attend "Defining Young Black Philanthropy:  DC" hosted by
Friends of Ebonie in February 2013

Discover how and why African American millennials give back in a new report released by Friends of Ebonie titled “African American Millennials: Discovering the Next Generation of Black Philanthropy for the Effective Communication and Engagement of Non-Profit Organizations.”

With this report, non-profit development officers and communication practitioners will learn how to better engage with diverse volunteers, donors and board members. The report’s goal is to provide insight that will help enable non-profits to become more sustainable by being inclusive and relevant.

Ebonie shares, “Giving back or philanthropy isn’t synonymous with young and black, unfortunately. But that doesn’t mean we don’t do it, like to do it or cannot do it. The findings in this report are just the beginning to uncovering giving habits that come almost naturally to young, black professionals across the country. I want these facts to raise awareness about what we intentionally do to give, why we give back and how we want to make our communities better. As non-profit organizations look to diversify their boards, donor and volunteer pools, I challenge them to not just look to black people but black people between 18 and 33 to help them grow and be impactful. Together we can change the face of philanthropy.”

Friends of Ebonie is a for-profit social impact organization focused on social responsibility and philanthropy for African American millennials.

To download the full-length report, visit the Friends of Ebonie website.

Scan of Philanthropy Identifies 5 Keys to Advancing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

CHICAGO, IL – A scan of philanthropy commissioned by the D5 Coalition has revealed emerging trends within the sector to successfully advance diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).  The comprehensive scan, which reviewed written and web-based resources from philanthropy, as well as the fields of organizational effectiveness and social justice, identified five key elements—the “5 Ms”—critical to advancing DEI: Mobilizers, Missions, Money, Moments and Movements.

“Advancing diversity, equity and inclusion is critical to advancing the common good, as well as increasing the effectiveness and enhancing the impact of philanthropy,” said Kelly Brown, director of the D5 Coalition. “This analysis provides philanthropic organizations with the recipe to help successfully advance DEI.  D5 will continue to be a resource for philanthropies to learn how other foundations are successfully advancing DEI and how they can do the same.”

The scan found that while foundations incorporate DEI in a wide range of ways, the “5 Ms” that frequently stimulate change are:
  • Mobilizers – When a motivated board or staff member, or grantee speaks up and is heard, change happens. A person’s life experiences or diverse background could bring new perspectives to the table and could lead to change.
  • Missions – When DEI is tied to the mission of a foundation, that foundation is more likely to work to advance DEI.
  • Money – The changing demographics of communities encourages community foundations to diversify their donor base, while corporate foundations are leaders in personnel diversification because they understand that more diverse people bring in more diverse markets.
  • Moments – Certain moments can prompt foundations to imagine how DEI impacts and improves its work.  Moments can be fueled by crises, such as hate crimes that receive national attention or a tragedy like Hurricane Katrina.  When moments arise, philanthropies work to build coalitions to engage their collective funds and lift their collective voice on behalf of a given issue.
  • Movements – Unlike moments, movements are about sustained, organized case-making and action. For example, the civil rights movement framed issues and offered action steps for achieving civil rights. Many portfolios are now designed to advance civil rights because of the momentum of the movement.
The report offers specific action steps that individual foundations can take to capitalize on these opportunities for advancing DEI.  “These elements help foundations get the ball rolling,” said Paula Dressel of JustPartners, Inc., which produced the scan. “Once DEI work begins, what counts next are leadership, a shared language, openness to self-reflection and learning, and ways to anchor the commitment in everyday work.”

Visit the D5 Coalition website to read the report.

About the D5 Coalition
D5 envisions a philanthropic sector in which foundations draw on the power of diverse staffs and boards to achieve lasting impact, forge genuine partnerships with diverse communities, and increase access to opportunities for all people.  D5 represents the collective efforts of dozens of leading foundations, regional associations of grantmakers, joint affinity groups, and philanthropic infrastructure organizations.  D5 is a fiscally sponsored project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.

Don’t forget to nominate your favorite celebrity philanthropist of 2013 for our 7th Annual Top Black Celebrity Philanthropists list! Visit here or use the hashtag #blackgivesback.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Kick Off the Holiday Season with #GivingTuesday!

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“African-American buying power is 1 trillion annually. How are you investing your money?” 
                    -- Photo and quote from the #GivingTuesday page of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation

The White House, Bill & Melinda Gates and more help to launch annual day of giving

Today marks #GivingTuesday, a national day of giving at the start of the annual holiday season. Following the media blitz of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the annual observance celebrates and encourages charitable activities that support non-profit organizations.

#GivingTuesday was launched last year by the UN Foundation, 92nd Y and Mashable. Exceeding everyone’s expectations, #GivingTuesday registered 2,500 partners who participated in events or online in all 50 U.S. states.  Research showed that there was a 50% increase in online giving on #GivingTuesday 2012, compared with the same day the previous year.

This year, #GivingTuesday has gone global with events in the United States, Australia, Canada, Mexico and Singapore, and has already registered thousands of partners.

Here are some ideas to celebrate #GivingTuesday:
  • HBCU alum? Donate in the amount the year you graduated (example $20.13 for 2013)
  • Join or donate to a giving circle
  • Sign up to become a mentor
  • Support local African American arts and cultural institutions such as a museum or theater
  • Donate to your favorite nonprofit and announce it on social media using the #GivingTuesday hashtag
  • In the DC area?  BlackGivesBack.com will celebrate #GivingTuesday with a happy hour fundraiser for The Black Benefactors

Happy #GivingTuesday!

Don’t forget to nominate your favorite celebrity philanthropist of 2013 for our 7th Annual Top Black Celebrity Philanthropists list! Visit here or use the hashtag #blackgivesback.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Circle of Joy: Atlanta Giving Circle Celebrates 5 Years

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Members of the Circle of Joy giving circle

ATLANTA, GA – The Circle of Joy (COJ), a giving circle located in Decatur, GA, celebrated their 5th anniversary last month with over 50 guests at the Steelcase Showroom in Atlanta. COJ is a philanthropic organization under the umbrella of the Community Investment Network (CIN), a membership organization and resource for giving circles in communities of color. To date COJ has granted more than $15,000 and over 1,000 hours in community service to their grantees.

Attending the anniversary celebration were grantees Students Without Mothers, Pride for Parents and All Grown Up, along with members from fellow CIN giving circles Denver African American Philanthropists and Birmingham Change Fund.

COJ is currently hosting a crowdfunding campaign to raise $10,000 in celebration of their fifth year. Anyone who would like to contribute to this cause can visit here to make a donation.

To learn more about the Circle of Joy, visit www.circleofjoyatl.org.