Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Resurgence of African American Male Philanthropists

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Members of the Ujima Legacy Fund at their event in 2013.

TEDx talk tells story of the Ujima Legacy Fund

Reggie Gordon’s TEDxRVA talk opens with his experience attending the Million Man March in 1995 – a historic gathering held in Washington, DC that brought thousands of black men from all over the world to promote unity, and family and community values.  It was this experience that led Reggie to stop practicing law to become a humanitarian.

Today, Reggie is CEO of the American Red Cross – Eastern Virginia Region and co-founder of the Ujima Legacy Fund, a black male giving circle based in Richmond, Virginia.  The giving circle is named Ujima after the third day of Kwanzaa that celebrates collective work and responsibility.  Its founders were inspired by the story of Thomas Cannon, a retired African-American postal worker from Richmond who lived well below his means, ultimately giving away thousands of dollars on a meager salary.  Reggie shared with

“The organizers of TEDxRVA interviewed me about my life and work in Richmond.  When I told them that I was one of the founders of the Ujima Legacy Fund, they felt that the story about the creation of a black male giving circle in Richmond would make an interesting TED talk.  So, I reflected on the genesis of the concept for the Ujima Legacy Fund and tried to relay my feelings about the importance of our giving circle created by black men, during the TED talk.  This year, we gave away a grant for $28,000 to Art 180.  Our goal for our 2015 grant cycle (our third year) is to increase our numbers to 50 men and give away $50,000 to a deserving organization.  The momentum continues to build. I am sure we will reach our goal.”

Watch Reggie’s TEDx talk, “The Resurgence of African American Male Philanthropists” here. The men of Ujima would love to be a resource for black men in other cities who would like to use their model to create a giving circle. Learn more about their fund housed at the Richmond Community Foundation here.

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