Wednesday, November 18, 2015

“The State of Black Rochester” and the Power of Giving Together



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Closing out our Community Foundation Week series is the Rochester Area Community Foundation in Rochester, New York. In 2011 the foundation formed the African American Giving Initiative, which is focused on creating an endowment fund with broad community support and to provide grant making for needs that are specific to the African American community in the greater Rochester region.

One of their first tasks was to develop a better understanding of the disparities between African Americans and others in their community. The result was the book, “The State of Black Rochester 2013: Education + Employment = Equity” that has been used by their group and many others in the community to help direct their grant making and focus attention on areas such as education, health, economic development, criminal justice and more. Rather than just create another recital of community problems, the book proposed solutions in the final chapter. Proceeds support the initiative’s grant making.

Members contribute $1,000 annually to the fund that is equally divided for grant making and endowment building. To date $18,000 in grants have been awarded and $30,000 has been raised for the endowment.

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Dana K. Miller, CFRE (left) Vice President of Advancement at Rochester Area Community Foundation
in front of their bookstore display at Mood Makers Books, a local African American owned bookstore.

Learn more about the African American Giving Initiative at www.racf.org/aagi.


Black Giving Matters: Interview with Terri Bradford Eason of The Cleveland Foundation


Teri Eason volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House in Cleveland, OH,
and helped cook breakfast for 55 families.

During Community Foundation Week (November 12-18), BlackGivesBack.com is highlighting staff, board members and donors at community foundations that are demonstrating a strong commitment to informing, inspiring, investing in and involving Black philanthropic leadership.

A Cleveland, Ohio, native, Terri Bradford Eason is Director of Gift Planning at The Cleveland Foundation—a 101 year-old institution that holds the distinction of being the world’s first community foundation. Eason joined the Foundation in October 2008 after gaining two decades of experience in the financial services industry. She held several positions with National City (now PNC) and supported several functions including wealth management, relationship management, new business development, and both private and corporate banking. During her tenure, Eason received the company’s NCC Excel Award for extraordinary client and community service. She also was the recipient of the YWCA Women of Professional Excellence Award, TLOD Status of Women Award, and the NCNW Phenomenal Women of Extraordinary Leadership and Service Award.

Eason has served the nonprofit community as a director on several area nonprofit boards, including Cleveland Hearing and Speech Center (Past-Board President), Recovery Resources, Junior Achievement, and the Women’s City Club Foundation. Currently, she is President of the Alpha Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, and the Chairman of Alpha Omega Foundation, Incorporated. In addition, she serves on the Legacy Village Lyndhurst Community Fund Committee and is a member of the National Black MBA Association, Inc., Beta Gamma Sigma National Honor Society, Cleveland Chapter of Links, Inc., and Jack & Jill of America, Inc.

She earned an MBA from Cleveland State University and a B.A. from Penn State University. Eason resides in South Euclid, OH with her husband Clayton Eason, Sr. and their two sons Clayton II, age 17 and Bradford, age 15.

Black Giving Matters Interview

Eason’s first recollection of giving dates back to when she was six years old. “From October through the end of any given year at my grandmother’s house, we were always preparing and packing hundreds of meals for people in need,” Eason recently shared. “My grandmother raised me to always think first of others, and now in my career and my community work, her work ethic is truly apparent.”

Managing The Cleveland Foundation’s Gift Planning Program, Eason’s primary focus is cultivating relationships that help individuals establish current and deferred philanthropic funds, legacy gifts and charitable giving strategic plans. In her role, Eason works closely with professional advisors and their clients to identify, create and provide charitable planning options tailored to achieve specific philanthropic goals.

Eason’s work and passion for the community are in sync with the Foundation’s mission of enhancing the lives of all residents of Greater Cleveland, now and for generations to come, by working with donors to build community endowment, address needs through grantmaking and provide leadership on key community issues.

At the Foundation, Eason has functional responsibility for the African-American Philanthropy Committee (AAPC) created in 1993 to promote awareness and education to African Americans about the benefits of wealth and community preservation through philanthropy. Awareness led to stewardship in 2010, when the Committee established a fund to help support a variety of organizations within the African-American community of Greater Cleveland. The African-American Philanthropy Committee Legacy Fund is bolstered by individuals of all ages, churches, businesses, sororities and fraternities, and multiple member organizations.

AAPC convenes a Philanthropy Summit once every two years to raise the visibility of African-American philanthropy in the region and honor local African-American philanthropists who are making a lasting and significant impact. The Summit, which attracts local, regional and national attention, advances the Committee’s mission and provides tools and insight for individuals who are participating in charitable giving.

“Our next Philanthropy Summit will take place on April 23, 2016 in Cleveland,” Eason noted. “The theme, ‘Impact and Influence: The Evolution of African American Giving,’ will be a celebration of existing philanthropists and a call to action for aspiring philanthropists to develop their own philanthropic legacy. This fourth biennial Summit is designed to engage a broad range of philanthropic topics and interests and also break down some real and perceived barriers to giving,” she added.


About Community Foundation Week 2015
Community Foundation Week (#CFWeek)—running Thursday, November 12 through Wednesday, November 18—helps raise awareness about the more than 750 community foundations across the United States. Learn more here.

Submitted 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, author of Giving Back: A Tribute to Generations of African American Philanthropists and innovator for the touring exhibition “Giving Back: The Soul of Philanthropy Reframed and Exhibited.” Follow @ValaidaF and valaida.com.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Black Giving Matters: Rodney O. Powell, Board Member at Hartford Foundation for Public Giving



During Community Foundation Week (Nov. 12-18), BlackGivesBack.com is highlighting staff, board members and donors at community foundations that are demonstrating a strong commitment to informing, inspiring, investing in and involving Black philanthropic leadership.

A resident of Hartford, Connecticut, Rodney “Rod” Powell serves on the Board of Directors of the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving and is a charter member of his city’s new Black Giving Circle Fund. Powell is president, Corporate Citizenship for Eversource Energy, where he is primarily responsible for directing and managing the Eversource Energy Foundation, and the company's social responsibility programs and philanthropic strategy. Prior to his current position, Powell held various executive positions in the energy sector.

Powell was born in Norfolk, Virginia, and graduated from Norfolk State College. He is a father of four children and committed to his community. His extensive board service includes: Hartford Foundation (current board member); Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts (current board member); American Gas Association (former board member); Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (current board member); Northeast Gas Association (former board chair); and Capital Region Workforce Board (former board chair). He worships and is an active member of the Liberty Christian Center, International.

As a Hartford Foundation board member, Powell governs a 90-year-old community foundation that serves Hartford and 28 surrounding communities. Through charitable gifts from thousands of individuals, families and organizations, Hartford Foundation has awarded grants of more than $620 million since its founding in 1925. During 2015, Powell was part of a group of Black donors who pooled their dollars to establish the Black Giving Circle Fund, an endowed fund for grantmaking at the Hartford Foundation. The giving circle’s mission is “to create sustainable change in the Black community by leveraging the philanthropic efforts of donors and celebrating Black philanthropy.” Members of the circle are examining issues facing the Black community in Greater Hartford and, collectively, recommending grants to nonprofit organizations that work to address needs in the Black community.

Q&A

What’s your earliest memory of generosity?

Growing up in a family of limited means and witnessing my grandfather’s generosity to our neighbors helped me appreciate that while our family situation was a far cry from rich, we always seemed to have enough to share with others.

What’s your inspiration for giving?

My strongest inspiration for giving is through my faith in God and the outpouring of the many blessings He has afforded me.

What are your thoughts on why Black giving matters?

I believe Black philanthropy is critical to the well-being of the Black community. Black folk have always supported one another although we didn't call it philanthropy, but just “helping out.” Now that more and more Black people are capable of providing financial support, much of that support goes to helping our own immediate family members. I believe that in coming generations when the Black family is stronger in totality, we will be even better positioned to provide financial support more universally. Now is the time to start shaping the thinking and setting the expectations of those future generations.

What’s one lesson you’ve learned from your philanthropy?

The more I give the less I need!

What do you aspire to see in this season of change, following Ferguson, Baltimore, Charleston, and so on?

I think the two are very different questions. Black philanthropy is about paying forward as well as paying back! Ferguson, Baltimore, Charleston etc. are about issues of equality, opportunity and racial injustice. Issues that have existed long before and will continue to exist long after the notion of Black philanthropy.

About Community Foundation Week 2015
Community Foundation Week (#CFWeek)—running Thursday, November 12 through Wednesday, November 18—helps raise awareness about the more than 750 community foundations across the United States. Learn more here.


Submitted 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, author of Giving Back: A Tribute to Generations of African American Philanthropists and innovator for the touring exhibition “Giving Back: The Soul of Philanthropy Reframed and Exhibited.” Follow @ValaidaF and valaida.com.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Community Foundation Week Profile: Dr. Ivye L. Allen, President of Foundation for the Mid South




Community Foundation Week (#CFWeek)—running Thursday, November 12 through Wednesday, November 18 — helps raise awareness about the more than 750 community foundations across the United States. Given the crucial role of community philanthropy in a vibrant local community, over the coming days, BlackGivesBack.com is highlighting staff, board members and donors at community foundations, demonstrating strong commitment to informing, inspiring, investing in and involving Black philanthropic leadership.

The Black Giving Matters series by BGB Contributor Valaida Fullwood launched in August during Black Philanthropy Month 2015 is being reprised this week in observance of Community Foundation Week.

Ivye L. Allen, Ph.D. is President and CEO of the Foundation for the Mid South (FMS), a community foundation serving the tri-state region of Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi. The Foundation was established to bring together the public and private sectors and focus their resources on increasing social and economic opportunity.

FMS supports programs and initiatives that focus on community development, education, health and wellness, and wealth building. Its approach is straightforward and long term: enable communities to develop solutions to better conditions and improve lives.

One of the Foundation’s many community partners is 100 Black Men, a national organization dedicated to improving the quality of life and economic opportunity for African-American men. With FMS support, the Jackson, Mississippi chapter of 100 Black Men developed Pathways to Success: Encouraging Career-Readiness for Young Black Men. It is an education program focused on academic strategies and enrichment opportunities to help high school students learn in effective and innovative ways. FMS also granted funds to bring the museum exhibit Giving Back: The Soul of Philanthropy Reframed and Exhibited to three Historically Black Colleges and Universities in its region, an intentional investment in the next generation of philanthropic leadership among young people of color.

Dr. Allen is a strategic and thoughtful leader who is skilled at bringing together community partners and attracting public and private resources to address important community concerns. Allen previously served as Chief Operating Officer for MDC Inc. and was Director of Fellowship Programs for the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. She also has held finance and marketing positions in Fortune 100 corporations.

Allen earned a Ph.D. in social policy from Columbia University; an M.S. in urban affairs from Hunter College; an M.B.A. in marketing and international business from New York University; and a B.A. in economics from Howard University.

Q&A

What’s your inspiration for giving?

Helping others has been in my DNA all my life; my mother and father were extremely giving to others in our family, community, and church. To be honest, as long as I can remember, our family was assisting the community. As a young teenager, I began to realize the impact of the care and support for others and the community that my parents exhibited. For me and my siblings, it was expected and quite frankly became second nature. We were engaged in many church, school, and social activities that focused on supporting children, families, and communities.

Our house was often the place for meals and visits by those who did not have family. My dad was often finding odd jobs to support those who needed a hand up. My mother provided meals for those without a home and the elderly in our neighborhood. It was expected that we visit our neighbors who were homebound or in a nursing home. The reward was in seeing the smiles on their faces and recognizing that someone cared about them and wanted the best for them.

As I became an adult, I continued those tendencies to give my time, talent and treasure. I am blessed to do it professionally but continue to do so personally. We were constantly reminded that to whom much is given much is required. I along with my nine siblings owe that training and the expectation to give back to our parents Otis and Rosie Lee Allen.


Submitted 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, author of Giving Back: A Tribute to Generations of African American Philanthropists and innovator for the touring exhibition “Giving Back: The Soul of Philanthropy Reframed and Exhibited.” Follow @ValaidaF and valaida.com.


Thursday, November 12, 2015

Black Women’s Giving Circle Kicks Off Community Foundation Week



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Members of the African-American Women's Giving and Empowerment Circle,
an initiative of the Arizona Community Foundation

Today marks the start of Community Foundation Week 2015, a national effort to raise awareness about the increasingly important role of these philanthropic organizations in fostering local collaboration and innovation to address persistent civic and economic challenges. Today there are over 750 community foundations across the country and chances are that there’s one serving your community.

What is a community foundation? The Council on Foundations defines them as grantmaking public charities that are dedicated to improving the lives of people in a defined local geographic area. They bring together the financial resources of individuals, families and businesses to support effective nonprofits in their communities.

In observance of Community Foundation Week (November 12-18), BlackGivesBack.com will highlight Black staff and board members at community foundations and their initiatives that benefit the African-American community. Let’s kick things off with the Arizona Community Foundation:

Arizona Community Foundation’s Black Philanthropy Initiative

In 2008 the foundation created the Black Philanthropy Initiative (BPI), a fund to advance equity, health, education, leadership and social justice for African-Americans in Arizona. Through strategic grantmaking, the BPI supports nonprofits led by and serving African‐Americans in such critical areas as health, education, workforce development, community building and more. Last month BPI celebrated the inaugural grants awarded by the African-American Women’s Giving and Empowerment Circle, one of two Black giving circles established under the initiative.


Read the full story here.

Learn more about the Arizona Community Foundation at azfoundation.org.


Monday, November 2, 2015

‘The Soul of Philanthropy’ Exhibit and Programs Open in Houston


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Prairie View A&M University student volunteers with exhibit creator Valaida Fullwood at the opening of 'The Soul of Philanthropy' at Houston’s Buffalo Soldiers National Museum.

Buffalo Soldiers National Museum leads community-wide exploration of African American giving traditions with new exhibition

HOUSTON, TX — A grand opening for the exhibit “Giving Back: The Soul of Philanthropy Reframed and Exhibited” took place at the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum (BSNM) on October 6. A historic, nonprofit institution, BSNM is hosting the exhibit in partnership with Prairie View A&M University, one of the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Museum founder Captain Paul J. Matthews is a Vietnam veteran, African American military historian and PVAMU alumnus. The Soul of Philanthropy exhibition opened as part of PVAMU’s Homecoming Week activities.

With roughly 75 guests, the opening event comprised a reception with wine and hors d’oeuvres, proclamations from Houston and Prairie View public officials, brief program remarks and exhibition tours. Author Valaida Fullwood and photographer Charles Thomas, creators of the exhibit, were in attendance and signed copies of their book Giving Back, which inspired the exhibition. Award-winning songwriter Kathy Burrell of Yourweh Music provided musical entertainment as did vocalist Kathleen Harrell.

“This is an exhilarating display of photographs, quotes and digital programming that educates the public about the importance of philanthropy and the historical aspects of giving in the Black community,” stated Camillia Rodgers, Ph.D., the museum’s executive director. “For our museum, philanthropy is integral to our existence and we are grateful to the corporate, foundation and individual donors who support our mission.”

Local sponsors and partners on the exhibition include Houston Arts Alliance, City of Houston, Association of Fundraising Professionals, Divinely Inspired Events, Ujima South, HiMac Center for Creative Thinking, Entrepreneur Innovation & Organizational Development, PVAMU School of Architecture and PVAMU Office of Development.

A part of the Houston Museum District, BSNM is hosting a series of public programs on various aspects of philanthropy. Each program is held on Tuesday evenings at 6:00 pm. The first program, “Historical Characteristics of Philanthropy in the African American Community,” took place on October 13. Entrepreneur and radio host Jeffrey L. Boney moderated a panel discussion with local philanthropic leaders Carl McGowan, board member at the Greater Houston Black Chamber of Commerce; Kim Roxie, founder of LAMIK Beauty and organizer of the Ultimate Community Baby Shower; and Nelson Bowman, managing director of the Southwest Region of UNICEF USA.

Phyllis Darden-Caldwell, a PVAMU alumna and exhibition planning committee member, remarked, “Hosting ‘The Soul of Philanthropy’ exhibit opened the door to a conversation that has been lacking in the African American community. Philanthropy has nothing to do with a check amount. Philanthropy is simply the act of giving from the heart with an intent to help others. The gift and size of the gift are determined by the giver; the value of the gift is determined by the recipient.”

The Soul of Philanthropy exhibit was made possible by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The James B. Duke Memorial Library at Johnson C. Smith University, in partnership with Fullwood and Thomas and the New Generation of African American Philanthropists giving circle, manage the exhibition’s national tour under the IMLS grant. Houston is the third stop on tour, following Charlotte and Denver, and the exhibit will be on display at BSNM through November 13.

Upcoming program at the Museum:

Tuesday, November 10: Corporate Impact on Philanthropy

About the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum
The Buffalo Soldiers National Museum, a non-profit 501(c)(3) institution, was founded in 2000 by Captain Paul J. Matthews. It is the only museum in the United States dedicated primarily to preserving the legacy and honor of the African-American soldier. In 2016, the Museum will celebrate the Sesquicentennial of the Buffalo Soldiers. To schedule a guided tour or to learn more about programs and educational forums, email info@buffalosoldiermuseum.com. You can also gain insights at buffalosoldiermuseum.com.

Photo courtesy of the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum