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.
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.