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 You can also gain insights at

Photo courtesy of the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum

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