Things That Matter

Today I’m participating in a radio interview with Kirsten Sikkelee, executive director of the YWCA Central Carolinas and Rob Harrington, attorney at Robinson Bradshaw. Rob has a story featured in Giving Back, and he recently participated in a panel discussion hosted by the YWCA.

The topic of our discussion on WFAE’s Charlotte Talks is philanthropy and racial justice. Throughout the country, YWCA’s mission is “eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity of all people.” As a part of its mission, Charlotte’s YWCA hosted a community forum last month that centered on the intersection of philanthropy and racial justice and focusing on my book Giving Back.

The aim of writing Giving Back was to spur conversation about inclusive and responsive philanthropy and to shift thinking and actions for the betterment of our communities. I’m ecstatic about being a part of the Charlotte Talks interview this morning. The discourse I hoped for has definitely begun, as shown here and here and here. — VF

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” —  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today’s Forecast

Warmth with Scattered (Word) Clouds

Wordle.net

“A warm smile is the universal language of kindness.” — William Arthur Ward

‘A great tradition of giving, sharing and caring’

Mr. and Mrs. Jones, parents of Melandee Jones | Charles W. Thomas Jr., photographer

“The humility, sincerity and genuine spirit of African American philanthropy are what move me the most. There is not a sense of needing to advertise or make political plays—it’s a sincere desire to help another human being, and that is the true meaning of philanthropy. Our community is great at this and has a great tradition of giving, sharing and caring.”

— Melandee Jones, member of New Generation of African American Philanthropists with a tribute story about her parents featured in the book Giving Back

For Lovers of Humanity


Charles W. Thomas Jr., photographer

A loving heart is the truest wisdom. — Charles Dickens

Giving Back reframes portraits of philanthropy, while reclaiming its root meaning: love of humanity. Put simply, each page pictures love.

Wishing “lovers of humanity” everywhere a Happy Valentine’s Day! — VF

Ninety-One Years

Aunt Dora, a great aunt, indeed. Photography by Charles W. Thomas Jr.

My muse and great-aunt, Dora—whose hands provide evocative imagery for the cover of my book Giving Back: A Tribute to Generations of African American Philanthropists—celebrated her 91st birthday last week. What a blessing!

When I called Aunt Dora with birthday well-wishes that night, she told me about her day. She began with a swim and water aerobics class. Then she had lunch with the friendly faces at Our Daily Bread, the soup kitchen she founded over 20 years ago. She delighted in the steady inflow of birthday calls and cards from folks around the country. And she wrapped up her special day with a family dinner at her favorite seafood restaurant.

If I’m granted 91 years on earth (or anywhere near that many), I hope each one is filled, like Aunt Dora’s, with a fair share of faith, health, family, friends, passions and purpose. May your year and every one to come be filled with the same. — VF

29 Days

Black History Month begins, again.

“Those who have no record of what their forebears have accomplished lose the inspiration which comes from the teaching of biography and history.”

Carter G. Woodson, Ph.D., The Father of Black History (1875–1950)