About valaida

writer. thinker. listener. idea whisperer. traveler. mad word geek. absolute scrabble freak. drinker of life. da*n good friend. ridiculous foodie. imaginative dreamer. afflicted party planner. kind conqueror. okra lover. hillbilly w/ southern roots far-stretched global sights. author of book that reframes portraits of philanthropy. Giving Back: A Tribute to Generations of African American Philanthropists | http://bit.ly/htLxQU

1621 Days


Four years ago.

Today is October 4, 2015, and this afternoon we’re celebrating the 4th anniversary of the publication and release of the book “Giving Back” at Levine Museum, where the exhibition “The Soul of Philanthropy” is now on display. So much has filled the past four years, and yet it feels like yesterday.

Originally posted on valaida:

“If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” ― Toni Morrison, Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize-winning author

After one thousand, six hundred and twenty-one days, I can, at long last, announce the publication and arrival of Giving Back: A Tribute to African American Philanthropists—a new book that reframes portraits of philanthropy. Hallelujah!!!

Buy the book…and read more about Giving Back on these sites:

View original

The Fall

tumbling into fall

since summery slip, head then heels

rose to see love go

— ava wood

VF photos in the gardens of Duke Mansion, during its centennial.


“Life is a glorious banquet a limitless and a delicious buffet.” — Maya Angelou

Every sense was fed at Friday’s ‪#‎CultureFeast‬, a long-table, family-style dinner with 200 lovers of art, culture and food in the center of South Tryon Street. An idea cooked up and served by Charlotte’s Arts & Science Council, it was quite a delicious evening that I’ll savor for some time.

My sister captured this fantastic photo of the night’s color and vibrance.

Diatra pic of culture feast


“Do not be fooled into believing that because a man is rich he is necessarily smart. There is ample proof to the contrary.”

— Julius Rosenwald


One of the most intriguing stories of transformational philanthropy‬ from the 20th century centers on the South’s Rosenwald Schools. A new documentary tells the story of how  Sears President Julius Rosenwald, influenced by the writings of Booker T. Washington, joined forces with African American communities during the Jim Crow era to build over 5,300 schools. 

Today in Charlotte, documentary filmmaker Aviva Kempner will attend film screenings on at Regal Ballantyne Village Stadium 5, with Q&A sessions at 1:10 PM and at 4:00 PM.

Rosenwald’s initiative to create schools throughout the American rural South, resulted in the education and progress of generations of Black Americans. His story can offer lessons for the field of philanthropy and philanthropists today. Being the philanthro-geek that I am, I cannot wait to see this film!


Deeply Green Day

deeply green day, kept

before summer yields her reign, 

pressed, bottled, to sip.

— ava wood

my heart’s in the write place

“You should write because you love the shape of stories and sentences and the creation of different words on a page. Writing comes from reading, and reading is the finest teacher of how to write.” — Annie Proulx

Book talk photo

Me…talking about the things I write about

We’re coming up on four years since Giving Back was first published and released in October 2011. Before that, it took four and a half years to write the stories and capture the photography for the book. Over the past eight-plus years, if I’ve learned nothing else, I know within me is the heart, mind and soul of a writer. It’s not just what I do, it’s who I am. The scarcity of time to write about all that I’d like to haunts me.

Write or wrong—my frustration is fueling ideas about how to hoard some time to nestle into and write to my heart’s content.

— VF

The Act of Adapting

OnQ Adaptation

ad·ap·ta·tion | adapˈtāSH(ə)n/

a movie, television drama, or stage play that has been adapted from a written work, typically a novel. the act of adapting.

Adaptation is the theme for Season 7 of On Q Performing Arts, Inc., which opens this month!

OnQ SpunkThe three main shows of the season were adapted from literature. Opening the season is Spunk, based on three stories by the incomparable Zora Neale Hurston adapted by George C. Wolfe. Wolfe won a 1989 Obie award for best off-Broadway director for Spunk.

Other productions during Season 7 include The Children of Children Keep Coming, Soulful Noel and The Bluest Eye.

Save by subscribing to the entire season of OnQ productions for only $75. Click here to buy your tickets!

‘A Soul Generated By Love’

“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”  — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

TSOP Website Screenshot2

Today Giving Back: The Soul of Philanthropy Reframed and Exhibited, Pop-Up, Abridged Edition, opened at Levine Museum of the New South in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Come to see philanthropy differently.


Ours Is An Old South and New South Story

Levine Museum of the New South opens the Pop-Up, Abridged Edition of “The Soul of Philanthropy” this weekend. Consequently, this week has been a joy-filled hustle to deliver the exhibit crate, various panels and elements for the show. Read more about it here.

Anticipation. Preparation. Exhaustion. It’s feeling like Christmas eve!!!

Come to see philanthropy differently.

Exhibition runs Sep 5, 2015-Feb 28, 2016


State of the HeART Philanthropy

NGAAP Group - 4

State of the HeART Philanthropy | New Generation of African American Philanthropists

September 1 opens the door to another year of Black giving in all its forms. Let’s keep giving augustly, and celebrate together again next August!

In substance and in symbolism, The Soul of Philanthropy Reframed and Exhibited represents our giving circle’s gifts of time, talent and treasure. It is part of our civic leadership in reframing portraits of philanthropy. Through the power of art and culture, the exhibit is designed as a call to action toward a movement of conscious giving for social change.

On September 5, the Pop-Up, Abridged Edition of “The Soul of Philanthropy” exhibit opens to the public at Charlotte’s Levine Museum of the New South. It will run through February 2016—Black History Month. Visit and you will see the exhibition celebrates our stories, which span the Old South and the New South. Our circle’s work is also shaping The South of the Future, because we recognize that Black giving matters.

Come to see philanthropy differently.

New Generation of African American Philanthropists

Group portrait featured above was taken at The Green, Charlotte, North Carolina, August 16, 2015. Members and the year they joined the giving circle are listed below and ordered as pictured from left to right.
  1. Tiffany Graham, 2014
  2. Bernadette Johnson, 2013
  3. Lisa Moore, 2014
  4. Qiana Austin, 2014
  5. Diatra Fullwood, 2006
  6. Ed Franklin, 2008
  7. Donna Murray, 2014
  8. Rashad Davis, 2006
  9. Keysha Walker, 2013
  10. Robyn Massey, 2014
  11. Charles Thomas, 2011
  12. Dawn Fisher, 2008
  13. Jerel Harvey, 2013
  14. Todd Pipkin, 2014
  15. Valaida Fullwood, 2006
  16. Shawna Freeman, 2015
  17. Reginald White, 2015
  18. Victoria White, 2015
  19. Cathy Peterson, 2006
  20. Tiffani Teachey, 2015
  21. Michael DeVaul, 2015
  22. Renee Bradford, 2006
  23. Kia Lyons, 2015
  24. Clarence Lyons, 2013
  25. Albert Carter, 2015 (not pictured)
  26. Emma Allen, 2015 (not pictured)
  27. Eric Law, 2006 (not pictured)
  28. Jehan Shamsid-Deen, 2006 (not pictured)
  29. Meka Sales, 2009 (not pictured)
  30. Melandee Jones, 2007 (not pictured)
  31. Patricia Martelly, 2006 (not pictured)
  32. Steven Pearson, 2014 (not pictured)

Photographer: Rae Images

Get in the picture! Contribute to or join our circle at New-Philanthropists.org.