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

BGB :: Black Giving Matters Interview with Terri B. Eason of The Cleveland Foundation

Today marks the last day of Community Foundation Week (November 12-18). Since the 12th, BlackGivesBack.com has highlighted staff, board members and donors at community foundations that are demonstrating a strong commitment to informing, inspiring, investing in and involving Black philanthropic leadership.

This year’s final #CFWeek post profiled Cleveland-native, Terri Bradford Eason, who 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.

I had the pleasure of meeting Terri about four years ago as a part of her work with the Foundation’s African-American Philanthropy Committee (AAPC). AAPC was created in 1993 to promote awareness and education to African Americans about the benefits of wealth and community preservation through philanthropy.

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

Terri EasonServicePicture

Terri Bradford Eason volunteering at Ronald McDonald House in Cleveland, Ohio

From BGB :: Ivye L. Allen, President, Foundation for the Mid South

In observance of Community Foundation Week (#CFWeek), November 12-18, 2015, I’m delighted to share a BlackGivesBack.com profile on Dr. Ivye L. Allen, President of the Foundation for the Mid South, located in Jackson, Mississippi.

While we’ve yet to meet in person, Dr. Allen has been a tremendous supporter of The Giving Back Project and source of encouragement for me. She reviewed a galley version of Giving Back and provided advance praise. Most recently, her foundation awarded major grant funds to bring The Soul of Philanthropy to three Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the mid-South region.

Community philanthropy is crucial for vibrant local communities. It’s fulfilling to highlight the staff, board members and donors at community foundations that are demonstrating strong commitment to informing, inspiring, investing in and involving Black philanthropic leadership.

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


Dr. Ivye L. Allen, President, Foundation For The Mid South

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


“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.”

— Camillia Rodgers, Ph.D., Executive Director, Buffalo Soldiers National Museum, Houston, TX

READ MORE at BlackGivesBack.com: ‘The Soul of Philanthropy’ Exhibit and Programs Open in Houston


From BGB :: Philanthropy of Five Black Families Reaches Record High for Charles H. Wright Museum

Members of The Five who contributed $100K each

Members of The Five who contributed $100K each

“My goal was to have an African American donor giving $100,000 for each decade of the Museum’s 50-year history….I am so proud to say that we have accomplished that goal!”

Wright Gala Chair Vivian Rogers Pickard, President of the General Motors Foundation and Director, Corporate Relations for General Motors Company

Visit BlackGivesBack.com for my latest story: Philanthropy of Five Black Families Reaches Record High for Charles H. Wright Museum.

The Wright Gala: Beautiful and Inspiring Philanthropy

Take your seat at The wright Gala

Take your seat at The Wright Gala

Good fortune landed me in Detroit earlier this month at The Wright Gala 2015. Star-studded and spectacular, the gala celebrated 50 years of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History and carried the theme Inspiring Beauty.

In a room filled with exquisite orchids, rich decor and gorgeous guests, the most beautiful thing about the gala is that it generated a record 1.8 million dollars for the Museum, including a half million dollars contributed by five Detroit-based African American families and businesses that contributed gifts of 100,000 dollars, each. Kudos to the woman with the vision and finesse to achieve this formidable goal—Wright Gala Chair Vivian Rogers Pickard, President of the General Motors Foundation and Director, Corporate Relations for General Motors Company!

Below is a photo slideshow from “the most successful fundraiser in the Wright Museum’s history” (click a photo to access the slideshow and captions). Learn more about the Wright Museum, and check out my story about the gala today on BlackGivesBack.com.

Photographs courtesy of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History


Watch: On The Road With ‘Soul’

After fielding a variety of questions about The Soul of Philanthropy from inquiring museums, colleges, community-based nonprofits and funders, instead of a FAQ sheet, I decided to compile images from exhibitions and programs, to date.

Since pictures speak a thousand words (at least), photographs provide institutions that are interested in hosting the exhibit a window for visualizing their possibilities. My hope is that the compilation of photos—from the multimedia, comprehensive exhibit and the pop-up, abridged edition—allow people to observe variations and options for installation, based on a venue’s gallery space and the imagination of the exhibition designer. Set to classic soul music, the video speaks volumes about the multimedia exhibit and its public programs that reframe portraits of philanthropy.

Please watch, enjoy and share!

Note, you can follow my work on The Soul of Philanthropy via Facebook.

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!