Shifting from ‘Me’ to Movement of Conscientious Philanthropy

Listen to my recent conversation with Tavis Smiley about Black philanthropy and Giving Back on his nationally syndicated radio program, The Tavis Smiley Show.

During the interview, Tavis questions whether any hope remains in rekindling a spirit of compassion and generosity in a culture that seems to be degenerating and glorifying a me-and-mine mentality. Hear my response . . . and then share yours here.

The book Giving Back is a centerpiece of the Giving Back Project, which aims to ignite a movement of conscientious philanthropy by empowering a generation to recognize their power and responsibility to give back.

The interview airs on The Tavis Smiley Show through Friday, May 25. Tune in and then share the link and your thoughts. — VF

Charles W. Thomas Jr., photographer

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.

The Indie Book that Could…and DID for Good!

Alternately astonished, agog, giddy, daunted, delighted and more, my mind has been an emotional carousel since the release of my book Giving Back: A Tribute to Generations of African American Philanthropists. News that book critic Kam Williams recently listed Giving Back among the 10 Best Black Books of 2011 set my head spinning deliriously and it hasn’t slowed yet.

The fact that a homemade (i.e., independently published) book by novices merited ranking among those of seasoned authors and publishing house giants is remarkable, to say the least. While I set my sights sky high from the outset and then joined with others to pour my soul into producing a compelling book, uncertainty loomed over whether Giving Back would garner extensive national attention, however well done or worthy.

Three months after the book’s release, wide praisemedia buzz, brisk sales and coast-to-coast readers have pushed aside prior concerns. Making a top-ten list further affirms our work and casts a spotlight that few indie books capture.

Giving Back is presently a contender for a 43rd NAACP Image Award nomination for Literature. The Hollywood Bureau organizes the awards program, which is “the nation’s premier event celebrating the outstanding achievements and performances of people of color in the arts as well as those individuals or groups who promote social justice through their creative endeavors.” There are 53 award categories, spanning television, motion picture, recording and literature. Giving Back is vying for one of five nominations in the Outstanding Literary Work – Non-fiction category.

Receiving a nomination would brighten the spotlight on Black philanthropy and usher in exciting opportunities. I don’t know what our chances are for a nomination, but I do know that Giving Back has already overcome formidable odds, which leaves me optimistic. Without benefit of a publishing industry “machine” to promote the nomination, Charles, NGAAP-Charlotte and I are relying largely on friends, family and grassroots publicity to get the word out. Goodness knows, It’s worked wonders so far.

Here are things you can do to help Giving Back secure a nomination:

If Giving Back actually secures a nomination in January, then dues-paying NAACP members can vote (online, I think) for Giving Back. More on this later. First things first.

Oh . . . and if you missed it, here’s the list:

  1. Sister Citizen by Melissa V. Harris-Perry
  2. Fatal Invention by Dorothy Roberts
  3. Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness? by Touré
  4. Muzzled by Juan Williams
  5. A Reason to Believe by Governor Deval Patrick
  6. Ashamed to Die by Andrew J. Skerritt
  7. Super Rich by Russell Simmons
  8. Giving Back by Valaida Fullwood
  9. Fail Up by Tavis Smiley
  10. High on the Hog by Jessica B. Harris

Whatever the outcome with the NAACP Image Awards, I’m thrilled and honored to share the stories, images and cultural legacy of Giving Back. — VF

Goodreads Giveaway Winners

A colleague told me about Goodreads.com and its book giveaway program to promote new releases. So I signed up. For the giveaway, I offered two complimentary copies of Giving Back to book lovers across the United States as well as Canada, United Kingdom, South Africa, Kenya…and a few favorite island nations.

The book promotion ran for about six weeks and 539 readers entered the contest which ended last night. This morning I’m pleased to announce the winners are: Brad M. of Hilo, Hawaii and Claire A. of West Sussex, England.

Brad and Claire will soon receive their copy of Giving Back, and hopefully they’ll love it, rate it with 4 or 5 stars, write book reviews and share news of it with their friends.

The Goodreads Book Giveaway is a wonderful way to connect with fellow book worms around the world and to introduce a new book, worldwide. Arguably, I’ve won more than Brad and Claire. Thanks Goodreads.com! — VF

Valaida Fullwood (author), Charles W. Thomas Jr. (photographer) and Casajulie (cover and book designer)

Amplifying Our Stories…New Lines of Sight, New Voices

Here’s yesterday’s interview with Charles, me and host Frank Stasio on WUNC’s public radio program “The State of Things.” Please listen.

Photo credit: Charles W. Thomas, Jr.

Loop21.com Interview: Generosity in Black Communities

Charles W. Thomas Jr., photographer

I just returned from an amazing weekend on St. Helena Island where the CIN Leadership Summit took place (more on that experience later). While participating in the Summit, I had a phone interview with Joi-Marie McKenzie of Loop21.com about my new book Giving Back.

New Book Celebrates Generations of African Americans Giving Back, author interview by Joi-Marie McKenzie, Loop21.com

More interviews, book reviews and commentary on Giving Back can be found here, here and here.

Author Q&A on QCityMetro: Spotlight on ‘Giving Back’

An interview about Giving Back posted on QCityMetro.com today. It’s my interview with Michaela Duckett, who frequently profiles authors on what is one of Charlotte’s most popular blogs. Among other things, Michaela reveals five things about me. Most of them were probably little-known facts and trivia…that is, until today.

AUTHOR’S SPOTLIGHT: Q&A with Valaida Fullwood

by Michaela L. Duckett, 28 September 2011

 

CLT ViewPoint book review: ‘Remarkable and lush imagery, interviews, anecdotes’

Today, Charlotte ViewPoint posted a book review by Michael Solender on Giving Back. Below are excerpts, and the complete review can be found here.

“Giving Back is a Fullwood project several years in the making and documents the rich history and core values within the Black community of giving time, talent, and treasure to others. Fullwood partnered with photographer Charles W. Thomas Jr. to tell more than 60 stories through remarkable and lush imagery, interviews, and anecdotes.

“The book is a testament to the storied tradition of centuries-old customs that endure throughout the African Diaspora. Fullwood notes that during slavery and its aftermath in America, communities would have perished without the generosity, innovation, and sacrifices of their members. While rarely recognized as philanthropists, the members of these communities most certainly were just that. …

“Giving Back is a joyous exultation at the power of the human spirit. Few pleasures in life offer as much satisfaction as doing for others; this remarkable book celebrates the legacy of the legions within our community who discovered this succor in a significant and meaningful way.”

Michael J. Solender, City Life Editor for Charlotte Viewpoint

Click, for further book reviews and commentary on Giving Back.

Books for Back-to-School Reading from Philanthropy 2173

Lucy Bernholz reviews Giving Back on her blog PHILANTHROPY 2173:

“Another resource is Giving Back: A Tribute to Generations of African American Philanthropists by Valaida Fullwood. This beautiful book—that reminds us of the power of photographs and the truly human element of philanthropy—is one result of many years of giving circle work supported by The Ford Foundation, Knight Foundation, Foundation for the Carolinas and dozens of individual and other institutional funders. This is the kind of book I will go back to time and again. The people profiled are as generous in sharing their stories as they are in sharing the time and treasure. Collectively, the stories remind us of the role that mutual support and community play in philanthropy, the importance of faith traditions, and the pure joy that philanthropy can bring. Like Giving 2.o, Giving Back refocuses our attention onto the hundreds of millions of givers who are the real engines of philanthropy.”

Researcher and blogger Lucy Bernholz is a “philanthropy wonk” who analyzes the industry and philanthropic strategy. PHILANTHROPY 2173: The Business of Giving was named a Fast Company magazine “Best Blog” and a Huffington Post “Philanthropy Game Changer.”