Back around 2006 and 2007, before New Generation of African American Philanthropists was fully formed or even had a name, we held monthly gatherings around town to decide who and how we wanted to be. Various people flowed in and out of the process and contributed seeds of ideas that eventually blossomed into our giving circle. Along the way, some folks opted out of becoming formal circle members because they had other commitments and priorities. Even so, bonds—tight ones and tenuous ones—made in the early days remained intact.
One such friend to the circle was Kelly Harris, PhD who was on faculty at JCSU. Often traveling internationally with student groups, Kelly tried to stay engaged and on occasion managed to attend meetings and provide input. Then we lost contact when his a new job took him out of Charlotte about 10 years ago. So, I was pleasantly surprised when Kelly, seemingly out of the blue, reached out to me at the start of last year.
From afar and unbeknown to me, he had continued to follow our circle’s evolution and work, and he inquired about The Soul of Philanthropy Reframed and Exhibited. Now a dean at Chicago State U, Kelly was interested in bringing the exhibit to his HBCU campus to teach philanthropy and benefit his students.
Representative of a solid (even magical) bond and a full yet never-ending circle, below is a photo from Kelly’s pop-up exhibition. It was mounted at CSU’s Gwendolyn Brooks Center in October. Quoted here, Ms. Brooks’ poetical pronouncement is truth.
“We are each other’s harvest; we are each other’s business; we are each other’s magnitude and bond.” — Gwendolyn Brooks