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


That time of the year is blowing in again.


Today marks the vernal equinox and first day of spring—a beloved time of year. Perhaps because my birthday comes along with the season, the arrival of springtime happenings (greenness, jonquils, morning bird songs, warmer weather, budding trees, brighter days) is a source of supreme delight. Conversely, fall is my least favorite season. This is evidenced in the poem below, written exactly six months ago on the autumnal equinox.

fading daylight hints its approaching

the rustling cues my lament and loathing

hustled, leaves surrender verdant hues

a pall befalls every branch in view.

its cooled breath, a cause to brood

déjà vu dreading of a bluest mood.

never ushered, seemingly flung in

the season liked least of them

alas, here again: autumn.

ava wood

autumn leaves

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My Heart’s In It

Socially Conscious Messages  Eco-Friendly Organic Fabrics • Artfully Designed Products

web-banner-galloree-01Last week saw the launch of HEARTWORK—inspired by the touring museum exhibit The Soul of Philanthropy, and I’m overjoyed!

HEARTWORK features original designs and apparel for all ages to give rise to a new generation of philanthropists and a movement of conscious giving for social change.

SHOP HEARTWORK! Select an item for yourself or to give as a gift!what-gives-onesie-screenshot

Socially Conscious Messages  Eco-Friendly Organic Fabrics • Artfully Designed Productstruth-hoodie-screenshot

Socially Conscious Messages  Eco-Friendly Organic Fabrics • Artfully Designed Productsgive-love-screenshot

Socially Conscious Messages  Eco-Friendly Organic Fabrics • Artfully Designed Productstruth-tee-screenshot

Socially Conscious Messages  Eco-Friendly Organic Fabrics • Artfully Designed Productsgo-do-tee-screenshot

Socially Conscious Messages  Eco-Friendly Organic Fabrics • Artfully Designed Productsgiving-black-screenshot

Socially Conscious Messages  Eco-Friendly Organic Fabrics • Artfully Designed Productsbaby-bib-screenshot


CLT: Our Lives, Our Giving, Our Futures Matter

Black philanthropy demonstrates “the vitality of Black communities, our value of Black lives, and our commitment to Black futures.” — from Keysha Walker’s 31 August Days message

Giving Augustly Year-Round

The shooting deaths of Keith L. Scott and Justin Carr have intensified questions of race, power and justice in Charlotte.

As engaged citizens, conscious givers, philanthropic leaders and change agents in the Charlotte region and beyond, members of New Generation of African American Philanthropists have an opportunity and responsibility to participate and help shape what happens next in the wake of recent tragedies and civic crisis.

Faces of members and friends of NGAAP-Charlotte compose this collage (right) from August celebrations of Black Philanthropy Month (BPM 2016). For one month, our giving circle engaged in a daily social media messaging campaign titled 31 August Days. The campaign served as a declaration of members’ beliefs and an affirmation that Black lives matter and Black giving matters. The entire series of messages can be found on our website and Facebook page.

Little did we know in August that one month later we would need to rely so heavily on our shared values and collective strength to nurture hope for what positive can come next. In fact, the 31 August Days messages prove prophetic in insight as Charlotte makes its way forward.

The spirit of unity that flowed from coast to coast during Black Philanthropy Month filled a reservoir that we are now able to draw from deeply. In retrospect, we are extraordinarily thankful for the 31 days of concerted, nationwide celebrations of culture, community, philanthropy and unadulterated love that BPM 2016 gifted our circle. We welcome continued connections, ideas and support from our allies in the growing Black Philanthropy Movement.



Read More At The Source; Click Here: CLT: Our Lives, Our Giving, Our Futures Matter

Q: What Gives?


A: The Soul of Philanthropy! #getyourgiveon


National Coffee Day is the perfect occasion to share a preview glimpse of another item in the new heARTwork product line, which is inspired by The Soul of Philanthropy exhibit! Plus, I’m thrilled that The Soul of Philanthropy, Pop-Up, Abridged Edition will soon open at Duke University’s Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture.

My cup runneth over.

— VF




news breaks

hearts break

bubbles break

necks break

levees break

spirits break

voices break

promises break

chains break

windows break

poses break

facades break

silence breaks

fevers break

habits break

barriers break

spells break

molds break

cycles break

fires break

clouds break

waves break

dawn breaks

— ava wood


Morning in Charlotte

The feeling reminds me of the morning following a huge snow or ice storm.

Grogginess lingering after a late, late night of watching news reports, assessing the “forecasts,” tracking accounts of heightening treacherousness via social media, and peeking from windows to see whether “it” has arrived in your area yet. Businesses closed. Events canceled. Continuous conference calls since everyone is working from home. Cooped inside. Eating peanut butter. Clutching hot drinks. And wondering if the worst has ended.

The snow meant for them

The Family Collage


Next in the Heritage & History series is “The Family Collage,” which is an assembling of stories about kinship and friendship featuring Journalist and Madam CJ Walker descendant A’LELIA BUNDLES. It is one of several programs I’ve had the joy of creating and working on as project manager with the Gantt Center. Stories on past programs in the series can be found here and here.

A’Lelia is a writer, public speaker and entrepreneur, and she was the guest speaker at the inaugural opening of my exhibit The Soul of Philanthropy. “The Family Collage” is inspired, in part, by recent commemorations of the 105th birthday of Charlotte-born artist Romare Bearden. Bundles interviewed Bearden in the 1980s and their maternal ancestors were close friends. President of the Madam Walker and A’Lelia Walker Family Archives, A’Lelia will share fascinating stories of both the Walker and Bearden families.

A’Lelia has written extensively about her illustrious family—from the biography of her iconic great-great-grandmother, On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C.J. Walker, to stories about her great-grandmother A’Lelia Walker, known as “The Joy Goddess,” whose parties, friendships, global travel and arts patronage made her a central figure of the Harlem Renaissance.

Come gain new insights on these high-profile Black American families and bold American history-makers. You’ll also take away ideas for collecting your own family history and keeping your family’s roots alive.

You can buy your ticket here: The Family Collage

The Heritage & History series features nationally noted artists and scholars who are preserving Black culture through an array of disciplines and media. In hosting each culture keeper, the Gantt Center invites public participation in special events and experiences that illuminate important stories and engage audiences.

The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture celebrates the contributions of Africans and African-Americans to American culture and serves as a community epicenter for music, dance, theater, visual art, film, arts education programs, literature and community outreach. The Gantt Center partners with Duke Energy in presenting the Heritage & History series.


Inside Philanthropy Reblog :: A Rising Force: On the State of Black Philanthropy


Sisters in Philanthropy breakfast event in New York for Black Philanthropy Month 2016



“The populist nature of black philanthropy underscores the need to look beyond foundations and major donors in thinking about how to spur greater African American giving. Because there are fewer big pots of wealth available, as is the case for white America, efforts to elicit higher levels of mass giving and better-targeted giving are key to nurturing black philanthropy as a rising force.”

READ THE FULL STORY: A Rising Force: On the State of Black Philanthropy – Inside Philanthropy – Inside Philanthropy (Source: Inside Philanthropy / Story by Ade Adenjii)

Inside Philanthropy Reblog :: Meet the Top 20 Philanthropists of Color


The new national museum of African American History and Culture

The nation’s ethnic landscape is changing, and by 2050, America will be majority non-white. These demographic shifts have implications for a wide variety of sectors, including philanthropy.

Continue reading

31 August Days

31 August Days Brady Bunch

Let me tell you about my giving circle!

Actually, let members of the circle tell you who they are and what we value in the slideshow below.

I value being a part of a group that embraces continual learning, awards grants to support philanthropic causes, engages diverse audiences to raise our collective consciousness,  advances social justice, seeks innovation and impact, explores a myriad of possibilities and supports each other while supporting our community.

For our 10th anniversary, members and friends of New Generation of African American Philanthropists engaged in #31AugustDays, a social media messaging campaign in observance of Black Philanthropy Month. The slideshow below is a compilation of the messages shared each day last month to elevate our culture of giving. An august group, celebrating an August of Black philanthropy. Enjoy! 

— VF

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