Come Chill at Jazzy

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For 43 years, the Gantt Center has kept cool. 

Preserving and presenting facets of Blackness has remained central to its mission.

From the mystic coolness of West African civilizations,

to the emergence of cool jazz in the Forties,

to that elusive cool exuded in attitude, looks, strides, speech and ways of being . . .

Remarkably, the best of African American art and culture has come to characterize coolness. As designer Christian LaCroix astutely observed:

…the history of cool in America is the history of African American culture.

This sums up my organizing concept that will shape this year’s JAZZY HOLIDAY GALA. Six months from now at Jazzy 2017, the Gantt Center will celebrate the ineffable style and aesthetic known as Black Cool. 

An elegant black-tie gala, Jazzy 2017 will take place on Saturday, December 2 in the expansive Crown Ballroom of the Charlotte Convention Center. This is the 37th year of Jazzy, the Gantt Center’s signature fundraising event and Charlotte’s not-to-be-missed holiday tradition.

Jazzy 2017 is on track to become the Gantt Center’s largest gala ever, attracting as many as 1,000 guests. The gala generates crucial dollars to advance the Gantt Center’s mission, which keeps African American art, culture and history alive and thriving in Charlotte.

At 6:00 pm, Jazzy will kick off with a festive cocktail reception. Fun and fellowship continue with dinner and wine, award presentations, impact stories, opportunities to give, live entertainment and dancing. Individual seats are $250. A range of sponsorships and benefits is available to corporations, small businesses and individuals. Learn more at ganttcenter.org.

 2017 Spirit of the Center Award Recipients

Ferguson Chambers & Sumter | esteemed Charlotte-based law firm which has earned an international reputation for affirming civil rights

Charles Farrar | Charlotte’s world-class artisan who through woodturning produces finely crafted bowls and vases, prized by museums and art collectors

Philip Freelon | renowned architect of the Gantt Center and numerous cultural institutions, most recently the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture 

The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture presents, preserves and celebrates excellence in the art, history and culture of African-Americans and people of African descent. Come chill at Jazzy and invest in our collective future with your support of the Gantt Center. 

I’m excited, once again, to play a part in envisioning and organizing one of Charlotte’s most important, hot-ticket events. Take a look Jazzy last year and the year before last and the one before that and before that!

— VF

Charlotte’s ‘Art & Soul’

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Former Charlotte Mayor Harvey Bernard Gantt at Jazzy 2016

As the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts & Culture revs up for its major fundraiser, Jazzy Holiday Gala 2017—which, by the way, will be the COOLEST ever—here are some photos and the new sizzle reel from Jazzy 2016 (thanks to the most-talented Ben Premeaux!).  After such an awesomely rosy and red hot event last year, I can’t wait to share with you my ideas for Jazzy 2017!

Photos and a recap of past years can be found here and here and here.

Please watch and enjoy the sizzle reel! https://youtu.be/gcTtXhqN3rA

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

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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)

Power of Ten

Today, 8 June 2016, marks the 10th anniversary of my giving circle New Generation of African American Philanthropists!

Celebrate the POWER OF TEN with us by making a gift to the Giving Back Project, our civic engagement initiative to reframe portraits of philanthropy. Read our story below.

NGAAP 10 Years

Here’s our history:

Founded in 2006, New Generation of African American Philanthropists (NGAAP-Charlotte) is a giving circle with members who share values around philanthropy and pool charitable dollars to give back to the community. We envision “a healthy, safe and prosperous community for African American families to live, work and flourish,” Our mission is “to promote philanthropy-the giving of time, talent and treasure-among African Americans in the Charlotte region, with the goal of enhancing the quality of life within our communities.” Our circle’s fund is hosted by Foundation For The Carolinas.

On June 8, 2006, a committee of the African American Community Foundation hosted a gathering at The Wadsworth Estate.  The meeting was held in collaboration with community organizers Darryl Lester and Athan Lindsay, under a Ford Foundation-funded initiative to engage Black donors across the American South. In a room full of 60 people to generate ideas and momentum, a group of Charlotteans embarked on what would become the founding of New Generation of African American Philanthropists.

Through collective giving, civic engagement and grantmaking, we explore new as well as time-honored ways of giving and embrace a definition of philanthropy that encompasses gifts of not only money, but also time, energy and intellect. The Giving Back Project is our civic engagement initiative to reframe portraits of philanthropy and reclaim the root meaning of philanthropy—love of humanity—by celebrating African American history and traditions. The initiative began when we published the book Giving Back and has now evolved into a vehicle for sharing our collective stories, promoting inclusive and responsive philanthropy, stimulating reflective community giving. The multimedia exhibit “Giving Back: The Soul of Philanthropy Reframed and Exhibited,” our latest endeavor, is touring colleges and museums across the country. You can support and participate in our work by becoming a donor or donor-member of our giving circle.

Past anniversaries

Our giving circle began with 17 members as well as numerous friends, and over the past decade has grown to include over 30 members and a growing number of friends.

The 17 Founding Members of NGAAP-Charlotte:

  1. Men Tchaas Ari
  2. Renee L. Bradford
  3. 
Heather Carty Ward
  4. Deborah Charles
  5. Rashad Davis
  6. Diatra Fullwood
  7. 
Valaida Fullwood
  8. 
Ohmar Land
  9. Eric Law
  10. 
Tameka Lester
  11. Patricia Martelly
  12. Fontella McKyer
  13. 
Vernetta Mitchell
  14. 
Cathy Peterson
  15. Jenene Seymour
  16. 
Jehan Shamsid-Deen
  17. Annette Taylor

Legacy Matters

Happy sums up how I’m feeling about tonight’s event with the members and supporters of the African American Legacy (AAL) at The Chicago Community Trust. I’m also looking forward to sharing the stage with Liz and Don Thompson, founders of Cleveland Avenue Foundation for Education, and Xavier Ramey, senior assistant director for social innovation and philanthropy at the University of Chicago. It’s certain to be a good night.

AAL African Americans and Philanthropy (FINAL)

Black Giving: Celebrating Our Past, Redefining Our Future

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Coming up next week and pretty excited about it! I’m eager to tighten connections with and learn more about the work of the African American Legacy, an initiative of The Chicago Community Trust. Chicago is such a spectacular city, and after the 30th I’ll share updates on my visit.

 

WV Initiative Part of Changing Face of Philanthropy

Coming Up: West Virginia African American Philanthropy In Action

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Gantt Center, NGAAP-Charlotte Host ROSENWALD Film Screening

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The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture and 

New Generation of African American Philanthropists invite you to

ROSENWALD

The Remarkable Story of a Jewish Partnership with African American Communities

Film screening with director Aviva Kempner in observance of Black History Month

Tuesday, February 9

6:30 p.m. | doors open at 6 p.m.

Gantt Center at Levine Center of the Arts • 551 S Tryon St, Charlotte, NC

Adults: $10           Gantt Center Members, Students and Seniors: $5

R.S.V.P. via this link


JULIUS ROSENWALD never finished high school yet rose to become President of Sears, Roebuck and Co. and one of the wealthiest men in the United States in the early 20th century. His greatest legacy, however, was philanthropic. Julius Rosenwald gave away what today would be nearly one billion dollars, making him one of the greatest philanthropists of all time. Joining forces with African American communities, together, they built 5300 schools whose alumni are legion. Featured in the film are such luminary alumni as writer Maya Angelou, Tony Award-winner George Wolfe and Congressman John Lewis. In addition to funding schools, Rosenwald also awarded fellowships to a who’s who of Black scholars and artists including Marian Anderson, James Baldwin, Ralph Bunche, Gordon Parks, Romare Bearden and others whose contributions ultimately transformed American life for generations and now benefit and inspire us all.

Unfolding over a century ago, the Rosenwald story illuminates abiding truths about opportunity, visionary leadership, cross-cultural collaboration and community transformation, providing a blueprint for 21st-century philanthropy.

COMMUNITY PARTNERS: Charlotte Jewish Film Festival and Levine Museum of the New South, which is exhibiting The Soul of Philanthropy now thru Feb 28.

 

 

BIG Night for the Gantt Center

B I G  T H A N K S.   B I G  H E I G H T S.   B I G  N I G H T.

For the past four years, I’ve been the event consultant on the Jazzy Holiday fundraising events of the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture. Year after year, I have witnessed the event grow in a myriad of ways, so this year I picked the theme “BIG” for Jazzy. It seems the universe was listening and served up an event bigger than I ever imagined. Every element seemed to come “super-sized”.

The 2015 Jazzy Holiday Gala took place at the Charlotte Convention Center on Saturday, December 5. The event featured not only big art, a “big cheese” table, a big bar, big opportunities to give and a big band called Big Blast and the Party Masters but also preview performances by the world-renowned Dance Theater of Harlem and Spirit of the Center awards to Duke Energy, arts patrons Dr. Yele Aluko and Dr. Shirley Aluko-Houston, and Lonnie Bunch of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. People and entities of huge prominence in their respective spheres.

And arguably best of all, the event helped the Gantt Center raise over $500,000—the largest amount ever raised in the 35-year history of the “Jazzy” fundraising luncheons and galas. We set our intention with the BIG concept, and it was delivered, big time!

Here’s a link to a Storify.com recap of the event and below are some event photographs, along with a written account of the organizing concept that framed Jazzy 2015.


Organizing Concept for Jazzy 2015

Last year the Gantt Center celebrated its 40th anniversary. Now, in the 41st year, the Center sits in full recognition of its evolution from a seed of an idea into a big institution. After tremendous growth since 1974, the mission and daily work of the Center are reflected in a big building, big city, big contributions, big membership roll, big opportunities, big expectations and more.

While big is perceived the ultimate attainment, big things are realized only through the sum of innumerable little things and small acts. Decades are built on brief moments. An art collection begins with one piece. One spellbinding performance bursts from practiced small moves. A masterful painting emerges from a thousand brushstrokes. The largesse of a major donor begins with the experiences of a once impressionable child. Little things make big things happen.

The 2015 Jazzy Holiday Gala is designed as an expression of gratitude and recognition of the bigness and boldness of the Gantt Center and of Black culture. Without a multitude of everyday achievements, small contributions, untold sacrifices and mundane milestones, we could have never reached the grand heights of today. And without ongoing community commitment, both large and small, we will never fulfill our biggest dreams, our most audacious hopes or our immense potential to be great.

Click a photo to access the sideshow format.

Photographs courtesy of the Gantt Center as well as from my iPhone and social media

— VF

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

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