Coming Full Circle

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Happy to share a new poetical video from The Soul of Philanthropy!

Grateful to my friend, the poet Quentin “Q” Talley, who wrote “Full Circle” nearly 11 years ago. I commissioned the poem, initially, for a special event in 2008. Since then Q has breathed new life into it again and again. A print version was featured in my book Giving Back. He has performed it live at my book talks and various events. He recorded it for kinetic typography that is featured in The Soul of Philanthropy exhibit. And he worked with me to create this video.

I am equally grateful to my friend, the videographer Sino Chum, who filmed this piece. As with Q, Sino and I have collaborated numerous times over the years, like here and here and here. This project includes footage shot in Atlanta, Columbia, SC and Denver. It took more than a year to complete. A year that included Sino returning to his ancestral homeland, Cambodia, and getting married. Mazel tov! đź’–

Steve Jobs once said the most powerful person in the world is the storyteller. Though it doesn’t always start out that way, somewhere in the process of writing a story I do feel powerful. It is a satisfying (and rather magical) process that brings me immense joy. With film, poetry and theater, respectively, Sino and Q are great storytellers and work hard at their crafts. That’s why I relish opportunities to collaborate and thus unite and activate our super powers.

Long time coming, Full Circle, the video. Enjoy

The Sweetest Thing

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I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver. — Maya Angelou

April 4th is Maya Angelou’s birthday. Values espoused in her writing inspired me to join with Tracey Webb and Akira Barclay to write The Sweetness of Circles. Like me, Tracey and Akira are chroniclers and members of giving circles. Our collaborative piece was initially posted on Medium and then later picked up by The Charlotte Post and The Nonprofit Quarterly.

I also was motivated to write a parallel and more personal piece, titled The Blacker The Circle, which ran on Qcitymetro.com last week. It is an op-ed about my giving circle, New Generation of African American Philanthropists. Today, the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP) posted the op-ed on its blog.

Members of Charlotte’s New Generation of African American Philanthropists over the years.

[Free Webinar] Engaging Black Philanthropists

Sign up for my upcoming webinar presented by Sanford Institute of Philanthropy on Thursday, February 20. It’s free!

GAIN A TRADITIONAL OUTLOOK

Hear principles and traditions of philanthropy in Black communities

EXPLORE NEW INSIGHTS

Gain insight on why Black giving matters and how to engage, beyond transactions, to build meaningful relationships with Black donors and communities

IMPLEMENT YOUR LEARNING

Take away ideas for your organization to implement this August in observance of Black Philanthropy Month

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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