Meka Sales honors her mother’s philanthropic legacy
“What are you doing to serve?”
In celebration of Women’s History Month, a tiny question with huge implications is shared from Giving Back. The question is from a story by Meka Sales in memory of her mother Shirley Oliver Nelson—an excellent example of generousness.
Read Meka’s full story: “An Excellent Example,” Giving Back: A Tribute to Generations of African American Philanthropists (pp. 148-149).
Happy Women’s History Month!
To celebrate, women from Giving Back, from my giving circle and from my life will feature here throughout March. The month’s first post is excerpted from Giving Back and spotlights my cousin Britt and my great aunt Annie. Read it below.
Britt Brewer Loudd and her grandmother Annie. Photograph by Charles W. Thomas
ANNIE BREWER | W o n d e r W o m a n
Growing up I honestly believed my grandmother was a superhero. She has long been known both for model good looks and model goodness and she is more wondrous than ever well into her eighties.
Granny’s house was just doors from ours during my childhood so I saw her every day. Awestruck by her ability to handle just about everything, I was her shadow and saw up close how she was always going and doing for others. The little things she did are what I remember most. So many times I watched curiously as she reached into her bottomless basket of greeting cards when somebody needed lifting up and for folks to know they were not forgotten.
My fondest memories are of how she would cook and bake for everyone. Since Granny didn’t drive, Papa would load up the car with pots and dishes and then my grandparents with me in tow would deliver food to people who were sick or going through something. Even through a child’s eyes, I could see the impact of her generosity in each person’s face. Though she was not a wealthy woman in terms of finances, Granny was doing what she knew to do best. Fixing a home-cooked meal or whipping up a cake was my grandmother’s way of sharing her riches.
I still walk in her shadow today. Sometimes between picking up kids at school, assembling prizes for the youth choir raffle, hauling Girl Scout cookies across town and organizing my precinct meeting I pause and think, just like Annie Brewer, and a little smile comes over my face.
BRITT BREWER LOUDD Connection: Granddaughter • Channel: Member, Greenville Memorial AME Zion Church • Cause: Social justice
As the year winds down, reflecting upon it reminds me just how incredible it’s been. Among the best moments was being the 2014 Lake Distinguished Visitor at Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Indianapolis was a wonderful whirlwind of speaking engagements and book signings, spanning breakfast, lunch, dinner and the nearly every second in between, hosted by a law firm, church, classroom, community groups and more.
Here’s a BlackGivesBack.com story about it: Lake Institute Hosts First African American Distinguished Visitor in Philanthropy.
WRITE ON Q! A poem from Giving Back, as National Poetry Month continues!
Gave away my soul.
Giving back to get it back.
Given what I know.
— Ava Wood
No time today to pen a new poem, so I’ve recycled this haiku from Giving Back that I post here at least once a year.
Wishing you sweet sonnets, heavenly haiku, cozy couplets and such during National Poetry Writing Month!
Feeling immense thanks to fellow BGB contributor Akira Barclay for this email message and photo, which made my day.
Current members of the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society’s Emerging Leaders International Fellows Program
I hope you are well. I just wanted to share how Giving Back is reaching an exciting audience and making an impact on how we learn and practice philanthropy.
As you may know, I completed the 2012 Emerging Leaders International Fellows Program last year where my research project “The Value of Giving Circles in the Evolution of Community Philanthropy” referenced Giving Back. During the presentation of my research, I showed my copy of Giving Back and my peer Fellows and the Program administrators were very impressed.
A few weeks ago, I was invited to speak with the new cohort of Fellows about collective giving and giving circles. I thought it was the perfect time to present my gift copy of Giving Back (the one you signed). Needless to say, Barbara Leopold, Director of the International Fellows Program was delighted.
Attached is a photo of Barbara and the Emerging Leaders Fellows who have come to New York from across the globe to study community foundations and diaspora philanthropy.
Sweet note from a reader this week:
“I wanted to let you know that a couple of my colleagues were at the N.C. Center for Nonprofits Conference last week and said they REALLY enjoyed your speech! One said it broadened their perspective on philanthropy and provided a take on philanthropy that doesn’t get told enough. I could not have been happier to hear that! When they found out we had a copy of the book, they were in the conference room checking it out. I thought I would share a piece, although a small example, of the impact of your work. P.S. …I was utterly and totally envious of the church fan takeaways they came back with…feeling jealous (smile)”
Not too long ago, a member of New Generation of African American Philanthropists visited KIPP Charlotte—the Knowledge Is Power Program—a free, open-enrollment, college preparatory school, serving students from 5th to 8th grade. Along a hallway wall, large yellow sheets charted students’ thoughts on philanthropy. In awe of the questions and the written responses of students, she snapped these photographs.
The co-founders of KIPP Charlotte, Tiffany Washington and Keith Burnam, are featured through stories and photography in Giving Back: A Tribute to Generations of African American Philanthropists. Here’s more about their school from its website:
“Ninety-three (93) percent of KIPP Charlotte students are African American, 4 percent Latino/Hispanic, 2 percent Multiracial, and 1 percent Caucasian. Over 70 percent qualify for the free and reduced meal program. KIPP Charlotte serves communities that are traditionally underserved and marginalized in education.
“The mission of KIPP Charlotte is to prepare all of our students to excel in the nation’s finest high schools and colleges by cultivating the habits of mind, character skills, and knowledge necessary for their success. We provide an education that will enable our students to lead full lives and empower our graduates to be the future leaders of Charlotte and agents of change in the world beyond.”
With KIPPsters in the world, our future looks to be in excellent hands.