Knowledge of Philanthropy Is Power

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.

— VF

 

Giving Rooted in History and Culture

Last week, Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. came to Charlotte to deliver his lecture “Finding Your Roots” and I was project manager of the nearly sold-out event hosted by the Gantt Center. Luckily I was able to share my book as a gift to him . . . and have a friend snap this photo.

#getyourgiveon

Dr Gates

From ‘Insights on Faith and Giving’

After a quick search of this blog, I’ve just realized that I failed to mention, here, an honor received months ago yet due to take effect in 2014. About six or seven months ago, the Lake Institute on Faith and Giving at Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy named me its 2014 Distinguished Visitor.

Pruitt prayer hands

Photograph by Charles W. Thomas Jr. featured in ‘Giving Back’

Selection as a Lake Distinguished Visitor is an honor of the highest order and I am thrilled. Leaders and associates of a prestigious program of the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy recognized the work poured into the Giving Back Project, its uses to spark constructive community conversations and the threads of faith and religion that bind the book. As the Distinguished Visitor for 2014, I will have an opportunity to travel to Indianapolis and the Indiana University-Purdue University campus in fall 2014 to lead seminars, give lectures, share Giving Back and engage faculty and students from the various university disciplines in conversation on issues related to religion and philanthropy.

I hadn’t blogged about this honor earlier, perhaps, because 2014 seemed so far off. (Lately though, next year seems to be barreling toward me faster than ever.) Even with fall 2014 more than a year away, Lake Institute staff has begun building our relationship. Case in point, they recently invited me to be a guest blogger.

Below is more about the Lake Institute. And further below is a link to my guest post.

Lake Institute was created from the legacy gift of Tom and Marjorie Lake, their daughter Karen Lake Buttrey and the Lilly Endowment. Lake Institute exists to honor the philanthropic values of the Lake family and blesses the community with a space for public inquiry and hands on training in the service and study of faith and generosity.

Lake Institute exists to explore the relationship between faith and giving in various religious traditions. We honor the philanthropic values of the Lake family through strategic priorities that continually examine how faith inspires and informs giving. Through years of intentional community building, we have nurtured an environment for public inquiry and crafted hands on training that assists faith communities and donors in the pursuit of their philanthropic passions. 

My Aunt Dora |  Photography by Charles W. Thomas Jr.

My Aunt Dora, the face that launched 1000 days and more! | Photography by Charles W. Thomas Jr. featured in ‘Giving Back’

Insights is the e-newsletter distributed by Lake Institute. The April 2013, Issue #2 features a short piece about my great-aunt Dora who, as a retired pastor and generous woman of faith, inspired Giving Back as well as my recent TEDx Talk. The post is titled “The Face That Launched a Thousand Days.” You can read it here.

Oh and…you can follow @LakeInstitute on Twitter and Facebook, too.

A special note of thanks to Aimee Laramore, Associate Director of the Lake Institute, for her generosity of spirit.

— VF

Rose Gardener: Maldonia’s Story

“The fragrance always remains in the hand that gives the rose.” — Chinese proverb

With the John and Maldonia Fullwood Family Reunion coming up this summer and my dad’s birthday this week, sentimentality and family pride have been stirred. The portrait below is of Mary Maldonia McGimpsey Fullwood, my great-grandmother who was born 132 years ago. She died before I was born, yet I have always felt a deep connection to her because of my father’s profound affection and memories of his grandmother, as revealed in the story that follows. Maldonia was a mother of 10 children and I recently posted stories about some of them here, as well as a story about her dad here.

Mary Maldonia McGimpsey Fullwood, circa 1945

Mary Maldonia McGimpsey Fullwood, circa 1945

ROSE GARDENER
by Allen Fullwood
A story from Giving Back: A Tribute to Generations of African American Philanthropists

Cherished times grew plentiful on the front porch of my grandmother’s home. My sister, cousins and I spent a large share of our childhood playing up and down Bouchelle Street and around Mama’s house. Mama Fullwood is what the other grandchildren called her, but to me she was always just Mama.

Mama’s porch was a beloved gathering spot for extended family while I was coming up. During the long stretch of summer in the South, you could find Mama sitting in her favorite chair, uncles and aunts perched on the banister and visitors often overflowing to the lawn. One too many cousins and I usually pressed our luck to sit snugly together in the porch swing that hung by a slim chain. As passersby neared the house, Mama would invite them to come up and sit a spell. Unless something was pressing, refusals were few.

At the corner of the porch sprung a beautiful rosebush that bloomed bountifully around Mother’s Day. It was sort of a tradition for neighbors along Bouchelle to stop by Mama’s house Sunday morning or the day before for a red blossom clipped from her rosebush. This simple gift was emblematic of her generosity, and I can picture her smile as she graciously gave each rose.

Monetary wealth was not found in our family, yet Mama earned a reputation for being a generous woman who loved her family deeply, served her church devoutly and gave to all freely. Her manner of treating people provided lessons everyday about giving of yourself, your time, your energy and a kind word. When called to give material objects including money, she taught us to give ungrudgingly.

Mama cared for her family like she tended her rosebush. She exposed each of us to the light of church and faith, rooted us in tradition, nurtured us with encouragement and was prompt to prune us when we grew unwieldy and wild. Her good deeds were a trellis during our upbringing. She likely smiles among the clouds as she watches the seeds of her generosity blossoming today.

#GetYourGiveOn

Here’s your invitation!

You're invited!

We’re Bringing ‘Giving Back’ at Poor Richard’s Book Shoppe is a free and family-friendly gathering, centered on Black Philanthropy. The evening of the 23rd will include:

Poor Richard’s, a family-operated business in uptown Charlotte, is a full-service, independent bookstore and multi-cultural venue.

New Generation of African American Philanthropists (NGAAP-Charlotte), a CIN giving circle, comprises member-donors who pursue a mission “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.”

We’re aiming to do for philanthropy what Justin does for sexy. Well…we’re certainly trying.

— VF

Ninety-two Years

Aunt Dora, a great aunt, indeed. Photography by Charles W. Thomas Jr.

Aunt Dora, a great aunt, indeed. Photography by Charles W. Thomas Jr.

Since her life inspired Giving Back…and her hands grace the book’s cover…and Feb 2 is her 92nd birthday, today (the 2nd day of Black History Month) we’re honoring Dora Atlas.

My great-aunt Dora is founder of Our Daily Bread of Asheboro, NC. Her story, “Rich Aunt,” opens Giving Back, and you can read it here.

Happy Birthday Aunt Dora! 

— VF (#BHM Day Two)

Quick Biopic ‘On Writing and Giving Back’

In November 2011, right after the release of Giving Back and during filming for the book’s trailer [ philanthropy reframed ], we created this 3-minute piece….I call it my micro biopic.

After a year, we finally carved out time to complete this short film and just posted it to YouTube yesterday. Watch. Enjoy. Share.

GBP video snapshot

What A Treat

It’s a treat to engage in a Giving Back book talk in Charlotte, my home city. Generous support from Snyder’s-Lance, Inc. and its African American Associate Network as hosts of the event is appreciated.

BABIP Hosts ‘Politics, Power and Philanthropy’

Coming up in one week . . .

Much Given, Much Expected

“To whom much is given much is expected. This biblical passage from the Gospel of Luke conveys a belief that I and many of my African American family and friends hold dear. Many of us recall a defining moment or childhood lessons that influence our philanthropic giving.”

I’ve opened with these lines from Giving Back to say thanks to many of the people who gave their time, talent and treasure during the development of the book. The word cloud below is yet another way of giving props….as was done here too.