To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven. — Johannes A. Gaertner
Giving thanks on Thanksgiving.
Elon Homes and Schools for Children chose to give a signed copy of Giving Back as a gift to Dr. Ben Carson, world-renowned pediatric neurosurgeon, who was featured at the Education Matters fundraising luncheon this week.
Knowing that luminaries with gifts, achievements and biographies that inspire—like Dr. Carson, Marian Wright Edelman, Amiri Baraka, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and others—now have Giving Back is a gift in and of itself.
A bright and beautiful Romare Bearden collage covered a recent thank-you card from Mrs. Jeanne Brayboy. After Pride Magazine released its Mar/Apr 2013 issue that featured a story I wrote to honor her life and achievements, she penned the kind message below.
But doesn’t she know? The honor of sharing her story, yet again, is all mine.
“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.” — William Shakespeare
March 15, 44 B.C.: Beware of any friends named Brutus! Julius Caesar laughed off a soothsayer’s warning and was assassinated by his frenemy 2056 years ago today. from Goodreads.com
The Ides of March, while clearly not a good day for Julius Caesar, has inevitably been a great day for me. And today has been no except. More on my birthday weekend tomorrow.
“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.
Where would the Giving Back Project be without the support of organizations that have purchased Giving Back in bulk? While that’s a rhetorical question, I know for certain that such orders have not only accelerated individual sales but also expanded the geographical reach of the book and boosted awareness about our campaign to “reframe portraits of philanthropy.”
Nearly a dozen groups have purchased 10 or more copies of Giving Back to give as a gift to trustees, donors, youth, award recipients, special guests at events and other stakeholders of the organization—it’s a memento of appreciation and inspiration that literally gives back.
We’re grateful to every organization that has bought multiple books. Those that have purchased 50 or more books hold a special distinction. And thus, here’s a bulk delivery of gratitude and a shout-out to the Giving Back Project’s most generous book buyers, which are listed below.
We cannot thank you enough!
Alternately astonished, agog, giddy, daunted, delighted and more, my mind has been an emotional carousel since the release of my book Giving Back: A Tribute to Generations of African American Philanthropists. News that book critic Kam Williams recently listed Giving Back among the 10 Best Black Books of 2011 set my head spinning deliriously and it hasn’t slowed yet.
The fact that a homemade (i.e., independently published) book by novices merited ranking among those of seasoned authors and publishing house giants is remarkable, to say the least. While I set my sights sky high from the outset and then joined with others to pour my soul into producing a compelling book, uncertainty loomed over whether Giving Back would garner extensive national attention, however well done or worthy.
Three months after the book’s release, wide praise, media buzz, brisk sales and coast-to-coast readers have pushed aside prior concerns. Making a top-ten list further affirms our work and casts a spotlight that few indie books capture.
Giving Back is presently a contender for a 43rd NAACP Image Award nomination for Literature. The Hollywood Bureau organizes the awards program, which is “the nation’s premier event celebrating the outstanding achievements and performances of people of color in the arts as well as those individuals or groups who promote social justice through their creative endeavors.” There are 53 award categories, spanning television, motion picture, recording and literature. Giving Back is vying for one of five nominations in the Outstanding Literary Work – Non-fiction category.
Receiving a nomination would brighten the spotlight on Black philanthropy and usher in exciting opportunities. I don’t know what our chances are for a nomination, but I do know that Giving Back has already overcome formidable odds, which leaves me optimistic. Without benefit of a publishing industry “machine” to promote the nomination, Charles, NGAAP-Charlotte and I are relying largely on friends, family and grassroots publicity to get the word out. Goodness knows, It’s worked wonders so far.
Here are things you can do to help Giving Back secure a nomination:
If Giving Back actually secures a nomination in January, then dues-paying NAACP members can vote (online, I think) for Giving Back. More on this later. First things first.
Oh . . . and if you missed it, here’s the list:
Whatever the outcome with the NAACP Image Awards, I’m thrilled and honored to share the stories, images and cultural legacy of Giving Back. — VF
“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” — G.K. Chesterton
Remain mindful throughout this season…and may your Thanksgiving Day be ever most wondrous. — VF
So grateful for all the folks who participated in our “Giving Back” video shoot last Friday. Over 20 people, including several children and teens, took part in the shoot for a trailer for the book Giving Back. The day was fantastically fun and everyone brought great energy.
Thank you to Lisa Moore and Bailand Bohannon, Rashad Davis (we appreciate the lunch that you provided!), Diatra Fullwood, Melissa Harris, Terry Tiamd, Cathy Peterson, Q and The Bazzelles, The Bradfords and The Thomases.
Studio space was kindly provided by WTVI, Charlotte’s PBS station. I’m appreciative to Eric Davis for making the connection and to Rick Fitts, Jere Thomas and Jeannie Fry for providing support during our time at WTVI.
The gifted Sino Chum of Camko Studios is our professional videographer. Sino worked nearly nonstop over an intense 48-hour period and crisscrossed the country—from Denver to Charlotte to Columbia to Charlotte and back to Denver—to make it all happen. Thank you Sino for your time and enthusiasm!
I’m also filled with gratitude for the dear friend who generously gave a donation to make the video shoot possible. Wow!
We’re aiming to release the main video around Thanksgiving, which marks the start of the season of giving. Please look out for the video’s release and then help us circulate it by sharing the link with family and friends.