Picturing Home

View from around Morganton, my beloved hometown. This iPhone photograph was taken through a screened-in porch, hence the pixelated effect. Looking at this photo takes me home again.

Taken with Valaida's iPhone

Taken with Valaida’s iPhone

peace of ice

Dawn’s damp chill hanging
behold divinity etched 
Master’s piece in ice

— Ava Wood

‘Happiness Doubled by Wonder’

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” — G.K. Chesterton

Photography by Charles W. Thomas Jr.

Remain mindful throughout this season…and may your Thanksgiving Day be ever most wondrous. — VF

Revealing Meaning

“Storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it.”  — Hannah Arendt

Charles W. Thomas Jr., photographer

Giving Back: A Tribute to Generation of African American Philanthropistsreframing portraits of philanthropy by telling our stories.

Loop21.com Interview: Generosity in Black Communities

Charles W. Thomas Jr., photographer

I just returned from an amazing weekend on St. Helena Island where the CIN Leadership Summit took place (more on that experience later). While participating in the Summit, I had a phone interview with Joi-Marie McKenzie of Loop21.com about my new book Giving Back.

New Book Celebrates Generations of African Americans Giving Back, author interview by Joi-Marie McKenzie, Loop21.com

More interviews, book reviews and commentary on Giving Back can be found here, here and here.

Dr. Ivye Allen: ‘Must have book of our history, great teaching toolkit’

Charles W. Thomas Jr., photographer

Deeper discussions about philanthropy and more mindful giving are ongoing aims of the Giving Back Project. The book Giving Back, a centerpiece of the project, is designed to become a springboard for such conversation and strategic giving. Driving forces for NGAAP’s project are a desire to reclaim the root meaning of philanthropy—love of humankind—and a resolve to build bridges between “conventional” philanthropy and the centuries-old philanthropic traditions flourishing in Black communities, for the sake of every community.

Project photographer Charles Thomas shared with me that after a recent lecture on a college campus, the first question posed by a student was: “What is philanthropy?” That’s the central question we explore in Giving Back. Through inquiry, interviews and images, Charles and I engaged over 200 Black donors and asked such questions as: How do you define philanthropy? Juxtaposing photographs and narratives, Giving Back illuminates transcendent truths and elicits new thinking about philanthropy.

We look forward to connecting with schools, colleges and youth programs to engage students, educators and others around the content, themes and questions presented in Giving Back.

Foundation executive Dr. Ivye Allen commented on the promise Giving Back holds to become an educational tool that can enlighten readers and inspire greater giving.

Giving Back is a must have book for all!  It brings to life African American giving and highlights philanthropic acts that many of us perform daily without naming it ‘philanthropy.’ The combination of photographs and narrative effectively reframes the dialogue on philanthropy, particularly among the unsung heroes and heroines contributing to daily growth and prosperity in our communities.

“A must have book of our history and a great teaching toolkit!”

— Ivye L. Allen, Ph.D., president and CEO, Foundation for the Mid South

Please take a look at further commentary and book reviews on Giving Back: A Tribute to Generations of African American Philanthropists.

Soulful Sonia Sanchez

Minneapolis held many delights, and one was seeing the petite, yet potent and positively poetical Sonia Sanchez. I was thrilled to get a glimpse of her in the elevator my first evening in town and overjoyed when she joined our breakfast table the next morning. But was bummed when I couldn’t carve the time to tag along with her on a quick run to Whole Foods.

“. . . I write to keep in contact with our ancestors and to spread truth to people.” — Sonia Sanchez (as quoted in I Dream a World, by Brian Lanker)

Linetta Gilbert, Sonia Sanchez and Darryl Lester (Valaida's iPhone)

Survey The World!

“A man’s feet must be planted in his country, but his eyes should survey the world.” — George Santayana

Charles W. Thomas, Jr., photographer

Happy 93rd B’day Nelson Mandela!

“We must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right.”

— Nelson Mandela (b. 18 Jul 1918)

Charles W. Thomas Jr., photographer