On June 9, 2016, Charlotte’s New Generation of African American Philanthropists celebrated its 10th anniversary at The Wadsworth Estate. Giving circle members—current, past and prospective—gathered for “White Party, Black Giving,” an event with food, drinks, live music, reminiscing, friendship and shared purpose.
Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God’s handwriting.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
A recent interview with Jamaica Gilmer reminded me just how much I love having a hand in the revelation of stories by writing. Jamaica’s work on The Beautiful Project unveils stories through photography.
Tomorrow is the summer solstice and official start of summer. Last month, I waxed poetic about Carolina springtimes. While I love the solstice, seeing spring leave is bittersweet.
Here’s another set of photos from earlier this spring. These are from my birthday visit to Charleston, South Carolina, specifically Middleton Place Farm and Gardens. My marvelous day at Middleton was a March surprise from a friend “asgood as spring itself.”— VF
“When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest. The only thing that could spoil a day was people and if you could keep from making engagements, each day had no limits. People were always the limiters of happiness except for the very few that were as good as spring itself.”
Abundant home-state pride spurred me to instigate a friendly photo-fueled feud via my Twitter feed. The conflict centered on the prettiest and best-est springtimes ever: New Jersey vs. North Carolina. Having spent eight spring seasons in the Garden State, I give props to the beauty that blossoms there once winter ends. But that was precisely the problem. Winters in Jersey were so harsh and long, the thaw melted into and chilled most of the spring months. I prefer springs that arrive on time, or better yet early and then linger. After eight fun-filled years, I quit my Jersey Girl stint and returned home, again a true-blue Carolina Girl.
Pride is among the deadly sins, and my competitive drive is no virtue either. That said, I set out to advance my stance in the online “feud.” Painstaking finesse aided my quest for the most verdurous visions of spring’s breathtaking essence. Then the perfect moment arose and I plucked it. At the height of the fairest season in the Tarheel State, an invitation from my green-thumbed sister, who’s on the Charlotte Garden Club board, to the annual member picnic in the celebrated gardens of Wing Haven.
Here’s a fountain of iPhone photos from that magnificent May day, which makes a convincing case about North Carolina’s springtime supremacy. Good thing Jersey Guys Sidney and Brian are such good sports.
If I had Aladdin‘s lamp for only a day, I’d make a wish and here’s what I’d say: Nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina in the morning.
Portrait from "Giving Back" | Charles W. Thomas Jr., photographer
“Dreams are illustrations from the book your soul is writing about you.” ― Marsha Norman
Through the book Giving Back, we venture to dream a bigger dream and to ignite a movement of conscientious philanthropy by empowering a generation of Americans to recognize their power and responsibility to give back. ― VF
Photograph from "Giving Bsck" |Charles W. Thomas Jr., photographer
“African American philanthropy is a stunning example of ‘populist philanthropy.’ We as a people have been able to demonstrate how philanthropy is a form of relationship with others that everyone can practice. Children to seniors in our community have a long history of giving selflessly to those we know intimately as well as to total strangers. I am very proud of our cultural history as philanthropists!”
— Jennifer Henderson, a kind contributor of narratives forGiving Back
Mr. Wallace Pruitt of Seversville | Photography by Charles W. Thomas Jr.
“Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.” — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Another exquisite truth from yesterday’s NCNG luncheon keynote by Martin Eakes of Self-Help, paired with a portrait from Giving Back. — VF
Mr. and Mrs. Jones, parents of Melandee Jones | Charles W. Thomas Jr., photographer
“The humility, sincerity and genuine spirit of African American philanthropy are what move me the most. There is not a sense of needing to advertise or make political plays—it’s a sincere desire to help another human being, and that is the true meaning of philanthropy. Our community is great at this and has a great tradition of giving, sharing and caring.”