To Cap It All

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A recent visit to our capital city served to cap off the 10-year milestone of the Giving Back Project, which produced the book Giving Back and The Soul of Philanthropy exhibit.

The 2017 National Conference of the Association of African American Museums, hosted by the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, took place last week in Washington, DC. And the conference opening coincided with the start of Black Philanthropy Month.  I’m still recovering from the road trip, digesting the experience, and following up with the wonderful historians, artists, writers, curators, researchers and educators I met from across the U.S. and Caribbean.

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Stimulating every sense and emotion, the AAAM conference is an experience I will always remember, feel grateful for, and share more about later. In the meantime, below are some photos and a public expression of gratitude to Diatra Fullwood, Vonda Kaye and Sino Chum—their presence, power and persistence in DC embodied The Soul of Philanthropy.

Photos by Sino Chum.

 

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Full Circle Magic In Ten Summers

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“Invest in the human soul. Who knows. It might be a diamond in the rough.”  Mary McLeod Bethune, educator and philanthropist

2017, the tenth summer

The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) has invited The Soul of Philanthropy to be the featured exhibition and Cultural Resource Sponsor when it hosts the 2017 National Conference of the Association of African American Museums (AAAM) in Washington, DC, July 31 – August 4.

NMAAHC Founding Director Lonnie Bunch is honorary chair of this year’s AAAM conference, where the theme, PRESENCE, POWER, PERSISTENCE, focuses on Black social change movements. It’s a one-of-a-kind conference that, in 2017, is expected to bring together 600-800 attendees from over 200 museums, libraries, HBCUs, historic sites and cultural centers in the United States, the Caribbean and Latin America.

To mount this special exhibition of The Soul of Philanthropy, a small team and I are headed to DC later this month. We’ll install the exhibit at The Capital Hilton, where conference attendees will be immersed in the exhibit’s themes and imagery of radical generosity and conscious giving for social change. This exhibition will also help kick off Black Philanthropy Month 2017.

 During the inaugural year of the high-profile NMAAHC, this exhibition at the AAAM conference is a notable milestone in the 10-year history of The Giving Back Project. At the outset in 2007, we had high aspirations for the project, as shown in this excerpt from an early document:

An artistic expression of our cultural heritage, the Giving Back Project is a vehicle for sharing our collective stories and promoting inclusive and responsive philanthropy. We want it to become a springboard for deeper conversations and more mindful giving.

The ever-evolving project now comprises the civic engagement work of New Generation of African American Philanthropists, the book Giving Back, both the comprehensive and the pop-up edition of “The Soul of Philanthropy,” and anchor involvement in annual Black Philanthropy Month celebrations.

The AAAM conference brings an uncommon opportunity to reach beyond the usual audiences of institutional philanthropy and into the expansive world of cultural and educational institutions, where a broad cross-section people can come to see philanthropy differently.

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2013, the fourth summer

Coincidentally, it was during Black Philanthropy Month, August 2013, at the AAAM conference in Charlotte that Charles Thomas and I, along with Darryl Lester, served on a panel about African American giving and first announced plans to create and launch a touring exhibition. Reimagining our book as a multimedia exhibit was a vision we’d held since before the book was published in 2011.

Participation on the AAAM pre-conference panel ushered in a slew opportunities by introducing us to museum professionals from around the country and to funders such as the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

We couldn’t have predicted that four fruitful summers later, we’d be circling back to the AAAM conference as a proud sponsor and with our long-envisioned exhibit realized—thanks to a major grant from IMLS and a partnership with Johnson C. Smith University.

2007, the first summer

On a roadtrip to Washington, DC to attend my first national conference on Black philanthropy, I revealed my concept for The Giving Back Project with three members of New Generation of African American Philanthropists in July 2007. Since April, when the idea for a book first came to me, I had held it tightly, disclosing it to no one. Renee Bradford, Rashad Davis and Ohmar Land were the first to hear my idea for Giving Back, and they were instantly enthusiastic and encouraging when I shared my plan. Laughter and animated chatter about wildest-dream possibilities for the yet-to-be-published (and still to be written) book fueled the drive and before we knew it the long drive from Charlotte to Washington, DC was too soon over.

Returning to our nation’s capital a decade later with both an award-winning book and a groundbreaking exhibit for the AAAM conference—hosted by NMAAHC, no less—feels marvelously perfect.

all the summers in between

The three summers shared here punctuate a decade of summers that felt more like hell than heaven. Hot days filled with tedium, sweat and hope. For folks who have a wild idea, passion project, labor of love or a seed for something big in your head or heart, know that your best hopes can come through, despite inevitable struggles and setbacks. My 10-year experience has been a sweaty, bloody, teary mix of anxiety and courage, patience and persistence, bewilderment and wonder, sorrow and satisfaction.

A full circle etched with an idea.

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To make a tax-deductible contribution in support of the special AAAM exhibition:
  • Go to: new-philanthropists.org/initiatives/ and click the phrase: Giving Back Project at SocialGood to donate via the project’s PayPal site
  • Or, mail a check to our fiscal agent: Social Good Fund, Attn: Giving Back Project, P.O. Box 5473, Richmond, CA 94805 (be sure to write on the memo line: Giving Back Project)
Financial gifts in any amount are welcome and needed. Every contributor will be acknowledged in print and online stories that we produce. Contributors donating $500 or more will be listed by name on a panel composing the DC exhibition.
If you have questions, feel free to call or email me. Thank you.

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Coming Up in August: BPM 2017

BPM 2017 BannerBlack Philanthropy Month is a multimedia campaign to inform, involve, inspire and invest in Black philanthropic leadership. This year’s focal concept is Giving Voice to Fuel Change.


FROM THE BPM 2017 MEDIA RELEASE

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Moderator at a BPM 2016 event in NYC

Entering its seventh year of observance, Black Philanthropy Month (BPM 2017) is an unprecedented campaign during August to strengthen African-descent giving in all its forms.

Dr. Jackie Copeland-Carson, founder of Black Philanthropy Month and Pan African Women’s Philanthropy Network (PAWPNet) offers a litany of unjust events around the world and contends, “Black people are at a crossroads.” She further asserts, “This year we’ll celebrate our giving past while reviving Black giving as a collective movement for social change. Look for opportunities to join PAWPNet and support high-impact projects that, with your support, can build a better future in this new period of injustice and struggle for our communities everywhere.  Black giving matters!”

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Host of a BPM 2016 event in NYC

Attacks on our nation’s progress in areas of voting rights, LGBTQ equality, women’s health, criminal justice, educational opportunity, economic power and more are emblematic of what’s occurring around the globe. These assaults demand we give voice to injustice and, collectively, dedicate resources to turn the tide and assert our rights, interests and humanity.

As a campaign, BPM 2017 comprises activities—online and in communities—to inspire people to advocate and to give in strategic ways that transform policies, systems and lives for the better. The public is encouraged to participate by hosting self-organized events, charitable fundraising activities and community conversations. To spark ideas on how you can participate, visit BlackPhilanthropyMonth.com.

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Presenter at exhibit opening in Portland

BPM 2017 happenings that promote philanthropic investments and conscious giving in our communities are planned in cities, coast to coast. Included among these are a special exhibition of The Soul of Philanthropy with the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture at the 2017 Association of African American Museums conference in Washington, DC, plus a pop-up exhibition at the University of Kentucky. Slated to spotlight philanthropy across the African Diaspora are gatherings in such communities as New York City, the Bay Area, Chicago, Atlanta and Columbia, SC. These and other observances led by foundations, nonprofit agencies, cultural institutions, giving circles, media and individuals will be featured on BlackPhilanthropyMonth.com.

Tracey Webb, founder of Black Benefactors and an architect of the annual campaign, says, “This year’s Black Philanthropy Month will inspire givers to ignite change at the local level, in addition to supporting initiatives nationally and internationally. Powerful shifts happen with collective action, and BPM 2017 is set to fuel connections and amplify voices that will shape our future.”


BACKGROUND

Founded by Dr. Jackie Copeland-Carson of the Pan African Women’s Philanthropy Network and recognized by the United Nations and Congress in August 2011, Black Philanthropy Month was created as an annual, global celebration of African-descent giving in the United States and worldwide. Principal partners on the campaign are Jackie Copeland-Carson, Tracey Webb and Valaida Fullwood. For a full listing of sponsors, visit BlackPhilanthropyMonth.com.

To stay connected, like the BPM Facebook page and follow these hashtags on social media: #BPM2017 #givingvoice


 

 

Birth Month

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Sweet March has landed.
Winter is MIA and
spring is on the way!

— ava wood

(I know National Poetry Month arrives in April but can’t help myself. Spring excites me.)

Philanthro-Tee

Today’s Black Friday and with Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday coming up soon, take a look at these HEARTWORK t-shirts, modeled by the lovely Dr. Angela Logan.

You can give a gift with a message that helps give rise to a new generation of conscious givers. Inspired by The Soul of Philanthropy exhibit, HEARTWORK carries socially conscious messages, eco-friendly organic fabrics and artfully designed products.

Angela is the first person to purchase and then post photos of her HEARTWORK apparel via social media. She sported not one but two of my favorite t-shirts—the Giving Back tee and the Truth Be Told tee. Her tweets and pics from an ARNOVA conference in DC were right on time!

#getyourgiveon

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Socially Conscious Messages • Eco-Friendly Organic Fabrics • Artfully Designed Products

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So Grand

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Pictured on the left is my maternal grandmother Lucille Geneva, who would have turned 99 years old today (November 2). She’s seated with sister Pauline on the lawn of the family home in Randolph County, North Carolina. Below is a photo her husband, my grandfather James who would have celebrated his 94th birthday on October 29.

During my time with them both, we shared grand times and a wonderfully grand love. Missing you two!

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Experience The Hip-Hop Fellow

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9th Wonder, Grammy Award-Winning Producer, DJ and Record Exec

Mark you calendar for Thursday, November 17 for the next Heritage & History program!

Film. Talk. Beats. Featuring Grammy Award-Winning Producer, DJ and Record Executive 9th Wonder at The Underground at the AvidXchange Music Factory, Charlotte, NC. Buy tickets here.

6-9 pm

Film. Documentary film screening of The Hip-Hop Fellow

Talk. Discussion and Q&A by 9th Wonder and Dr. Mark Anthony Neal

9-11 pm

Beats. Gantt After Dark experience with music, mixing and moves featuring DJ Chela

North Carolina native, 9th Wonder is the subject of the 2014 documentary The Hip-Hop Fellow, which will be screened as part of this three-part Heritage & History program. The film traces his 2012-15 tenure as a Fellow at Du Bois Institute at Harvard University where he taught and explored hip-hop’s role in academia. Currently, 9th Wonder is a Lecturer in African American Studies at Duke University.

In 1998 along with Phonte and Big Pooh, 9th Wonder formed the critically acclaimed hip-hop trio Little Brother. His first major label placement as a producer was the song “Threat” on Jay-Z’s Black Album, and since then he worked such artists as Erykah Badu, Drake, Kendrick Lamar and Mary J. Blige.

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Mark Anthony Neal, Ph.D.

Joining the program is Dr. Mark Anthony Neal, Duke University Professor of African & African American Studies and English, who co-teaches The History of Hip-Hop with 9th Wonder. Dr. Neal is the author of numerous books, including New Black Man, and is host of Left of Black, a video webcast produced with the John Hope Franklin Center.

“Given the demographics of Charlotte and pockets of segregation and poverty at the heart of the recent protests, this discussion of The Hip-Hop Fellow provides a unique opportunity for community folks seeking solutions to consider the possibilities for social change via hip-hop arts. Reflecting on 9th Wonder’s career is to bear witness to a young Black kid that grew up working class in North Carolina who finds himself as a fellow at Harvard University. It is crucial to understand that hip-hop allowed him and countless other Black youth to imagine a future for themselves.” — Mark Anthony Neal

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DJ Chela

Culminating the event is a Gantt After Dark experience with DJ Chela. DJ Chela got her start in North Carolina—her home state—making her mark in parties, live shows, college radio, DJ battles, and her mixtapes that were known for showcasing local hip-hop talent. One of her first opportunities was a 20-minute slot on 9th Wonder’s radio show on WXDU. She became one of the first, only and most widely recognized female DJs in North Carolina, gigging internationally, and rocking countless shows with national acts.

Now based in New York, Chela has been making her imprint in clubs, radio, mixtapes, live shows and battles for over 10 years. Her live sets are a dynamic mixture of world rhythms, Latin, Hip Hop, rock, reggae, funk, soul, disco, house and more mixed with a turntablist sensibility.

The Heritage & History program series features nationally noted artists and scholars who are preserving Black culture through an array of disciplines and media. In hosting each culture keeper, the Gantt Center invites public participation in special events and experiences that illuminate important stories and engage audiences. It has been a joy to be a part of designing the series and organizing this program and this one and this one.

Presenting Sponsor | Headquartered in Charlotte, Duke Energy is the largest electric power holding company in the United States. Its regulated utility operations serve approximately 7.4 million electric customers located in six states in the Southeast and Midwest.

Host Cultural Institution  | The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture celebrates the contributions of Africans and African-Americans to American culture and serves as an epicenter for music, dance, theater, visual art, film, arts education, literature, history and civic engagement. Follow the Gantt Center on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter @HBGanttCenter.

You can purchase tickets here.

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That time of the year is blowing in again.

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Today marks the vernal equinox and first day of spring—a beloved time of year. Perhaps because my birthday comes along with the season, the arrival of springtime happenings (greenness, jonquils, morning bird songs, warmer weather, budding trees, brighter days) is a source of supreme delight. Conversely, fall is my least favorite season. This is evidenced in the poem below, written exactly six months ago on the autumnal equinox.

fading daylight hints its approaching

the rustling cues my lament and loathing

hustled, leaves surrender verdant hues

a pall befalls every branch in view.

its cooled breath, a cause to brood

déjà vu dreading of a bluest mood.

never ushered, seemingly flung in

the season liked least of them

alas, here again: autumn.

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My Heart’s In It

Socially Conscious Messages  Eco-Friendly Organic Fabrics • Artfully Designed Products

web-banner-galloree-01Last week saw the launch of HEARTWORK—inspired by the touring museum exhibit The Soul of Philanthropy, and I’m overjoyed!

HEARTWORK features original designs and apparel for all ages to give rise to a new generation of philanthropists and a movement of conscious giving for social change.

SHOP HEARTWORK! Select an item for yourself or to give as a gift!what-gives-onesie-screenshot

Socially Conscious Messages  Eco-Friendly Organic Fabrics • Artfully Designed Productstruth-hoodie-screenshot

Socially Conscious Messages  Eco-Friendly Organic Fabrics • Artfully Designed Productsgive-love-screenshot

Socially Conscious Messages  Eco-Friendly Organic Fabrics • Artfully Designed Productstruth-tee-screenshot

Socially Conscious Messages  Eco-Friendly Organic Fabrics • Artfully Designed Productsgo-do-tee-screenshot

Socially Conscious Messages  Eco-Friendly Organic Fabrics • Artfully Designed Productsgiving-black-screenshot

Socially Conscious Messages  Eco-Friendly Organic Fabrics • Artfully Designed Productsbaby-bib-screenshot

SHOP HEARTWORK!

CLT: Our Lives, Our Giving, Our Futures Matter

Black philanthropy demonstrates “the vitality of Black communities, our value of Black lives, and our commitment to Black futures.” — from Keysha Walker’s 31 August Days message

Giving Augustly Year-Round

The shooting deaths of Keith L. Scott and Justin Carr have intensified questions of race, power and justice in Charlotte.

As engaged citizens, conscious givers, philanthropic leaders and change agents in the Charlotte region and beyond, members of New Generation of African American Philanthropists have an opportunity and responsibility to participate and help shape what happens next in the wake of recent tragedies and civic crisis.

Faces of members and friends of NGAAP-Charlotte compose this collage (right) from August celebrations of Black Philanthropy Month (BPM 2016). For one month, our giving circle engaged in a daily social media messaging campaign titled 31 August Days. The campaign served as a declaration of members’ beliefs and an affirmation that Black lives matter and Black giving matters. The entire series of messages can be found on our website and Facebook page.

Little did we know in August that one month later we would need to rely so heavily on our shared values and collective strength to nurture hope for what positive can come next. In fact, the 31 August Days messages prove prophetic in insight as Charlotte makes its way forward.

The spirit of unity that flowed from coast to coast during Black Philanthropy Month filled a reservoir that we are now able to draw from deeply. In retrospect, we are extraordinarily thankful for the 31 days of concerted, nationwide celebrations of culture, community, philanthropy and unadulterated love that BPM 2016 gifted our circle. We welcome continued connections, ideas and support from our allies in the growing Black Philanthropy Movement.

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Read More At The Source; Click Here: CLT: Our Lives, Our Giving, Our Futures Matter