“[Giving Back] is a must read for all who want a truer and deeper understanding of American philanthropy in particular philanthropy in the Black community. Historical analysis and rich personal stories…it’s all here.”
— Wenda Weekes Moore, trustee, W.K. Kellogg Foundation
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
Giving Back illuminates traditions of giving within African American communities and highlights numerous historic organizations that exemplify Black philanthropy. One such organization is The Links, Incorporated. Links members Dr. Ruth Greene (The Crown Jewels Chapter) and Carlenia Ivory (The Charlotte Chapter) are featured in the book.
“In 2011, The Links, Incorporated celebrates 65 years of giving back to communities across the nation. Our founders believed that as educated and successful African American women, we should do whatever is necessary to serve those of African descent and assist in closing gaps in education and providing support for the underserved. We do this still today, through philanthropic as well as humanitarian services. As authors Fullwood and Thomas expressed in Giving Back, philanthropy has been the thread that held and continues to hold our communities together. The Links, Incorporated strives to become an even greater force, known everywhere for our philanthropic support. Our hope is by giving back, we will play an intricate role in enabling and influencing a positive future for an infinite number of generations. ”
— Margot James Copeland , National President , The Links, Incorporated and The Links Foundation, Incorporated
I reach but cannot grasp words to plumb the depth of my gratification and overwhelming joy when previewers of Giving Back share their reactions to its stories and photography. A long hope has been that the book would move readers and perchance enlighten and deepen their thinking and giving, for good. This is commentary received last night . . .
“This is the most powerful representation of philanthropy that I have seen in more than a decade in this field. The stories, the quotes, the voices and the photographs are uniformly vivid and extraordinary….A reminder that, in its roots, philanthropy should be felt, not thought.”
— Robert K. Ross, M.D., president and CEO, The California Endowment
Along with the rain, wonderful news continued pouring in over Labor Day weekend. In addition to Giving Back being featured on the blog PHILANTHROPY 2173, I learned the book may be released two weeks earlier than expected (!) and got to see a final printout of the book jacket. My long labor of love is finally taking full form.
“Valaida Fullwood’s Giving Back provides full exposure to the philanthropic treasures we as African Americans have always shared but are rarely credited with in discussions of African American philanthropy. This photographic masterpiece, which certainly tells a story, gives viewers an opportunity to develop their own story as well. What a way to learn!”
— Nelson Bowman, III, director of development, Prairie View A&M University
My gratitude grows daily, and I can barely wait until the book’s public release. VF
Once again, I’m expressing gratitude for generous advance commentary on Giving Back. Deborah Holmes is a communications exec at GFW and a leader of the Black Women Donors’ Action Group. Her words affirm the essence of my and others’ intention in telling our stories—to reframe portraits of philanthropy.
“Weaving photographs, testimonials and personal stories of Black people from all walks of life, Valaida Fullwood has created a work of art that reveals the essence of philanthropy—which is giving. For centuries, Black women, men and children have been giving in ways that defy traditional definitions of philanthropy.
“Giving Back is a revelation. Readers will be astounded by the breadth and depth of Black philanthropy.”
— Deborah Holmes, vice president for communications, Global Fund for Women
Our most recent advance commentary comes from Dr. Marybeth Gasman, professor, University of Pennsylvania and author of Uplifting a People: African American Philanthropy and Education and thirteen other books.
“Giving Back is a beautiful book that masterfully demonstrates the power of African American giving. Through riveting photography and engaging vignettes, Valaida Fullwood tells the story of philanthropy at its purest. Giving Back showcases the diversity in giving that has taken place for centuries and continues to thrive in Black communities. Anyone interested in philanthropy, Black giving, and African American history and culture will enjoy reading this wonderful new book.”
(I sense a new word cloud forming. Check in tomorrow.)
Charles and I, along with members of New Generation of African American Philanthropists, have invited a cross-section of thought leaders to preview Giving Back and provide advance commentary on the book.
Giving Back straddles the intersection of arts, cultural heritage and philanthropy, so it has garnered praise from a mix of scholars, authors, photographers, foundation presidents, nonprofit executives, fundraisers, social innovators and clergy from various faith communities. Each commentator has leant a fresh perspective based on his or her field of work and expertise. Their generous praise for the book continues to gratify and encourage us, as shared here, here, here and here.
“Beautiful. Powerful. Poignant. Giving Back is more than a book: It is a gift to each of us given the opportunity to walk this journey through each page, each voice, each story and each photograph. Philanthropy is practiced in many different ways around the world. Giving Back teaches us that philanthropy is practiced in many different ways right here at home—in our history, our present and our future.”
— Steve Gunderson, former president and CEO, Council on Foundations