Swept Up

Last week, as a guest blogger, I posted a written piece on Collective Influence, the Community Investment Network (CIN) blog. CIN is a national network of donors and giving circles and its mission is to inspire, connect and strengthen African Americans and communities of color to leverage their collective resources and create the change they wish to see.

Charles W. Thomas Jr., photographer

My giving circle New Generation of African American Philanthropists is a member of CIN, and my experiences within the Network were instrumental in the development of Giving Back. I’ve posted the CIN blog piece here for followers of my blog. It’s titled “A Confluence of Influence,” because that is precisely what has swept the Giving Back Project into a whirlpool of exciting possibilities.

A Confluence of Influence

“The nation’s premier multi-cultural awards show 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” — About the 43rd NAACP Image Awards

More on the awards program a little later…first, I’d like to say that you never know what life has up her sleeve. Until it’s revealed, the best we can do is to stay purposeful, pursue our passions and prepare for the twists and turns that come our way.

About a year into forming our giving circle, I approached the members of New Generation of African American Philanthropists (NGAAP-Charlotte) with the idea of publishing a book about Black philanthropy. [Click here to read the full story]

Author Q&A on QCityMetro: Spotlight on ‘Giving Back’

An interview about Giving Back posted on QCityMetro.com today. It’s my interview with Michaela Duckett, who frequently profiles authors on what is one of Charlotte’s most popular blogs. Among other things, Michaela reveals five things about me. Most of them were probably little-known facts and trivia…that is, until today.

AUTHOR’S SPOTLIGHT: Q&A with Valaida Fullwood

by Michaela L. Duckett, 28 September 2011

 

A Gem Indeed

While previewing the manuscript for Giving Back, Ruby Bright, a foundation executive, told me, “I turn each page being filled with pride, hope, joy and love for my people.” That statement was compliment enough, then she sent the extended commentary below, which left me speechless.

Charles W. Thomas, Jr., photographer

“Never again will I frame my conversation on how African Americans give under the guises of ‘Black people give differently—our philanthropy is different because we primarily see giving through our faith.’ We give holistically!

“Valaida Fullwood’s Giving Back captivated me from the cover photo where I connected with the hands—memories of my grandmother’s skin—lined with dreams deferred and the promise of aspirations and achievement. Giving Back is indeed a form of personal engagement as well as deep conversation sharing. It is undeniably the missing formula to the roots of African American philanthropy.

“Simply stated, “Giving Back, through stories of everyday people aided with photography of the moment, is poignant and more of a revelation than any article or research publication on the topic of African American giving.

“Since reading Giving Back, from now on, I will tell my philanthropy story with pride and without excuses or apologies.”

 Ruby Bright, executive directorWomen’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis

When Quiet Hopes Come

Charles W. Thomas Jr., photographer

Selected advance readers of Giving Back have begun sharing their commentary on the book over the last week. With an easy willingness, both strangers and acquaintances known widely for intense work and demanding itineraries have, one by one, agreed to read my 400-page manuscript. That astounds me. And then, after reading the work, one responds with these words . . .

“Through a rich tapestry of voices and images, including inspirational interviews, stunning photographs, thoughtful commentary, and wide-ranging quotations, Giving Back captures the essence and generosity of African American donors as never before.  No one—including the leaders of non-profit organizations—could fail to be moved and enlightened by these vivid reminders of the potential of African American philanthropy.

“The book is beautiful and so inspirational, I now know what I will be getting everyone as a Christmas present!”

Michele Minter, Vice President for Development, The College Board

Still over the moon.

— VF