From BGB :: Ivye L. Allen, President, Foundation for the Mid South

In observance of Community Foundation Week (#CFWeek), November 12-18, 2015, I’m delighted to share a profile on Dr. Ivye L. Allen, President of the Foundation for the Mid South, located in Jackson, Mississippi.

While we’ve yet to meet in person, Dr. Allen has been a tremendous supporter of The Giving Back Project and source of encouragement for me. She reviewed a galley version of Giving Back and provided advance praise. Most recently, her foundation awarded major grant funds to bring The Soul of Philanthropy to three Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the mid-South region.

Community philanthropy is crucial for vibrant local communities. It’s fulfilling to highlight the staff, board members and donors at community foundations that are demonstrating strong commitment to informing, inspiring, investing in and involving Black philanthropic leadership.

READ MORE: Community Foundation Week Profile: Dr. Ivye L. Allen, President of Foundation for the Mid South


Dr. Ivye L. Allen, President, Foundation For The Mid South

From BGB :: ‘What’s Community Got To Do With It?’ A Civic Engagement Forum in Observance of Black Philanthropy Month

Floating somewhere on Cloud 8.7 is where I’ve landed one week after NGAAP-Charlotte’s BPM 2014: Forum For Civic Leadership.

Here’s a link to a recap and photos on

‘What’s Community Got To Do With It?’ A Civic Engagement Forum in Observance of Black Philanthropy Month

NGAAP Presents - A Conversation with Dr Emmett D Carson 8-5-14Barely ever happier.

— VF

From BGB :: #BPM2014 Generosity At Home and Around The Globe

In case it slipped your mind: August IS Black Philanthropy Month!

Read more about what’s happening and what you can do at . . .

Black Philanthropy Month 2014: Generosity At Home and Around The Globe

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From BGB: Photographer Jamaica Gilmer Beholds The Beauty of Black Girls

Photographer Jamaica Gilmer

Photographer Jamaica Gilmer

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.

The Insider: Photographer Jamaica Gilmer Beholds The Beauty of Black Girls. is celebrating Women’s History Month, and this piece helped roar into March 2014!

— VF

From BGB: A Baker’s Dozen of Books

Charles W. Thomas, Jr., photographer

Charles W. Thomas, Jr., photographer

Back in August, I interviewed a mix of givers and doers for Black Philanthropy Month. When I asked “what book shaped your philanthropy?”, their responses resulted in this list of 13 publications that I compiled for

A Baker’s Dozen of Books.

Is there a book that has influenced how you give?

— VF

‘Write On’

Write on.

That was part of the message Amiri Baraka, a famously prolific writer, inscribed to me in a book of his poetry, after I gave him a copy of Giving Back during his visit to Charlotte last fall. I love having a steady flow of writing assignments and feeling compelled to reach for my laptop to capture an idea or an observation.

Lately, I’ve been writing up a storm. In addition to the recent guest blogpost for the Lake Institute, below are links to a few of my pieces from the past six weeks as a contributing blogger for

Lots of fun events and fascinating people (as depicted below) helped make writing these blogposts a delight. — VF

Lou Bellany, Annetta Foard and Quentin Talley, at "Lou, Q and You at e2" in April  |  Gena J Photography

Lou Bellany, Annetta Foard and Quentin Talley, at “Lou, Q and You at e2” in April | Gena J Photography

My New Eyes

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” — Marcel Proust

It requires “new eyes” to see a picture reframed. This quote sums up much of our TEDx Talk, which premiered Friday on My 1621 days of discovery changed my sight on everything. And the voyage continues….  VF


‘Keep going, no matter what’

Today is the last day of Black History Month and I have the pleasure of traveling to NYC for a special event on Black Philanthropy hosted by and JPMorgan.

“Keep goingno matter what.” — Reginald F. Lewis

For the event I will have the joy of interviewing author Christina Lewis Halpern, daughter of the late business titan Reginald Lewis. Christina recently published her memoir Lonely at the Top about her life and experiences as the daughter of a highly successful and acclaimed entrepreneur, attorney and philanthropist who died too early. You can buy Christina’s book at Amazon and follow her on Twitter at @clewishalpern. More on this event later….gotta catch a flight! — VF

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