Philanthropy on Exhibit

Charles Thomas and me signing books at a recent exhibition of The Soul of Philanthropy at Duke University, which is Charles’ alma mater.

Six years ago, Charles and I began exploring the idea of an museum exhibition on philanthropy, based on the yet released stories and photography of Giving Back: A Tribute to Generations of African American Philanthropists. While it took four years more, before we—in collaboration with NGAAP-Charlotte and Johnson C. Smith University—realized that vision with The Soul of Philanthropy Reframed and Exhibited, we’ll claim releasing seeds of this idea into the ethosphere.

Fast forward to a year ago, just after #GivingTuesday, I was reading this story in The Chronicle of Philanthropy about Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and David Rubenstein funding an endowed curatorship at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History (NMAH) to create a series of exhibitions on the history and future of American philanthropy.

Since the article referenced only billionaire white men (and a few women in the context of being their wives), I wondered whether the NMAH exhibitions would be narrowly framed to present only conventional and predictable pictures of “American philanthropy”. Would traditions of philanthropy in communities of color be told? Would the generosity and impact of people of modest means get included? Would stories of philanthropic women and giving circles be shared?

Quick to climb on my bandwagon, I reached out to learn more about NMAH’s “The Philanthropy Initiative” and to ask questions to ensure a vivid and inclusive and soulful account of philanthropy in America was an aim. Thanks to a network of kind connectors—A’Lelia Bundles, Aviva Kempner and Fath Ruffins—I made some gains.

So on this #GivingTuesday (and hopefully many more to come), I’m traveling to Washington, DC for “The Power of Giving: Philanthropy’s Impact on American Life”—an invitation-only symposium with philanthropists, environmentalists, thought leaders and social innovators to discuss the past, present, and future of American giving. Such programs are slated, annually, for decades to come and the focus this year is “Sustainability and The Environment”. Tuesday’s schedule launches with the opening of the Smithsonian’s first-ever, long-term exhibition GIVING IN AMERICA. We’re in the room, and there’s more to come.

“All the forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has come.” — Victor Hugo

Below are more photos are from the exhibition of The Soul of Philanthropy Reframed (abridged edition) at Duke University’s Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture. Coincidently, the Duke University exhibition was made possible by support from financier David Rubinstein, who chairs Duke’s Board of Trustees and also is one of the funders of the NMAH exhibition.

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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Q: What Gives?

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A: The Soul of Philanthropy! #getyourgiveon

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National Coffee Day is the perfect occasion to share a preview glimpse of another item in the new heARTwork product line, which is inspired by The Soul of Philanthropy exhibit! Plus, I’m thrilled that The Soul of Philanthropy, Pop-Up, Abridged Edition will soon open at Duke University’s Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture.

My cup runneth over.

— VF

 

See The Power of Ten

 

Watch our newest video Power of Ten

 

Original iContact communiqué: See The Power of Ten

June 8 marked the 10th anniversary of New Generation of African American Philanthropists. Celebration of the occasion took place on June 9 with a “White Party” at the Wadsworth Estate, where the giving circle’s initial gathering took place in 2006.

More than 60 circle members and friends attended the event. Tin Kitchen food truck was on site to prepare made-to-order specialty tacos and sliders with fresh gourmet ingredients. A Jazz trio, featuring bass player Tim Singh, performed throughout the evening. Photographers Ebony Stubbs and Michael Dantzler captured moments and scenes from the party, including NGAAP Charlotte’s annual group portrait.

A program with brief remarks from members was followed by a new video, chronicling the circle’s philanthropic work and membership from the past decade.

The celebration continues all year, and you are invited to participate in these ways:

  • Apply for a GRANT thru July 8
  • Become a MEMBER at $365/year—a dollar a day
  • Attend upcoming FORUM w/ NBMBAA on June 23 (see flyer below)
  • Make a gift to the GIVING BACK PROJECT, which produced the book Giving Back, launched the groundbreaking exhibit “The Soul of Philanthropy” and continually promotes conscious giving for social change

Join us in exercising the power of 10!

NBMBAA Leadership Forum 2016 v1[2]

Soul-Full Synchronicity

TSOP exhibit pic at NCSU

Portland, Oregon is a city I’ve yet to visit (with the exception of a airport stop en route to Thailand years ago, but that doesn’t really count and I digress). Until recently it was completely off my radar. But over the last few months it’s been like a magnetic field, pulling me and dynamic, creative minds in proximity.

Last year, while working on a project with artist and designer Dimeji Onafuwa (a longtime collaborator with me AND graphic designer of my book and exhibit), he said his family was relocating to Portland. Surprised, I pressed him to tell me about Portland and its appeal. Dimeji spoke fondly of the civic culture, scenery and opportunities. He offered to host me if I ever found myself in the Northwest. 

digital display_VFThen weeks later, while working on a project with artist and designer Marcus Kiser (also a longtime collaborator), he was excited to share that his exhibit, Intergalactic Soul, might have a showing in Portland. Marcus’s art exhibit brings together science fiction and social awareness—imagination x consciousness. He asked about my experiences with a touring exhibit, and I shared some vendors and wisdom gained from The Soul of Philanthropy Reframed and Exhibited.

Within days of that conversation, an inquiry about “The Soul of Philanthropy” arrived from Portland’s MRG Foundation—a philanthropic institution working for social change in Oregon communities for 40 years. A few days after that, a second Oregon foundation called about hosting my exhibit in Portland. [cue theme music from The Twilight Zone] “Whoa…what’s up with this reoccurring Portland thing,” I mused.

To cut to the chase: It’s now March and last month Marcus, along with artist Jason Woodberry and performer Quentin Talley (who’s another super-longtime collaborator and whose poetry is featured in The Soul of Philanthropy) traveled to Portland for an “Intergalactic Soul” exhibition at Portland Community College, in conjunction with a panel discussion and performance. “The Soul of Philanthropy,” pop-up edition, will be hosted by MRG Foundation and community partners in August—Black Philanthropy Month. Together, MRG Foundation and The Oregon Community Foundation will then host the comprehensive version of “The Soul of Philanthropy” with community-wide programming for three months, starting in January 2017. Whoa, indeed.

We’re picturing social change.

— VF

Black Giving: Celebrating Our Past, Redefining Our Future

Celebrating Philanthropy with African American Legacy jpg

Coming up next week and pretty excited about it! I’m eager to tighten connections with and learn more about the work of the African American Legacy, an initiative of The Chicago Community Trust. Chicago is such a spectacular city, and after the 30th I’ll share updates on my visit.

 

Tenacity.

Leap day—which also marks the final day of Black History Month 2016—seems an ideal date for bringing a spotlight to the 10th anniversary year of New Generation of African American Philanthropists. Poet and social critic Henry David Thoreau wrote, “We must walk consciously only part way toward our goal, and then leap in the dark to our success.” That quote sums up our circle’s auspicious start, our decade of conscious giving, and our tenacious push to reframe philanthropy.

Founded in 2006, New Generation of African American Philanthropists is a giving circle with members who share values around philanthropy and pool charitable dollars to give back to the community. Our members walk consciously together toward common goals, and when compelled we leap boldly. In 10 years, we have leveraged over a million dollars in fulfilling our mission.

Mission: Promoting philanthropy—the giving of time, talent and treasure—among African Americans in the Charlotte region, with the goal of  enhancing thequality of life within our communities.

Vision: Healthy, safe and prosperous community for  African American families to live, work and flourish.

A decade ago on June 8, a committee of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg African American Community Foundation hosted a gathering at The Wadsworth Estate. That evening a room of 60 people forged bonds, generated ideas, stirred momentum and embarked on what would become the founding of New Generation of African American Philanthropists.

Through collective giving, grantmaking, collaboration and civic engagement, we explore new as well as time-honored ways of giving and embrace a definition of philanthropy that encompasses gifts of not only money, but also time, talent and truth of our testimonies.

Our flagship initiative is the Giving Back Project, which emerged from our development and publishing of the book Giving Back. Creative approaches, artful photography, storytelling, digital tools and social media characterize the Giving Back Project, which has evolved into a vehicle for presenting new narratives about who gives, who can make a difference and who matters. Changing the world requires us to reframe portraits of philanthropy and to learn from new lines of sight on social justice issues.

Today, The Soul of Philanthropy is the newest dimension of the Giving Back Project and is touring college campuses and museums across the country. Further, our circle has strengthened connections with the African American Community Foundation through our members’ leadership, community connections, strategic thinking and hands-on involvement and service. Our evolution and accomplishments over the past 10 years are chronicled, in writing and photos, at New-Philanthropists.org.

In observance of our decennial, an array of community-centered events, forums, grant awards, partnerships and celebrations are planned throughout 2016. Stay tuned via our websiteFacebook page and hashtag #NGAAPChar10tte.

READ MORE for a recap of what we’ve already taken on this year, and so much more is on the horizon. We are TENacious!

Source: Tenacity. We Walk Consciously, Leap Boldly

From BGB :: ‘The Soul of Philanthropy’ Exhibit and Programs Open in Houston

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“This is an exhilarating display of photographs, quotes and digital programming that educates the public about the importance of philanthropy and the historical aspects of giving in the Black community.”

— Camillia Rodgers, Ph.D., Executive Director, Buffalo Soldiers National Museum, Houston, TX

READ MORE at BlackGivesBack.com: ‘The Soul of Philanthropy’ Exhibit and Programs Open in Houston

 

Watch: On The Road With ‘Soul’

After fielding a variety of questions about The Soul of Philanthropy from inquiring museums, colleges, community-based nonprofits and funders, instead of a FAQ sheet, I decided to compile images from exhibitions and programs, to date.

Since pictures speak a thousand words (at least), photographs provide institutions that are interested in hosting the exhibit a window for visualizing their possibilities. My hope is that the compilation of photos—from the multimedia, comprehensive exhibit and the pop-up, abridged edition—allow people to observe variations and options for installation, based on a venue’s gallery space and the imagination of the exhibition designer. Set to classic soul music, the video speaks volumes about the multimedia exhibit and its public programs that reframe portraits of philanthropy.

Please watch, enjoy and share!

Note, you can follow my work on The Soul of Philanthropy via Facebook.

State of the HeART Philanthropy

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State of the HeART Philanthropy | New Generation of African American Philanthropists

September 1 opens the door to another year of Black giving in all its forms. Let’s keep giving augustly, and celebrate together again next August!

In substance and in symbolism, The Soul of Philanthropy Reframed and Exhibited represents our giving circle’s gifts of time, talent and treasure. It is part of our civic leadership in reframing portraits of philanthropy. Through the power of art and culture, the exhibit is designed as a call to action toward a movement of conscious giving for social change.

On September 5, the Pop-Up, Abridged Edition of “The Soul of Philanthropy” exhibit opens to the public at Charlotte’s Levine Museum of the New South. It will run through February 2016—Black History Month. Visit and you will see the exhibition celebrates our stories, which span the Old South and the New South. Our circle’s work is also shaping The South of the Future, because we recognize that Black giving matters.

Come to see philanthropy differently.

New Generation of African American Philanthropists

Group portrait featured above was taken at The Green, Charlotte, North Carolina, August 16, 2015. Members and the year they joined the giving circle are listed below and ordered as pictured from left to right.
 
  1. Tiffany Graham, 2014
  2. Bernadette Johnson, 2013
  3. Lisa Moore, 2014
  4. Qiana Austin, 2014
  5. Diatra Fullwood, 2006
  6. Ed Franklin, 2008
  7. Donna Murray, 2014
  8. Rashad Davis, 2006
  9. Keysha Walker, 2013
  10. Robyn Massey, 2014
  11. Charles Thomas, 2011
  12. Dawn Fisher, 2008
  13. Jerel Harvey, 2013
  14. Todd Pipkin, 2014
  15. Valaida Fullwood, 2006
  16. Shawna Freeman, 2015
  17. Reginald White, 2015
  18. Victoria White, 2015
  19. Cathy Peterson, 2006
  20. Tiffani Teachey, 2015
  21. Michael DeVaul, 2015
  22. Renee Bradford, 2006
  23. Kia Lyons, 2015
  24. Clarence Lyons, 2013
  25. Albert Carter, 2015 (not pictured)
  26. Emma Allen, 2015 (not pictured)
  27. Eric Law, 2006 (not pictured)
  28. Jehan Shamsid-Deen, 2006 (not pictured)
  29. Meka Sales, 2009 (not pictured)
  30. Melandee Jones, 2007 (not pictured)
  31. Patricia Martelly, 2006 (not pictured)
  32. Steven Pearson, 2014 (not pictured)

Photographer: Rae Images

Get in the picture! Contribute to or join our circle at New-Philanthropists.org.