From BGB :: Lake Institute Hosts First African American Distinguished Visitor in Philanthropy

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As the year winds down, reflecting upon it reminds me just how incredible it’s been. Among the best moments was being the 2014 Lake Distinguished Visitor at Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Indianapolis was a wonderful whirlwind of speaking engagements and book signings, spanning breakfast, lunch, dinner and the nearly every second in between, hosted by a law firm, church, classroom, community groups and more.

Here’s a BlackGivesBack.com story about it: Lake Institute Hosts First African American Distinguished Visitor in Philanthropy.

— 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 BlackGivesBack.com.

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

From ‘Insights on Faith and Giving’

After a quick search of this blog, I’ve just realized that I failed to mention, here, an honor received months ago yet due to take effect in 2014. About six or seven months ago, the Lake Institute on Faith and Giving at Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy named me its 2014 Distinguished Visitor.

Pruitt prayer hands

Photograph by Charles W. Thomas Jr. featured in ‘Giving Back’

Selection as a Lake Distinguished Visitor is an honor of the highest order and I am thrilled. Leaders and associates of a prestigious program of the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy recognized the work poured into the Giving Back Project, its uses to spark constructive community conversations and the threads of faith and religion that bind the book. As the Distinguished Visitor for 2014, I will have an opportunity to travel to Indianapolis and the Indiana University-Purdue University campus in fall 2014 to lead seminars, give lectures, share Giving Back and engage faculty and students from the various university disciplines in conversation on issues related to religion and philanthropy.

I hadn’t blogged about this honor earlier, perhaps, because 2014 seemed so far off. (Lately though, next year seems to be barreling toward me faster than ever.) Even with fall 2014 more than a year away, Lake Institute staff has begun building our relationship. Case in point, they recently invited me to be a guest blogger.

Below is more about the Lake Institute. And further below is a link to my guest post.

Lake Institute was created from the legacy gift of Tom and Marjorie Lake, their daughter Karen Lake Buttrey and the Lilly Endowment. Lake Institute exists to honor the philanthropic values of the Lake family and blesses the community with a space for public inquiry and hands on training in the service and study of faith and generosity.

Lake Institute exists to explore the relationship between faith and giving in various religious traditions. We honor the philanthropic values of the Lake family through strategic priorities that continually examine how faith inspires and informs giving. Through years of intentional community building, we have nurtured an environment for public inquiry and crafted hands on training that assists faith communities and donors in the pursuit of their philanthropic passions. 

My Aunt Dora |  Photography by Charles W. Thomas Jr.

My Aunt Dora, the face that launched 1000 days and more! | Photography by Charles W. Thomas Jr. featured in ‘Giving Back’

Insights is the e-newsletter distributed by Lake Institute. The April 2013, Issue #2 features a short piece about my great-aunt Dora who, as a retired pastor and generous woman of faith, inspired Giving Back as well as my recent TEDx Talk. The post is titled “The Face That Launched a Thousand Days.” You can read it here.

Oh and…you can follow @LakeInstitute on Twitter and Facebook, too.

A special note of thanks to Aimee Laramore, Associate Director of the Lake Institute, for her generosity of spirit.

— VF