Dr. Ivye Allen: ‘Must have book of our history, great teaching toolkit’

Charles W. Thomas Jr., photographer

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

Please take a look at further commentary and book reviews on Giving Back: A Tribute to Generations of African American Philanthropists.

CLT ViewPoint book review: ‘Remarkable and lush imagery, interviews, anecdotes’

Today, Charlotte ViewPoint posted a book review by Michael Solender on Giving Back. Below are excerpts, and the complete review can be found here.

“Giving Back is a Fullwood project several years in the making and documents the rich history and core values within the Black community of giving time, talent, and treasure to others. Fullwood partnered with photographer Charles W. Thomas Jr. to tell more than 60 stories through remarkable and lush imagery, interviews, and anecdotes.

“The book is a testament to the storied tradition of centuries-old customs that endure throughout the African Diaspora. Fullwood notes that during slavery and its aftermath in America, communities would have perished without the generosity, innovation, and sacrifices of their members. While rarely recognized as philanthropists, the members of these communities most certainly were just that. …

“Giving Back is a joyous exultation at the power of the human spirit. Few pleasures in life offer as much satisfaction as doing for others; this remarkable book celebrates the legacy of the legions within our community who discovered this succor in a significant and meaningful way.”

Michael J. Solender, City Life Editor for Charlotte Viewpoint

Click, for further book reviews and commentary on Giving Back.

‘Giving Back’ Giveaway via Goodreads

Now through Oct 14, you can enter a Goodreads.com giveaway to win one of two free copies of Giving Back: A Tribute to Generations of African American Philanthropists.

Charles W. Thomas, Jr., photographer

Heavyweight in Philanthropy Weighs In

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, herehere and here.

Here’s the most recent submission, from Steve Gunderson, president and CEO of Council on Foundations, who after this month heads off in pursuit of the next stop on his journey of life.  

“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

Steve Gunderson, Council on Foundations and Emmett Carson, Ph.D., Silicon Valley Community Foundation (Photo credit: Charles W. Thomas, Jr.)

Deb Willis: ‘A remarkable book that informs and honors’

Charles W. Thomas, photographer of Giving Back recently reached out to a respected and highly accomplished artist in the field of photography and asked that she preview our book and provide advance commentary. Given the range of demands on her schedule, we are honored that she dedicated time to read our book. And given her credentials as a photographic historian and expertise as a curator of photography, we are nourished by what she has written . . .

“Giving Back looks poignantly at the notion of giving. The meticulously edited narrative enlightens us about the idea of caring and sharing communities. From this book, one sees through Thomas’s photographs relationships marked by respect and honor. The text and photographs inform the reader about strength, in multiple perspectives.

“Through the rich photographs—which are full of spirit and beauty and enhanced by the framing of the subjects—we see Thomas’s respectful eye. Giving Back simply tells us that Black people care which is evidenced in the photographs and the narratives. This book is useful for anyone who is interested in philanthropy but also will be appreciated by people who have a love for portrait photography.

Giving Back is a valuable resource and, in my view, will encourage others to reconsider what it means to give. 

It is a welcome addition to books promoting this field. I found the idea of the book stimulating, as it is a much-overlooked discussion. Fullwood and Thomas assembled a remarkable book that informs and honors. It enables us to imagine through the quotes, as the photographs illuminate and engage us about the pleasure of giving.

— Deborah Willis, Ph.D., author, historian, photographer, 2000 MacArthur genius award recipient and professor at New York University