Seeing Differently

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The Giving Back Project was conceived of 11 years ago for the express purpose of “reframing portraits of philanthropy”. Today both the pop-up edition and the comprehensive version of The Soul of Philanthropy are traveling the country and stimulating new conversations and collaboration among wide-ranging groups.

Our latest short film Deeper Than Your Pockets features foundation heads and community leaders who have hosted past exhibitions. It helps make the case for the exhibit and affirms its value to philanthropy, community building and Black culture.

Watch to hear their stories!

Three weeks ago, The Soul of Philanthropy, Pop-Up, Abridged Edition was featured at Durham’s Carolina Theatre during Black Communities: A Conference for Collaboration, which was convened by UNC-Chapel Hill.

After a spectacular, three-month run, the Columbia, SC exhibition came to a close on May 6.  Thank you Richland Library, Women Engaged (W.E.) Giving Circle, and Central Carolina Community Foundation for your visionary leadership and thoughtful approaches as co-presenters of the exhibition.

Announcements of new exhibitions in the South, along the Mid-Atlantic and across the Midwest are coming soon. These exhibitions and related public programs promote understanding and inclusion and are working to reshape 21st-century philanthropy.

 Come to see philanthropy differently.

Y’all Betta Go

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Another exhibition of The Soul of Philanthropy is coming to an end today.

It’s been a spectacular three-month run of the Columbia, SC exhibition at Richland Library.  The newly renovated library has provided a spacious, gorgeous and graciously inviting setting for the the public to engage with the exhibition and related programs.

I’m grateful to Women Engaged (W.E.), Central Carolina Community Foundation and Richland Library for partnering to present the exhibit and to initiate substantive work that is shifting dynamics and building relationships for the long-term benefit of communities in South Carolina’s Midlands.

If you’re in or near Columbia, all I can say, before it closes, is: Y’all Betta Go!

 

Help us bring The Soul of Philanthropy to your community by sharing our videos, photos, and blog posts to spread the word. #getyourgiveon

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‘Commendable but…’

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Today the world remembers and praises the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the 50th anniversary of his assassination.

Every exhibition of  The Soul of Philanthropy features his words prominently to keep bright the flame of justice and love and to guide our paths toward the beloved community.

The Atlanta exhibition earlier this year provided an extraordinary opportunity to feel the potency of his legacy and our collective responsibility to carry the torch forward. Watch the short film below from the exhibit opening at Atlanta’s Auburn Avenue Research Library.

#MLK50Forward

Listen! Listen!

Kicking off National Poetry Month with one of our newest promo videos for The Soul of Philanthropy. It features Poet Quentin “Q” Talley and a bit of his poem Full Circle.

Enjoy!

 

REFRAMED

Come to see philanthropy differently.

From City to City

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And From One Generation to The Next 

Passing the torch of The Soul of Philanthropy with another exhibition opening! A comprehensive, multimedia exhibition debuted in Columbia, South Carolina on February 10 at the newly renovated Richland Library. We passed the “torch” — an old-style farmer’s lantern, reminiscent of a light perhaps carried by liberating force Harriet Tubman — from Atlanta’s philanthropic leadership to that of Columbia. After a ribbon-cutting with the city’s mayor, a public program paid tribute to our ancestors and to Columbia’s present-day changemakers.

Click a photo from collage below to see slideshow.

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Love, Soul, Legacy and Responsibility

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You’re invited to the Columbia, South Carolina opening celebration of Giving Back: The Soul of Philanthropy Reframed and Exhibited, a multimedia exhibition dedicated to sharing the tradition of African American philanthropy.

Come to see philanthropy differently.

R.S.V.P. here.

 

Love, Leadership and Justice

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Atlanta exhibition opens on the cusp of yearlong commemorations of
MLK’s profound messages and legacy, 50 years after his death
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Happening Now >>> THE GIVING SEASON

Just for you! Thanksgiving food for thought, a fresh crop of photos, new film and an abundance of gratitude


The Atlanta exhibition of The Soul of Philanthropy opened November 1st with a burst of energy and excitement, further kindling powerful ideas and ushering infinite possibilities for the future of Black philanthropic leadership, propelled from the South.

The exhibit’s stories, themes and imagery are timely and resonant as Atlanta and the nation prepare to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s death and celebrate his enduring legacy throughout 2018.

Watch Love, Leadership and Justice from Atlanta’s VIP reception and exhibition ribbon-cutting. It’s our newest short film in a series from the Giving Back Project, featuring sights and sounds from exhibitions of The Soul of Philanthropy.

Come to see philanthropy differently.


“The future of philanthropy is not about generosity, it is about justice.​”     

— Darren Walker, president of Ford Foundation



Presented by Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, in partnership with Hammonds House Museum. Exhibited at Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture & History. November 1, 2017 – January 22, 2018

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southern  legacy  truth   vision   future

 

Watch >>> Fresh, New Film, released just in time for Thanksgiving. Enjoy!

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Film and photography about the exhibition by Sino Chum

Bring The Soul of Philanthropy to your city! Contact us today to learn more.

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Atlanta To Open ‘The Soul of Philanthropy’

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The Soul of Philanthropy Atlanta will open November 1 and run through January 22, 2018 at Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History. Robust civic engagement with community conversations will launch with the exhibition, working further to ignite a movement of conscious giving for social change.

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The exhibition is presented by the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, in partnership with Hammonds House Museum.

Sponsors and Community Partners include:

  • African American Development Officers (AADO)
  • Annie E. Casey Foundation
  • Atlanta Celebrates Photography
  • Atlanta Fulton Public Library System
  • CommunityBuild Ventures
  • StateFarm
  • Southeastern Council of Foundations
  • WAOK 1380 Radio
  • Wells Fargo

Come to see philanthropy differently.TSOP_logo

Tale of Two Cities

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Atlanta panel discussion during Black Philanthropy Month, leading up to the exhibit’s opening

You’d be hard pressed to find two American cities any more geographically and demographically disparate than Portland, Oregon and Atlanta, Georgia. And yet, one thing they have in common is their commitment to to host the comprehensive, multimedia version of The Soul of Philanthropy. Following the IMLS grant-funded exhibit tour, managed by Johnson C. Smith University during 2015 and 2016, these cities are the first in the country to mount exhibitions and lead civic engagement aimed at reframing philanthropy for greater inclusiveness and lasting impact.

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The road from Portland to Atlanta opens a world of possibilities

Vibrant big cities, both Portland and Atlanta benefit from prominent philanthropic families, businesses and foundations. Perhaps then it’s unsurprising that groups in each city would be intrigued by The Soul of Philanthropy, which invites people to see philanthropy differently. That is, come to know that philanthropy is deeper than your pockets.

The Portland exhibition, presented by MRG Foundation at Concordia University, opened at the start of this year and ended late March. The Atlanta exhibition, presented by Hammonds House Museum, is sponsored by the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta and several other groups and individual donors. The exhibition will open at Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History in November 2017. Above is a photo from an early program in Atlanta; below is a photo collage from the Portland exhibition.

 

 

Since the inception of the Giving Back Project in 2007, I, along with Charles Thomas, aimed to create a body of work that would transcend race and place. Charlotte, North Carolina has been the epicenter of the project because that’s where our giving circle is based and where we each live and have formed relationships over the majority of our lives. Even so, we aspired to craft stories and release photography, so soulful and true, they’d resonate broadly and tap deeply at the core of people any and everywhere. I used to say, “I want people in Phoenix to see themselves and people they know in these stories and images.”

Ten years into this project and six years after the first printing of Giving Back, seeing sustained interest in the book nationwide and overseas, too, has been gratifying. Proving relevant and timeless, the book continues to sell steadily and, having again sold out, is presently being printed for the fourth time; over 200 books are now on backorder. It’s truly the book that keeps giving!

When the exhibit was announced in 2014 and opened at Johnson C. Smith University, it also began attracting attention and inquiries from coast to coast, including at the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). Leaders in Portland and Atlanta were among the first to express interest in the exhibit.

Three thousand miles stretch between Portland and Atlanta. The distance between their histories and demographics is wide as well, yet hosting The Soul of Philanthropy bridges these communities. It has provided space for uncommon collaborations, honest conversations and new insights, offering lasting benefit to both places.

Situated in the Pacific Northwest, Portland boasts a hipster reputation as a progressive, socially conscious city, which belies its racist history. Oregon enacted a shameful ban of Black people during periods of the 19th and 20th centuries. Generations later, Portland consequently stands labeled “the Whitest City in America,” because 78 percent of its population identifies racially as White. At seven percent, Black residents comprise a small fraction of the community.

Conversely, Atlanta is a cultural and commercial center of the Atlantic Southeast. A majority of its residents are African American, earning it the reputation of a “Black mecca”. While Oregon forbade Blacks from moving to the state until the 1920s, clear across the country, Georgia depended on the enslavement and exploitation of Black people well into the 20th century. At opposite corners of the U.S., both cities have legacies that can, at times, thwart or even pervert philanthropic efforts today.

The Soul of Philanthropy is a vehicle for communities to explore and celebrate multiple giving traditions, to learn about an array of philanthropic tools and strategies, and to break through barriers to inclusiveness. Even with vast differences in history and population, philanthropic leaders in Portland and in Atlanta have found value in engaging in vital community building through the exhibit. Whether Black, White, Latino, American Indian, Asian American, Middle Easterner, Pacific Islander, or any cultural roots, the stories, photography and themes of The Soul of Philanthropy hold relevance. After a decade, Charles and I have seen firsthand the ways our work persists and sustains significance and resonance in a complicated field and often misunderstood topic.

First Portland and soon Atlanta are reframing portraits of philanthropy and coming to see philanthropy differently. If America’s “Whitest city” and “Black mecca” have found value in this crucial work, there is ample room for cities in between to do the same.

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