This story is part of "Black Philanthropists" month of the Generocity Editorial Calendar. It is underwritten by Equally Informed Philly. It was not reviewed by Equally Informed Philly before publication.
“The West African people put into slavery brought cultures of giving and sharing with them across the Atlantic.”
The quote above is from a guest column written by Tyrone Freeman, a professor at the Lily School of Philanthropy at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis, which we published in January of this year.
Freeman follows that statement with this stunning example: “In 1847, for example, enslaved Africans in Richmond, Virginia, donated money through their church to Ireland’s potato famine relief efforts.”
“Despite the toll that four centuries of slavery and discrimination have taken on Black earnings,” Freeman continues, “African Americans regardless of their economic status have long given generously of their money and time.”
Looking through Generocity‘s archived articles offers empirical evidence of just that. In the Philadelphia area, the dynamism and commitment of Black philanthropic organizations and Black philanthropists is undeniable.
We pretty much abandoned the editorial calendar topics we had announced back in December 2019 as soon as the COVID-19 pandemic hit. As we pivoted (with everyone else) to cover that, the ensuing economic downturn, and then, the historic uprising demanding long-overdue racial and economic justice, we seemed never to get back to the forgotten editorial calendar.
It seems fitting, then, to resume it with the original August topic: Black Philanthropists — those whose dedication to looking after others and pooling resources to effect change add a local note to the 400-year history of Black giving in America.
Here is a bit of a preview:
Early next week we will feature a guest column on Black women in philanthropy, written by Monique Curry-Mims, founder and principal of Civic Capital Consulting and herself a Black philanthropist.
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Black sororities and fraternities are important philanthropic entities, even though we have rarely written about them in that way at Generocity. Next week, Greg DeShields, executive director of PHLDiversity, will remedy that for us as he takes look at Black philanthropy and the Divine Nine.
At the 2020 PHL Diversity Annual Luncheon in February, Valerie Hollingsworth Baker, the international president of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, spoke about that group’s National Boule scheduled to take place in Philadelphia July 20-24 in 2022.
“Valerie spoke about Zeta’s 100 years celebration and the $100,000 Founders’ Centennial Scholarship,” DeShields told Generocity. “This is the largest single recipient scholarship awarded by a historically Black Greek-lettered sorority or fraternity.”
And this is just the beginning of what we have planned for August. Look for Q&As, profiles and newsy features that highlight the diversity of Black philanthropy in our city and region.
In the interim, here are some articles written by, or about, the leading voices in Black philanthropy pictured in our header graphic:
- Sidney Hargro on liberation philanthropy
- Kevin Dow, as part of the Philadelphia Black Giving Circle
- Omar Woodard on venture philanthropy
- Farrah Parkes on leading a private foundation
- She Can Win board members (Salima Pace, Dominique Goss, Jasmine Sessoms and Erinn Corbett-Wright) on why the organization started a giving circle
As always, we welcome your suggestions of folks and organizations you’d like us to talk to during this month. Email us at email@example.com and let us know!-30-
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