The Legacy Continues
400 years ago, the first African men and women were sold into slavery in America, forming a new a lineage of courageous ancestors who pulled themselves up, as individuals and as a collective, by their own bootstraps, built the infrastructure of this country and accomplished greatness through their commitment, faith, resilience, and intelligence. Black Philanthropy in America has been a collective effort deeply rooted in survival and hope...against all odds.
“When you learn, teach. When you get, give.” In her quote, Dr. Maya Angelou sums up what Black philanthropy has demonstrated throughout time. Dedicating one’s time and talents to those in need has always been a key aspect of our community. Black philanthropy is a cultural norm, a way of life, both for people with substantial means as well as for those with relatively little. It is about sharing what you have to help those in need rooted in the ethos that, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). The giving in our community has not been about recognition but has mostly been done quietly, away from the limelight. It has moved us forward socially and politically in ways the dollar could not. Black philanthropy is power that has served as a catalyst for our progress.
Throughout history the Black community has overcome some of the worst atrocities when we have organized and worked together. Today, as the Black community continues to fight for the recognition of our humanity, we must unite. One way to do this is by planfully aligning our philanthropic goals and concentrating our efforts through giving back. Acting as a collective does not require that we all do the same thing, but that we work strategically toward a common goal. If we set a clear agenda for Black philanthropy locally, nationally and globally, we can have even greater impact.
Leverage Our Giving
Philanthropic data shows that Blacks give more than a billion dollars to charity annually. Implementing new ways to give can maximize our impact; in fact, we can leverage our giving by working together to start funds or establish funds individually. You can support the issues or causes that matter most to you today and still take care of your family. This strategy creates an opportunity to build wealth and do good at the same time.
The Road Ahead
As I think about Black philanthropy in my lifetime, the words “commitment”, “pride” and “love” come to mind. Our people have given of themselves in countless ways in an effort to push the community forward. Soon, our children will use our philanthropic activities as a guide for how they can give back. My hope is that they will see that Black giving has had an increasing impact and that will motivate them to take their own philanthropy even further.
Let’s continue the conversation about how we can work collectively and leverage the gifts that we are already giving. We have the power to work together and take our philanthropy to the next level today and forever as The Legacy Continues....
Chari L. Chester Anderson
Prospect Management and Development Officer Hartford Foundation for Public Giving