Black Philanthropy Month 2021 | Black Philanthropist Spotlights

The Hartford Foundation and Black Giving Circle Fund are proud to celebrate Black Philanthropy Month 2021. This month, we celebrated by spotlighting several local Black philanthropists who have partnered with the Foundation.

Read a more in-depth profile on each of our spotlights below, and celebrate Black Philanthropy Month with them by learning more about the Black Giving Circle Fund here.

Bob Ike

Founding Member of the Black Giving Circle, John C. Ike and Middie Ike Memorial Scholarship

The mantra at Morehouse College is "What have you done to uplift the community?" It is crucial that Black Americans continue to support Black institutions so we can be the masters of our culture.

Beth Gibbs.pngBeth Gibbs

Black Giving Circle Fund Member, Garnett Gibbs Family Fund

Because I have been given a lot in my life, I feel a responsibility to give back in as many ways I can.

Historically, before the Civil Rights Movement, the Black community organized to find ways to help Black people - businesses, churches, banking, insurance companies, professional associations, schools, etc. All of us need to remember that history and find ways to re-create ways that support our communities, especially the children and youth.

Joseph Dickerson, Jr..pngjoseph dickerson, jr., m.Ed, lpc

Black Giving Circle Fund Member, Philanthropist

My passion for giving back to the community stems from several sources and experiences, in my life, to now. First, I have to give Christ thanks for reaching out and giving us a path to happiness and for being a role model, for giving back to the community on earth.Using that model, I have come to understand that my achievements in life were not due to just my efforts. People like Shirley Chisholm, Martin Luther King Jr, Malcolm X, Harriet Tubman, Nelson Mandela to George Floyd, have all contributed back to the community that I have lived in for 65 years. Recognizing this, I want to be a part of the progress that moves our (Black) community forward.... for our children and all of their offspring. I believe, if we only take and don't give back, we are taking a path toward extinction.

More specifically, as a member of the Black community in America, we can not neglect the need to work together to improve the future and now. My main life motto, "We don't have a second chance at .....NOW." It doesn't matter how much we give, what it is we give, it is important to give back, to move us forward. 

Antoinette Lazarus.pngAntoinette Lazarus

BGCF Member, Philanthropist

I am from a large family (second of twelve children) and we were all raised by our parents to help and care for each other.  I view my community as an extension of my family, and believe we are our brother’s and sister’s keepers. Giving back to my community reminds me that we are all in it together and interconnected in ways unknown. I believe, I am a product of my family and community.  As an immigrant from Jamaica, I did not get anywhere or built anything on my own and it’s important for me to remember the help I received from strangers and such help and guidance has helped me throughout my journey.  Giving of myself serves as a constant reminder that keeps me grounded, grateful and provides the humility that motivates me each day to become the best version of myself.

Greek playwright Aeschylus coined the term philanthropy in the 5th century BC.  It means “love of humanity.” This definition resonates with me.  I consider myself a citizen of the world – I love all humans and believe God made all of us in His image and so I love people from all walks of life and from all over the world – I think our humanity is what connects us and is what we have in common. 

I think as a person of color, I have an obligation to give back.  There are so many ways I can give-back -- my time, talent, or treasure – I have no excuse.  

A friend told me 3 principles of money at an early age: (1) save some (2) spend some and (3) give some away.   Over the years I have learned how to allocate the buckets and have followed this formula for much of my adult life.