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Black Philanthropy Month 2017: Giving Voice to Fuel Change

Posted By Tausi Suedi, Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Black Philanthropy Month 2017: Giving Voice to Fuel Change by Tracey Webb, Founder, Black Benefactors

 

For the past four years, I have been honored to serve as an architect for Black Philanthropy Month (BPM), an unprecedented campaign observed during August that strengthens African descent giving in all its forms. Founded in 2011 by Dr. Jackie Copeland-Carson and the Pan-African Women’s Philanthropy Network (PAWPNet), BPM comprises of activities—online and in communities—to inspire people to advocate and to give in strategic ways that transform policies, systems, and lives for the better. Being a part of BPM fulfills my passion to give back, a tradition that has been a mainstay in my family for generations.  

 

As I reflected on this year’s theme, Giving Voice to Fuel Change, I thought about the impact of giving voice to stories of Black giving to counteract the stereotype that African Americans are passive recipients of giving. To the contrary, research has shown that we are benefactors with a long history of philanthropy. This is what inspired the name of the giving circle I founded in 2007 – Black Benefactors. One of our signature activities is an event series that features Black donors to share their story of giving. Sharing these stories is critical to changing how philanthropy is viewed – not just for the white and wealthy, but all who strategically give their time, talent, treasure and testimony.  

 

This summer at my family reunion in South Carolina, a distant cousin shared his giving story with generations of family members. An adjunct professorhe gives voice by providing black history tours in New Orleans and was instrumental in recent efforts to remove the city’s confederate statues. His giving story and voice has inspired the next generation of change makers not only within our own family, but within the Crescent City and beyond. 

 

My fellow BPM architect Valaida Fullwood gives voice as the co-author of the award-winning book, Giving Back: A Tribute to Generations of African American Philanthropists. The book’s images and giving stories come to life in “The Soul of Philanthropy,” a multi-media exhibit that has been traveling the country since 2015 impacting those who have been able to see Black philanthropy in action.

 

I began offering my own voice to bring Black philanthropy to life in 2007 with a blog called BlackGivesBack.com. The blog highlighted the philanthropic and charitable efforts of grassroots givers, celebrities, high net-worth donors, social entrepreneurs, community leaders, nonprofit and foundation executives, corporations and organizations that benefit the African American community. Although I ceased blogging in 2015, its content about the impact of giving within our own community continues to be relevant and viewed regularly.

 

As August comes to a close, there are still ways you make an immediate impact and communicate the importance of giving right where you are. You can speak up regarding causes you care about, volunteer and support what you are passionate about, donate to your favorite charity and more.   

 

These examples illustrate ways you can give voice to fuel change. We encourage you to participate in BPM by hosting self-organized events, charitable fundraising activities and community conversations this month and all year round. Visit our website at www.blackphilanthropymonth.com to view our participant guide for more ideas.

 

How are you giving voice to fuel change? Share online using #BPM2017 and #givingvoice.

 

Bio: Tracey Webb is the founder of Black Benefactors, a giving circle based in Washington, DC that provides grants and in-kind support to Black-led organizations serving the African American community. Webb has been hailed as the first online chronicler of Black philanthropy as the creator of BlackGivesBack.com, a pioneering blog that highlighted stories of Black giving from 2007-2015. She has been featured in national media and is the recipient of several honors and awards. Learn more about Black Benefactors and become a member at blackbenefactors.org.

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