Get to know your nonprofit colleagues. We've been creating short, 1-2 minute video interviews that shine a light on the work and impact of Ohio's nonprofits, giving representatives of organizations and programs a chance to tell their own stories.
Watch Zulma Zabala, CEO at East End Neighborhood House, discuss her nonprofit's 104-year commitment to improving community and providing assistance programs for the elderly, children and families, as well as how foundation grants have enabled East End to conduct programming such as the Foster Grantparents program.
(This post is from Celeste E. Terry, guest contributor to our newest feature, In the Black. This is her third post for Philanthropy Front and Center Cleveland. Read her other posts, here.)
First of all, thank you so much for the great comments you've been submitting. It appears we are meeting a need by providing a forum for people who want to know more, but who may be underserved. Change is in the air and it's transforming how people view African-American philanthropy.
On February 11, 2011, the Foundation Center-Cleveland presented a panel discussion that I moderated with Teri Eason and Dr. Stephen Rowan from The Cleveland Foundation. Over 40 people signed up and attended this live-streamed program (thanks WVIZ), and a diverse audience asked insightful questions.
Three things from the discussions really stood out for me:
(1) The word "philanthropy" seems to be a barrier to some people as it conjures up an image of "old wealth and white money." In-person forums and ones like this blog can help dispel that and make room for new perspectives. One attendee felt that we in the industry (the United Black Fund of Greater Cleveland, Inc, and The Cleveland Foundation) should figure out how to bring philanthropy "down-to-earth" for the average person with a middle income who wants to give, but who thinks that what he or she has to give is too small to make a difference.
(2) While I listened to audience members express the desire for more accessibility from foundations, I thought to myself, "Have you ever taken the next step in exploring how to contribute to the United Black Fund or the Cleveland Foundation?" You see, it starts with you, with me. As an individual I can consider my giving options at the same time my organization is looking to foundations for grants and support. A two-way street is essential to a building a robust philanthropic economy and ultimately a vibrant community. I can be a donor and a recipient. Donations of many kinds at any level can go a long way in rebuilding our community.
So, let's get proactive about philanthropy. For example, when we walk past an old playground in our old neighborhood that has fallen into disrepair, let's not simply shake our heads and continue to walk by, but begin to think about what we can do to make this place a playground again. We can change things if we become participants in philanthropy's power to transform. It happens one person at a time. Raising money to get new playground equipment happens one dollar at a time - a thousand people contributing one dollar each is a thousand dollars. The impetus for making this happen can start with one person, someone like you or me. This brings me to my next and final point for now.
(3) Education is the key to becoming proactive, and this forum is a great place to start. Organizations like the United Black Fund of Cleveland, The Cleveland Foundation, and the Foundation Center can help you to learn about giving, fundraising, foundations, and nonprofits, so when you walk past that playground and feel the impulse to make change you know where to turn.
As we build a new paradigm for African-American philanthropy, let's look at our personal ability to do some strategic giving for sustained impact that can last for years to come.
And, thanks to readers Mary Claire and Jeanne for sharing these resource that will help us get there:
Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote: "Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice which make philanthropy necessary."
You have likely heard this quote, but have you thought about it in its original context? Check out this thoughtful post from the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy. Here's an excerpt:
"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. The true neighbor will risk his position, his prestige, and even his life for the welfare of others. In dangerous valleys and hazardous pathways, he will lift some bruised and beaten brother to a higher and more noble life." (King, Strength to Love, 1963)
Replace the word “man” in Dr. King’s writing above with the word “philanthropist” and read it again. For us, this is what it really comes down to: how does philanthropy measure up during these challenging times? Are we good philanthropic neighbors? Are grantmakers truly willing to take risks to help a brother or sister in need? Is philanthropy more than merely commendable?
What do you think? Weigh in by leaving a comment.
Finally, consider taking a moment (17 minutes 28 seconds to be exact) to watch the full "I Have a Dream" speech.
(This post is from Celeste E. Terry, guest contributor to our newest feature, In the Black. This is her second post for Philanthropy Front and Center Cleveland. Read her first post, here.)
Over the holiday, a board member of the United Black Fund of Greater Cleveland, Inc. where I am Assistant Executive Director, called and asked me to speak to a young woman about career opportunities in philanthropy and nonprofits. A native of Cleveland who currently works as a fundraiser in Chicago and who is knowledgeable about the nonprofit sector, she would return to Cleveland in a heartbeat if the right full-time position were to materialize.
As we talked, her fascination with the work of the United Black Fund of Greater Cleveland grew, and she said, "For Black people, if it's not a church tithe, we tend not to know or think about other types of organized philanthropy." Her words struck me and made me wonder if she's right. Is philanthropy not talked about enough (or at all) in the home? Or, are the large gifts of the Cosbys and Oprahs of the world so extraordinary that philanthropy seems to be beyond the scope of most middle-class African American families? Maybe philanthropy is seen as something that only the wealthy participate in.
Could part of the answer lie in the perception that African American people are generally on the receiving end as beneficiaries or consumers of philanthropy as opposed to being philanthropists themselves? Perhaps this is where we should begin the conversation.
Maybe Debsoftware said it best in this comment to my first post: "Apart from a tithe to the church, donations to HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities), and workplace pledging, what else can we do to uplift our community and leave a legacy?"
I'll share one last observation, then it's your turn to chime in (keep those comments coming). I recall a recent story about a shoe store that was mobbed mostly by African Americans wanting to be the first to buy a pricey, new, famous-maker shoe (think, swoosh). There was a pushing and shoving melee to get to the shoes. Clearly, people have the financial resources, even in the current tough economy, to make this type of, dare I say, discretionary purchase. Clearly there's some self-gratification to be had by investing in and wearing this shoe. Could we generate the same type of enthusiasm for or feel a similar sense of gratification by investing in our own community and wearing the label "philanthropist"?
This post is not meant to chastise, but rather to explore two things.
What would it take to open up the world of African American philanthropy beyond our traditional involvement?
Is it possible to build a buzz around doing good that rivals the buzz we get from owning something good?
(This post is from Celeste E. Terry, Assistant Executive Director at the United Black Fund of Greater Cleveland, Inc. This is her first for Philanthropy Front and Center Cleveland)
I'm delighted to join the Foundation Center-Cleveland as a guest blogger, where I will be writing primarily about African-American philanthropy in a new feature called In the Black, drawing from my years of experience as Assistant Executive Director at the United Black Fund of Greater Cleveland, Inc. I hope to engage and inform, build knowledge, gather and share ideas, and encourage a dialogue. Mostly, my intent will be to make the exploration of African-American philanthropy fun and energizing.
I have some ideas for my first "official" posts, but I'd also like to know what interests you. Take a moment to tell us what you want to know about African-American philanthropy. We want to deliver what's most valuable to you and the only way we can do that is if you tell us what interests you. It will only take a few seconds, I promise!
It is commendable that the Foundation Center-Cleveland wants to expand awareness of African-American philanthropy at this blog and I thank them for inviting me to be part of that effort. At the United Black Fund of Greater Cleveland, Inc. I have created marketing opportunities that span Internet radio, Second Life, podcasting, text messaging, and other creative uses of technology to reach and engage the African-American community and others in our work. I look forward to exploring these and other things with you.
I invite you to join me on this exciting journey and make reading and commenting on this blog part of your routine. I look forward to getting to know you better and to beginning the discussion. Stay tuned!
Funded in part by the Ohio Commission on Minority Health, Orasure Technologies, the MAC AIDS fund, the Ohio department of alcohol, and drug addiction services, Gilead Sciences, the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Black AIDS Institute, this week, the Buckeye state will host Test 1 Million Ohio Celebrity Tour.
From April 21 to April 24, 2010, celebrities Danny Glover ("Death at a Funeral"), Rockmond Dunbar ("The Family that Preys"), Lamman Rucker ("Why Did I Get Married Too?"), and Sheryl Lee Ralph (Tony Award nominee) will visit Dayton, Oxford, Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Columbus to fight AIDS stigma, raise awareness about the magnitude of HIV/AIDS in Black communities, and encourage people to get tested for HIV.
"There has never been an effort to mobilize the Black community in Ohio like this," says Mamie Harris, CEO and founder of IV Charis, a Cincinnati- and Northern Kentucky-based AIDS-service organization and event co-sponsor. Other tour supporters include the Ohio Minority Health Commission, Orasure Technologies and a statewide coalition of 27 organizations. "We hope that combining the efforts of local organizations, including colleges and universities, churches, elected officials and health departments, with a mobile 'billboard' featuring Hollywood celebrities will get people's attention," says Harris.
The tour kicks off on Wednesday, April 21 at Central State and Wilberforce Universities and continues on Thursday, April 22 with a stop at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.
In Cleveland on Friday, April 23, the department of health and Radio One station 107.9 WENZ-FM will present the HIV/AIDS awareness play "Secrets." On Saturday morning April 24, Cincinnati's Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta will hold its 4th annual walk and, that afternoon, the African Heritage Festival will be held at Ohio State University. HIV testing will be available at all events.
(This post, re-published here with permission from blogger Tracey Webb, originally appeared in blackgivesback a blog dedicated to philanthropy in the black community.)
Akron, OH, October 13, 2009 – Professional basketball player Devin Green of the Minnesota Timberwolves went back to high school for a day in his hometown of Akron, Ohio to share his journey to the NBA with students at Butchel High school. Green’s summer was the subject of a YouTube documentary entitled "Devin Green: The Journey,”chronicling his collegiate hoops at Hampton University, and professional career in the NBA and overseas. On September 11th, Green journeyed home to Ohio to impart his learned lessons on and off the court.
Buchtel High School opened in 1931 and was named after John R. Buchtel, one of Akron's leading industrialists and philanthropists. Green spoke with two groups of students, an academic scholars program and the basketball team. Green played on the varsity basketball team for two seasons for the “Griffins” and appreciated the home court advantage to speak with the students. “Home is where the heart is, I love Ohio and appreciate all the support and encouragement,” said Green. “The Journey is a documentary about my life and professional athletic career. I want to share my journey and let the students know I sat where they are sitting and that dreams come true.”
On September 28th, Green signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves as an unrestricted free agent. Green has played with the Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, San Antonio Spurs and European teams.
Green’s commitment to giving back and his diverse support group propels him to keep going. His hometown of Ohio is where Green garnered his spirit of community service, zest for success and work ethic – on and off the court.
Green has “home-court” advantage and wants to inspire Ohio students to appreciate their own “Journey.” "I found Devin's visit informative and his presentation was engaging," said Brian Turner, College Access Coordinator, Project GRAD Akron. "The students were receptive to his message and hopefully it will inspire them to go to college and embark on their own journey." To view a clip of Devin’s documentary, The Journey, visit HERE.
Photos: (Top) Devin Green with Project GRAD advisors; (bottom) Devin with Butchel High School students
(This post, re-published here with permission from blogger Tracey Webb, originally appeared in blackgivesback, a blog dedicated to philanthropy in the black community.)
In 2003, NFL-er London Fletcher [a Cleveland native who attended John Carroll University] of the Washington Redskins founded the London’s Bridge Foundation, an Ohio-based non profit organization to build standards of education, leadership, teamwork and recreation for today’s youth, with the ultimate goal of instilling the values of volunteerism and philanthropy. Through the foundation’s mentoring and charitable giving programs, they teach youth life skills and valuable learning lessons. One of those programs is London’s Brigade, a community project that provides access to mentors 24/7. The project uses its website, which features a blog and discussion board, to connect with students.
On September 22, 2009 during the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s annual legislative conference, Fletcher along with foundation staff and mentors took youth on a tour of the U.S. Capitol (in photo above) in Washington, D.C. They met Rep. Eleanor Norton and learned about various scholarship opportunities available to them. Norton, expressing appreciation to the foundation’s staff for bringing the youth to her office, shared that she rarely gets a chance to meet her youngest constituents. After spending the day on Capitol Hill, the youth were treated to a surprise dinner at B. Smith's restaurant in Union Station.
This month, the foundation’s theme is journalism and their upcoming mentoring trips will allow the youth to tour the Newseum, participate in a civil rights course that will allow them to stage their own mock social movement, visit BET and meet with executives in the entertainment industry, tour the Redskins stadium and have a chance to go on the field and write news paper articles about their experience.
The foundation states, “the central focus of the project is to provide students with an alternate game plan should their hopes and dreams of being professional athletes and entertainers not materialize. For many kids, especially minorities, these are the only perceived means of obtaining professional success. Thus, our primary goal is to introduce our students to alternative career options.” In addition to Washington, D.C., the foundation has provided mentoring activities in Cleveland, Ohio; Buffalo, New York; and Charlotte, N.C. (In photo: Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton and London Fletcher.) For more information, visit the website.