The characteristics, impacts, and legacy of African American charitable giving is an untold narrative in the story of American philanthropy.
To spotlight Black philanthropists, Cleveland, Ohio, joins a roster of cities that have hosted The Soul of Philanthropy, a national traveling exhibit created by writer Valaida Fullwood and photographer Charles W. Thomas.
The exhibition’s three-month stop in Cleveland was made possible through the collaboration of Candid, United Black Fund, and the Cleveland History Center, along with a host of local civic, business, and philanthropic leaders. In addition to the national exhibit, the Cleveland collaborative, known as The Soul of Philanthropy Cleveland (TSOPCLE), took on the additional challenge of creating a permanent exhibit to bring into focus Black Philanthropy in Cleveland, aptly named Celebrate Those Who Give Black. TSOPCLE’s goal is to amplify and bring into focus the giving power of Black donors and catalyze the next generation of givers and doers, particularly in Cleveland, Ohio.
The exhibit will be on display for all to see and engage with at the Cleveland History Center through December 6, 2019.
Black communities have significant giving power. A report from W.K. Kellogg and the Rockefeller Foundation revealed that two-thirds of Black households give $11 billion charitable dollars each year. Despite Black households just having 6 percent of the wealth of white households, they give 25 percent more than their white counterparts. The generosity of Black people has not wavered despite growing wage and wealth gaps in comparison to Whites; increasing inequities across social, economic, and environmental issues; or the misperception that Blacks are beneficiaries of philanthropy but not benefactors.
Traditional philanthropy does not account for the many informal giving pathways in which African American communities participate and tends to overlook people of color in traditional giving spaces. Historically, African Americans have given of their time—volunteering to meet needs through their churches and membership organizations; talent—offering skilled services and labor to fill gaps or provide a benefit to their communities; and treasure—cheerfully and generously giving through tithes and offerings; paying dues and raising funds through member organizations, such as historically Black fraternities and sororities; and giving to nonprofits that fight against the social, racial, and economic injustices that affect the Black community.
“Partnering on this exciting and informative exhibition allowed us to feature what Candid does best; provide data and facts, develop and deliver high quality, relevant training and programming, and promote philanthropy,” said Teleangé Thomas, director of Candid Midwest and executive committee member for The Soul of Philanthropy Cleveland.
Foundation Center, now Candid, has been part of the Cleveland community for more than 40 years. Through the decades, we have helped everyone from grassroots groups to legacy organizations build capacity (fundraising, leadership and management, organizational sustainability); build transparency among grantmakers through curating and sharing data on their grantmaking and managing websites so grantseekers can find them; and build the social sector’s knowledge and field of practice by providing quality data and information that can inform decisions, highlight trends, and drive impact.
As a collaborating partner of TSOPCLE, Candid will present four special programs: Soul of Philanthropy Reframed & Exhibited—A Funders Roundtable, with special guest Valaida Fullwood; In Her Shoes: Stories, Insights & Perspectives of Women of Color in Philanthropy, with special guest Susan Taylor Batten; Building Capacity: From Grassroots to Legacy Institutions, a half-day summit for local nonprofits; and Giving Circles & Donor Advised Funds: Pathways to Giving for Donors of Color, with representatives from the Cleveland Foundation, Fidelity Charity, and Community Foundation of Lorain County.