Book to celebrate state’s African-American givers

Donna Chavis
Donna Chavis

Donna Chavis

North Carolinians are generous with their time, talent and treasure – we are a giving people. However, the stories of many givers are not often celebrated.

That’s why NCGives uses storytelling to celebrate the giving culture of the primary groups with which we work: women, young people and communities of color.

Fortunately, there is a giving circle in Charlotte that also is working to “get the stories told” – New Generation of African American Philanthropists-Charlotte, or NGAAP-Charlotte.

NGAAP-Charlotte is a giving circle whose members believe “the strength of images, stories and tradition inspires fresh thinking and giving.”

Much like a book club, the giving circle is made up of people who have common interests and values and have decided to pool their charitable dollars to give back to the community.

The group uses its funds to make grants to nonprofit that have a positive impact on African-American children, families and neighborhoods. Founded in 2006 by a group of nearly 20 donor-members, NGAAP-Charlotte’s mission is “to promote philanthropy-the giving of time, talent and treasure- among African Americans in the Charlotte region, with the goal of enhancing the quality of life within our communities.”

NGAAP-Charlotte’s Giving Back Project uses photography and storytelling to capture and present the cultures of giving in the African-American community.

Slated to be released this fall, the tabletop book will include stories that celebrate the traditions of giving among African Americans.

Giving in the Black community is rooted in traditions that go back centuries.

Early philanthropists in the United States include givers such as Madame C.J. Walker, who used her successful business enterprises to support positive developments in African-American communities. (You can see other historical examples of African American giving on NCGives’ fact sheet.)

In “Giving Back: A Tribute to Generations of African-American Philanthropists,” NGAAP-Charlotte presents 200 stories that chronicle the giving of North Carolina Black philanthropists from various backgrounds and forms of giving.

The book includes stories about:

Dora Atlas, age 90, who combined personal funds, social capital and considerable cooking talents to establish Our Daily Bread Kitchen in Asheboro 20 years ago.

The soup kitchen still sustains its mission to feed the hungry and serves over 10,000 free meals a year.

Jelani Haskins, a teenager demonstrating philanthropic leadership through his engagement with peers, his volunteerism in the community and his giving spirit.

Elizabeth Ross Dargan, a now-deceased retired public-school teacher, who bequeathed $250,000 to benefit the higher-education institutions and nonprofit organizations she served faithfully during her lifetime.

John Crawford, driven by his vision and belief that communities should “give youth a chance,” founded the Charlotte Housing Authority Scholarship Fund.

The Fund works to ensure children living in public housing have both the opportunity for and expectation of a college education.

These givers remind us of how important everyone is to the strength of community. We celebrate African American givers of North Carolina and efforts to bring more of their stories to our collective history.

Donna Chavis is executive director of NCGives.

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