Tag Archives: African American fundraising

Accountability and Trust: Keys to Partnership

Part two of a three-part series on private/public partnerships

BayviewSeniorHousing, fundraising, public private partnership, how to build a private public partnership, Bayview Hunters Point Multipurpose Senior Services, BHPMSS, African American fundraising

Bayview Senior Housing

An interview with Cathy Davis, executive director of Bayview Hunters Point Multipurpose Senior Services, Inc.

Saad&Shaw: Based on your experience, what does a nonprofit have to have in place in order for a private/public partnership to work?

Cathy Davis: A non-profit has to have its house in order to work with other partners. For an African American agency the stakes are higher and the bar is raised higher because of the general lack of trust given to African American based agencies. You have to work harder with less and maintain your integrity at all times. That is just the way it is and surrendering to it allows you to be prepared in the ways you need to be.

The public sector requires a great deal of accountability and as non-profit we had to prove our capacity to provide services and then be able to step into the partnership. You don’t have to be perfect, but you have to be willing to change and be more accountable.

Each partner has to recognize their strengths and weaknesses and be willing to rely on the partner with the best expertise. At some point you have to trust each other’s expertise.

Saad&Shaw: What are the challenges that a nonprofit may encounter in creating a private/public partnership?

Cathy Davis: There are many challenges for a non-profit to be in a good negotiating position with public and private partners.   The board has to understand the process and be willing to risk the agency’s credibility and finances along the way. Ultimately there are no guarantees: taking on large projects requires a leap of faith. Be ready to be called a “sellout” or a “greedy” non-profit by others who are not willing to partner with for- profits or the City. You will be tested and asked to support the efforts of the City: this goes with the territory if you want funding from them. You will be told you are “too small,” you have no experience doing this, or you are “over your head” – often in subtle ways.

Saad&Shaw: What were the advantages of creating a private/public partnership?

Cathy Davis: We needed each other to make the project happen. As a local non-profit we know what the community needs and were able to garner political support. The developer had the financial clout and expertise to build it. The City had access to funding, understood the process of working with other city departments, and was able to sell the project to city officials. We were able to access $58million for our project through City, State and low income housing tax credits. Our agency had no history in housing development and we were able to create the partnerships to make this happen for the community.

Next week: Compromise, relationships and faith

Did you miss Part 1: How to create a partnership with public and private sectors

Learn more about BHPMSS at http://bhpmss.org/

Mel and Pearl Shaw are the authors of “Prerequisites for Fundraising Success” and “The Fundraiser’s Guide to Soliciting Gifts.” They provide fundraising counsel to nonprofits. Visit them at www.saadandshaw.com. Follow them on Twitter: @saadshaw.

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African American men uniting to support community nonprofit organizations

Part two of a two part series. Read part one here

African American philanthropyAfrican American men are pooling their money to create positive community change. The Ujima Legacy Fund brings together men who invest $1,100 and collectively increase their impact. Founder Reginald Gordon shares a few details so you can create a fund in your community. We pick up our interview with Gordon with a discussion about grantmaking.

“Once we have reviewed all of the applications, a representative group of Ujima men go visit the site of the most compelling applicants,” Gordon shared. “The next step is for those applicants to make a presentation to the entire membership. After the membership has heard from each of the top applicants, then the members vote. The agency with the most votes is awarded the grant. Last year, we gave $20,000 to Partnership for the Future (www.partnershipforthefuture.org). This year Ujima received proposals for funding from 23 applicants. We will vote on our 2014 grantee in mid May.”

The fund started through barber shop conversations, now “we are using word of mouth, email and social gatherings to spread the news about the Ujima Legacy Fund. We asked each member from last year to try to recruit two other men to join this year. We have been successful in asking for time on the agenda at regularly scheduled African American male networking events and meetings, like fraternity meetings. The response has been overwhelmingly positive.”

Joy has accompanied the process. “One of the unexpected joys is the renewed sense of brotherhood. We now have a band of brothers who have made a commitment to transform our community by financially supporting critical pathways to success for our young adults,” Gordon shared. “We actually have a Ujima Legacy Fund lapel pin that we wear to symbolize our unity of purpose. The word has spread around town that African American men in Richmond are coming together to give money to causes that they want to support. We definitely have helped expand and diversify the list of major philanthropic donors in Richmond. We have even inspired black women in Richmond to begin the process of creating their own giving circle. We have jokingly asked them to not raise more money than us their first year.”

Gordon suggests checking out information about the Ujima Legacy Fund on the Community Foundation of Richmond website. “Get a small group of men (no more than six) who want to champion the creation of a giving circle. Have this core group decide on firm goals and objectives of the giving circle. (Please feel free to use any language that you like from Ujima.) Find a fiscal sponsor and some organization that can help administer the fund. Then, go out and boldly recruit members for your giving circle.”

Learn more at www.bit.ly/UjimaLegacyFund.

Photo credit: The Community Foundation Serving Richmond and Central Virginia. www.tcfrichmond.org

Mel and Pearl Shaw are the authors of “Prerequisites for Fundraising Success” and “The Fundraiser’s Guide to Soliciting Gifts.” They provide fundraising counsel to nonprofits. Visit them at www.saadandshaw.com. Follow them on Twitter: @saadshaw.

African American Men and philanthropy

African American men find a new way to give back

Part one of a two part series

Reginald Gordon, African American fundraising, African American male philanthropy, African American philanthropy, giving circles, how to start a giving circle

Readers of our column know we are supporters and promoters of women’s philanthropy including women’s foundations and giving circles. Mel likes to joke, “what about men’s philanthropy?” Now we have an answer: the Ujima Legacy Fund – an African American male giving circle. Knowing that men don’t want to be outdone by women, and that women want to support men, we bring you this interview with Reginald Gordon, one of the fund’s founders. In addition to supporting and growing African American men’s philanthropy Gordon is also the Chief Executive Officer of the Eastern Virginia Region of the American Red Cross.

Let’s start at the beginning. We asked Gordon about the events that led up to creation of the fund. “The Ujima Legacy Fund grew out of a series of conversations that we had in a barbershop,” he began. “A group of African American men decided to hold monthly conversations in a downtown barbershop a few years ago. The evening conversations attracted a cross section of men, from construction workers to college professors. We promoted the conversations by word of mouth. It felt like a Million Man March experience. We explored myriad topics that impacted the black community in Richmond, including the lack of black men involved in local philanthropy. A few of us decided to take action on the idea of getting more African American men involved in philanthropy. We kept on working on this idea after the cessation of the monthly barbershop conversations. We did research on black male philanthropy and decided that we needed to form an African American male giving circle. We named it the Ujima Legacy Fund. Ujima, the third day of Kwanzaa, means collective work and responsibility.”

While fundraising can be challenging, organizing how a fund operates can be even more complex. We asked Gordon to share how the fund operates. “We decided to keep the management of the Ujima Legacy Fund as simple as possible. The fund is open to any African American man who wishes to join. In order to become a member of the Ujima Legacy Fund, the man must contribute $1,100. Each member gets one vote, when it is time to select the grantee,” Gordon began. “The Ujima Legacy Fund has a partnership with the Community Foundation of Richmond for administration of the fund. The men of Ujima decided on the types of programs and agencies that would be appropriate for our funding. We agreed that we wanted to target our funds toward agencies that had credible educational programs designed to serve young adults. Prospective grantees apply for the Ujima Legacy Fund through the Community Foundation website (www.tcfrichmond.org.)”

Next week: grant making, and how to start your own fund.

Learn more at www.bit.ly/UjimaLegacyFund.

Mel and Pearl Shaw are the authors of “Prerequisites for Fundraising Success” and “The Fundraiser’s Guide to Soliciting Gifts.” They provide fundraising counsel to nonprofits. Visit them at www.saadandshaw.com. Follow them on Twitter: @saadshaw.

UNCF telethon: a black history game changer

UNCF telethon: a black history game changer

UNCF Telethon Parade of StarsLights, camera, action. In 1980 the United Negro College Fund, UNCF, launched the Parade of Stars telethon. It became a nationwide fundraising program raising millions of dollars for generations of students, and support for historically black colleges and universities. It became the largest one-day African American special event in the country. It changed black history – and American history – creating an acknowledged culture of fundraising in the African American community. America’s largest corporations became engaged. Small churches, teachers, sororities and fraternities became engaged. Donors and volunteers from across the country organized to support UNCF and celebrate black philanthropy.

Here’s the back story. The telethon actually began years earlier in Dallas, Texas. The first telethon was a live performance at the Fairmont Hotel with STAX recording artists Rufus Thomas and Johnny Taylor backed by the Dallas symphony. The performance was filmed, edited and prepared for broadcast in 13 radio and television markets across Texas. Local volunteers answered phones and families across Texas called to give. A national fundraising movement was born.

The telethon gained national exposure in 1974 with hosts Nancy Wilson and Clifton Davis. Ron Bookman secured the talent; television and radio stations broadcast in select markets at no charge. This caught the attention of Anheuser-Busch and the rest is history. Lou Rawls, as spokesman for Anheuser-Busch, became the iconic host of the telethon. American Airlines, Kellogg, General Motors soon joined as sponsors and underwriters.

The telethon became a great recruiting tool for UNCF colleges. It also increased alumni pride and giving. It sent a message to corporations and foundations: UNCF colleges are important to African Americans and America. With an ear to the ground for the drumbeat of the community, these major funders joined with grassroots America to give – and give generously – to what became the “charity of choice” for African Americans. UNCF shed its image as an organization that appealed to the elite: it had launched a “people’s campaign” engaging donors and volunteers from all walks of life.

The telethon did what hadn’t been done before. It created a culture of fundraising throughout the black community that also engaged Hispanics, American Indians and Whites. It made UNCF a household word, and the phrase “A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste” one of America’s most iconic slogans. Corporations participated in cause-marketing focused on the black consumer. African Americans became the majority of UNCF donors, “documenting” their widespread support for the organization. The telethon provided an opportunity for all segments of the community to participate and be publicly recognized for their contributions. It provided economic opportunities for African American advertising agencies, marketing executives, producers, writers and small businesses. Most importantly it demonstrated the power of diverse volunteer-led fundraising. Our take: Think big, start small.

Mel and Pearl Shaw are the authors of “Prerequisites for Fundraising Success” and “The Fundraiser’s Guide to Soliciting Gifts.”  They provide fundraising counsel to nonprofits. Visit them at www.saadandshaw.com. Follow them @saadshaw.