Tag Archives: Giving Circles

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.

Make Every Tuesday Giving Tuesday

http://community.givingtuesday.org/NewsGiving Tuesday is here! There is still time left in the day to give to the nonprofits you believe in. Friday was Black Friday for shopping at the mall and big boxes, Saturday was Small Business Saturday to promote shopping at locally owned small businesses, and Monday was Cyber Monday for internet shopping. Today it is Giving Tuesday and we – collectively – can get our give on! You can give by cell phone or through the ever accessible “donate now” button. You can give the “old fashioned” way by writing a check. Most importantly it’s time to give AND you can make very Tuesday a giving Tuesday. Here are three tips!

  1. Set up your checking account to automatically transfer funds to your favorite charity every Tuesday. Or every first Tuesday of the month. You pick! Giving small amounts frequently – and AUTOMATICALLY – makes it easier to give. You make the decision once and technology keeps you committed.
  2. Write a check to one of your favorite nonprofits when you write your monthly bills. You can pick the same one each month, or pick a different one each month.
  3. Join or create a giving circle – you and your friends can get together once a month, pool your money and choose where to give it. You can be as simple or as complex as you want to be. You can get ideas by visiting www.givingcircles.org.

Enjoy giving. Enjoy fundraising. Keep the FUN in FUNdraising.

Mel and Pearl Shaw www.saadandshaw.com

Image courtesy of http://community.givingtuesday.org/News