Reflections on Black Philanthropy Month
Aug 28, 2023
Today — August 28 — is an especially important date in Black history.
It was on this date in 1955 that Black teenager Emmett Till was dragged from the home of a relative and murdered for the alleged “crime” of making flirtatious remarks to a white woman.
It was on this date in 1963 that hundreds of thousands of Americans participated in the famous Civil Rights March on Washington, which was punctuated by Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech.
It was on this date in 2005 that Hurricane Katrina brought devastation to Black communities in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.
It was on this date in 2008 that Barack Obama became the first Black man to accept a major party nomination for president.
And it was on this date in 2016 that Colin Kaepernick first took a knee during a performance of the National Anthem to protest police violence.
Together, these events reflect the pain, hope, and promise that are central to the Black experience in America. They are reminders of the racism and violence that have been part of that experience for centuries. But these events also demonstrate resilience and evidence that when we come together, we have the power to create change.
That belief is central to Black culture — and it is at the heart of our generosity.
Earlier this month, I wrote an opinion piece that appeared in the CT Post that shines a light on another important August event, Black Philanthropy Month.
When many Americans are asked to picture a philanthropist, the first image that comes to mind often isn’t a person of color.
That perception significantly undervalues the historic and current contributions of Black Americans, who give a larger share of wealth to charities than any other racial group in America.
That same perception is also why local groups like Les Treize — an organization created more than 75 years ago by 13 Black professional women in Bridgeport to raise money and provide scholarships to Black students — have often flown under the radar despite their tremendous contributions to our community.
Today — on this day of significance in American history — I invite you to read the inspiring story of Les Treize and take time to recognize and honor the unique contributions that Black philanthropists are making to our community by giving of their time, their talent, and their treasure.
And I further encourage you to think about how you might connect your philanthropy to building the capacity of those closest to the issues and best positioned to create sustainable solutions. Black Philanthropy Month provides the opportunity to highlight that philanthropists exist in every neighborhood, in every community, and at all income levels. Collectively, all these givers make our world a better place, each and every day.
Mendi blue paca
PRESIDENT & CEO
FAIRFIELD COUNTY’S COMMUNITY FOUNDATION