Philanthropic Finesse

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Black Male Philanthropy

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July 2014
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Philanthropist Reggie Gordon gave a thought-provoking and inspirational TEDX talk on a way Black men in Richmond, Virginia are working together to give back the less fortunate. The idea had been percolating with Reggie since his attendance at the Million Man March in 1995. After contemplating the donor/client profile at social services agencies, he realized the recipients of services tend to be African-American and the majority of donors are white. The talk goes on to explain how Reggie and 19 other Black men are making a difference in the lives of Black men in their town.

There were two important take-aways for me. First was Reggie’s mention of Black Beneficial Societies which can be traced back to the 1800s. These societies provide temporary relief and charity to those in the community in need. The more affluent community members pool their money and to help the needy.

Second was Reggie’s mention of a local-area man who died in 2005. During his lifetime, he lived well below his means so he could help others in financial need. This very special man gained personally, not financially, from giving money to strangers desperate for immediate relief.

Are you willing to give money directly to strangers instead of through a charitable organization? Honestly, I never thought to give significant sums of money to strangers until now.  My preferred method has always been to give to a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

Reggie Gordon’s talk gave me something to think about. Maybe it will do the same for you. To listen to the entire talk, click on the link below.


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