The ABC’s of Philanthropy

Guest blog post from Anita Garrett, for the last day of “An August of Dreams and Mountaintops”

Anita M. Garrett is a social entrepreneur and journalist.  As the first Afrian-American to Chair Women In Philanthropy, a giving circle of the United Way of The Midlands, Anita is passionate about resource development and social justice.  She currently serves on the National Women’s Leadership Council (United Way Worldwide) and is a member of the Community Investment Network, a nonprofit organization that encourages organizations and individuals to think and act more strategically with their giving.

Anita Garrett during the CIN 2012 National Conference in Birmingham

Anita Garrett during the CIN 2012 National Conference in Birmingham, AL

I’m a big fan of education.

As the children return to school, I’m reminded of my Grandmother who taught me phonics in the living room before I ever entered a classroom and stressed the importance of knowing the basics—the “roots” of words—so I’d have the necessary foundation to handle anything.  Although she only had a 5th grade education herself, she worked as a maid at Spellman College to ensure that both of her daughters would be able to receive the education she’d not been afforded.

In reflecting on the significance of this month—Black Philanthropy Month and the the 50th anniversary of the March On Washington—coupled with the activities of the back-to-school season, I began considering the “ABC’s of Philanthropy.”  For those of us who claim to truly be “lovers of mankind” what are the elementary points, the fundamental knowledge and the basic reminders needed to continue uplifting and increasing awareness about philanthropy?

Perhaps it’s as easy as A-B-C . . .


Ask about the most pressing needs in your community.  This may take some research. It may not be the headlining trend or most popular charity that will change the long-standing challenges.  Sometimes investing in the unsung S/Heros that are quietly working / toiling closest to ground-zero will have the greatest impact.


Believe that you are GOLDEN just as you are, with the same array of valuable assets and diverse talents that traditional philanthropist possess.  Believe in the HUGE impact your personal contribution, when combined with others, can make.  Believe in philanthropy as a catalyst to improve society.


Commit to expanding your understanding of philanthropy and re-defining it in a way that’s meaning and relevant for you.  Commit to preserving  your families stories—rich with often overlooked tales of sharing. And giving. And loving. Commit to educating the next generation about philanthropy.

School is in session!

The world is your classroom.

Let’s continually celebrate the spirit of Philanthropy through lifelong learning and dedicate ourselves to giving back 365 days a year.

About valaida

writer. thinker. listener. idea whisperer. traveler. mad word geek. absolute scrabble freak. drinker of life. da*n good friend. ridiculous foodie. imaginative dreamer. afflicted party planner. kind conqueror. okra lover. hillbilly w/ southern roots far-stretched global sights. author of book that reframes portraits of philanthropy. Giving Back: A Tribute to Generations of African American Philanthropists |
This entry was posted in Black Philanthropy Month 2013 and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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