By Becky Machamer
The Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota are home to the largest urban Hmong population in the U.S. totaling 41,000, with a grand total of over 66,000 living statewide, according to the 2010 U.S. census.
The Hmong are a distinct ethnic group from Southeast Asia. Hmong began coming to Minnesota as refugees in 1975 as they fled their homeland of Laos as a result of the North Vietnamese Invasion and communist takeover during the Laotian Civil War.
Many Hmong refugees to America chose Minnesota as home due to the prevalence of government assistance programs and nonprofit organizations involved in federal resettlement efforts, such as Lutheran Social Services, Catholic Charities, and the International Institute. There are many nonprofit voluntary agencies in the Twin Cities that contract with the U.S. State Department to help refugees get settled, learn English, find housing, get healthcare, and begin a new life.
It is for this same reason that the Twin Cities is also home to the largest Somali population in the country. The first group of legal Somali refugees—who fled their country due to its only civil war—were sent to Minnesota by the U.S. State Department in 1991, and today the population totals approximately 30,000.
Minneapolis-St. Paul has quickly become known for its rich tradition of welcoming immigrants from across the globe, perhaps a trend that correlates with its ranking as the sixth most charitable metropolitan market in the country with over 51,000 nonprofit organizations.
So how has this history of immigration and philanthropy in Minnesota impacted the Hmong population?
Well, one way has been through the increasing popularity of giving circles. A giving circle is a group of people with similar interests and passions that join together to pool their money, energy, and ideas to have a greater impact in their communities. Studies show that giving circles are particularly popular among minority populations, women, and donors under 40. Giving circles provide an opportunity for donors with lower income levels to engage in philanthropy at a high level and have a greater collective impact in their communities.
As discussed in Diversity and Philanthropy, there is much variety within Asian American philanthropy so one must be careful when making generalizations; however, one common thread within this ethnic group is giving circles. Social networks play a significant role in Asian American’s motivation to give, and giving circles provide the opportunity for a group of like-minded individuals to make decisions and give collectively.
In 2004, the nation’s first Hmong women’s giving circle was established in St. Paul, Minnesota. Mala Thao, now a Partner Relations Officer at Minnesota Philanthropy Partners, co-founded the Hmong Women’s Giving Circle based upon the giving traditions of the Hmong community. Her motivation? Being told people of color don’t give. “That’s not true,” Mala said, “we’re a very giving people.”
The Hmong community and other Asian Americans may give in ways that are different than the traditional definition of philanthropy in the United States. Diversity and Philanthropy highlights mutual aid and informal giving as central to philanthropy amongst Asian Americans, with family and friends as primary recipients.
The creation of the Hmong Women’s Giving Circle has allowed Mala Thao and other members to expand their giving to other causes they are passionate about, focusing on root causes and social change. Often the organizations funded are those that the members have benefited from themselves. Their mission is to “promote philanthropy within the community, encourage activism and promote social change for Hmong women and girls” in Minnesota. This mission has been carried out year after year, with the Hmong Women’s Giving Circle giving as much as $38,000 annually.
As the Hmong and other immigrant populations in the Twin Cities continue to grow, I look forward to seeing our philanthropic landscape continue to diversify. I am proud to live in a city that is known for our welcoming and philanthropic culture.
Becky Machamer, CFRE
With over a decade of fundraising experience in healthcare, higher education, arts, and humanitarian organizations, Becky is currently a major gifts officer for Girl Scouts River Valleys. Prior to joining Girl Scouts, Becky worked for Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation—the nation’s largest nonprofit addiction treatment provider—as a gift officer in corporate and foundation relations, and for Ruffalo Noel Levitz providing annual giving management and consultation services for nonprofit organizations throughout the country and in Australia.
Becky received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she first discovered her passion for fundraising. She will complete her Master of Arts in Philanthropy and Development at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota in 2018, and also holds a Fundraising Certificate from the University of St. Thomas and the Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) credential. Becky is active member and volunteer in her local Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) chapter, serving on the Board of Directors and as Chair of the Membership Committee.
Full contact information:
Becky Machamer, CFRE
Girl Scouts River Valleys
firstname.lastname@example.org | email@example.com
Finding the Connection
By Jordan Lehmann
Philanthropy is defined as the love of humankind. It is not something that is limited to a culture or people group, but instead is a genuine drive to help people. Love of humankind and the pursuit to make it better for everyone around the world is one of the highest callings. In almost every major religion around the world there is a form of the Golden Rule. This rule simply put is, ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you’. This philosophy summarizes philanthropy and is a universal belief, no matter your religion or ethnicity.
Therefore, when it comes to fundraising among diverse ethnicities I think that there is a universal connection. All cultures have an inclination towards helping those in need. But this does not mean that it is necessarily easy to raise funds from those cultures. Having been involved in starting a fundraising department from scratch in Thailand I know that there are many difficulties. One of the main things that I learned through this process was that I will never fully understand the culture and the nuances of the Thai people. Thus in order to be successful I needed Thai people doing the fundraising. I could teach them the tools and strategies of the trade, but they were the ones who had to meet the donors and engage.
In Canada we are blessed to have cultures from around the world. Each of these cultures is unique and beautiful in its own way. When it comes to fundraising it can be difficult when engaging with these different cultures. Ideally it would be great to have someone on staff representing each culture, but that is not a realistic goal. Therefore, fundraisers need to learn to bridge the gap and find the connection point. If every religion and culture has the philosophy to love others as themselves, I think this would be that connection point. From there it becomes about helping each person to understand how his or her views line up with philanthropy and then see if your cause is the right fit for his or her philanthropy.
That may seem like a very easy thing to do, but I assure you it is not. It takes a lot of research, conversations that may be very awkward and truly stepping outside of one’s comfort zones. With each culture there is a literal and metaphorical language that goes with it. The fundraiser’s role is to learn that language and figure out the connection points. If this can be done in a loving and caring way, I think that fundraising among any ethnic group can be successful.
Yes, we are different. Yes, there are a lot of scary things that we may not understand. But we are all people who love, cry and bleed the same. If we can begin to look past the outside and find the connection on that level, we can change the world!
Jordan Lehmann, MA, CFRE is the Director of Donor Relations for Operation Eyesight Universal. He has traveled to 57 countries on 6 continents, owned and operated 2 construction companies and started an international non-profit working with youth in Rwanda, Africa. Since entering the Non-profit realm, he has had the privilege of working as a fundraiser, consultant, founder, Executive Director and Director of Development for different organizations. This has helped him to gain a variety of experience and knowledge around how to build a fundraising program and a strong team. Currently Jordan is developing Operation Eyesight’s international fundraising program and building a team in Hyderabad India.
Everyday people have made extraordinary differences
By Dzenan B. Berberovic
Philanthropy is the love of humanity. Throughout our world’s history, there are dozens of stories about everyday people who did extraordinary things for others throughout. These people and their stories inspire us. These people’s acts show us that all people were born with the desire to make a difference in our world. They highlight the highest ideals of mankind.
Caring for others is mankind’s most basic instinct. It is what makes an impact on others. In 1943, world-renowned psychologist Abraham Maslow illustrated this as he discussed the Hierarchy of Needs in his paper, “The theory of human motivation.”
Maslow shared that once humans have achieved the most basic necessities for life, like nourishment and shelter, they are compelled to help others fulfill those same needs – likely in the way of giving.
Oseola McCarty, an African-American woman from Hattiesburg, MS did just that – and much more. Osealo McCarty proved that one person, dedicated to making a difference, can, indeed, impact the world. And they have – and they will.
Life was not always easy for Oseola. She was raised during a time filled with hate, uncertainty, and discrimination. However, Oseola found joy in working hard. Before she turned 10 years old, Oseola was forced to drop out of grade school to care for an ill family member.
She was never given the opportunity to finish school, let alone attend post-secondary institution. Coincidentally, Oseola’s hometown was Hattiesburg, MS, the home of the University of Southern Mississippi – a place she saw thrive and flourish; an institution that welcomed thousands of students each year and awarded thousands of degrees annually.
Oseola did not own a vehicle. She lived a simple life. Her house had a dirt floor. For decades she, with her two, weathered hands, personally laundered thousands of clothing articles for residents of this southern Mississippi town. Men and women alike paid Oseola in change.
Day by day, and customer by customer, nickels, dimes and pennies added up. And, in 1995, at the age of 86, Oseola did something incredible: she established a scholarship for minority women to attend the University of Southern Mississippi, something Oseola, herself, was never given the opportunity to do. In 1995, Oseola contacted a financial planner and asked for a six-figure donation to be made in her name. Her gift – of $150,000 – provides scholarship support for minority women.
Oseala passed away in 1999. Her dream is alive and well. It’s inspired dozens of women. Oseola’s legacy lives on and touches the lives of young women attending the University of Southern Mississippi. The McCarty Scholarship Endowment recruits, retains and ensures that minority women are given opportunities Oseola never had. Oseola proves that any person – committed to making the world better – will do so.
Oseola’s gift comes as no surprise. She was not our typical philanthropist. Oseala grew up in poverty. She was not on a gift officer’s radar. She was not a consistent donor. However, she made a remarkable difference. A 2012 study by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) found that that African Americans are more charitable than other races. “Black people are far more inclined to give back to the community compared with their white counterparts.”
What should surprise us must about Oseola is not her race, but the fact that someone who was barely making ends meet found a way to do something incredible; something transformation.
Oseola showed that every day people – no matter their circumstances – can make a difference for others and change a person’s life. Oseola did it. She continues to do it for minority women semester after semester, year after year at Southern Miss.
Dzenan Berberovic serves as Executive Director, Principal Giving at the University of South Dakota Foundation. In this development role, Dzenan collaborates with foundation staff, campus leadership, and key volunteers to develop and execute high-touch and focused strategies for optimal cultivation and solicitation of principal gifts (commitments of $1 million and more) from the University of South Dakota’s many constituencies. Dzenan effectively connects USD’s alumni and friends with the life and mission of the University of South Dakota during the institution’s historic $250 million campaign, Onward: The Campaign for South Dakota. Dzenan also works closely with the Foundation’s Board of Trustees.
Prior to his current appointment, Dzenan served the Foundation in several capacities, most recently as Director of Development. Dzenan’s previous work at the USD Foundation has involved leadership annual giving, major giving, and leadership giving. Dzenan has an undergraduate degree in public relations from the University of South Dakota and an M.A. in philanthropy and development from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota.
Dzenan knows the power of philanthropy for his life was changed because of the generosity of strangers. Dzenan was born in war-torn Bosnia amidst the start of a war. He and his mother escaped the war and lived in Germany. Their journey brought them to the United States. Dzenan’s life was positively impacted by strangers’ generosity. This changed his life and inspired his life’s work: philanthropy.
The road to embracing pluralism in the Canadian charitable sector
By Ibrahim Inayatali
An article by Dr. Rupert Graft Strachwitz highlights the emergence of international philanthropy as a major force in support of civil society by donors globally. He notes: “…society has gone global and many people’s lives and interests no longer stop at national borders… it is now natural that philanthropic giving has become a global proposition.”
Canada is one of the world’s most pluralistic societies, with residents originating from virtually every country. In 2014, 260,404 permanent residents arrived in Canada from 192 different countries (the UN comprises of 193 member states). A Canadian Broadcasting Corporation report from the 2013 census indicates that 6.8 million Canadian residents, or 20.6% of the population, were born outside of Canada, the highest among the G8 countries.
What does this convergence — i.e. growing international philanthropy and changing Canada’s demographics—mean for charities who seek to grow their pipeline and cast their net wider? It means that the “global village” is now their backyard, that organizations need to break down walls from traditional models and explore the more challenging, but potentially rewarding, source of prospects within pluralistic communities in Canada and globally. Some guidelines to consider are as follows:
- Adopting new strategies: Major gifts from overseas markets will not be achieved through “philanthropy tourism,” which are annual tours comprising of receptions in key cities and a few meetings with important individuals; these discussions never lead to action. Transformational gifts will result from a comprehensive program of engagement involving thoughtful, well-planned conversations with potential donors that lead to concrete action. This entails an investment in a nuanced program of engagement that maps into the institution’s own development program.
- Diversity and inclusion Major gifts from international and diverse audiences will occur when prospects see themselves as part of the “inner circle.” They want to feel that their opinions count, that they are included in major decisions about the institution’s future and direction. The impact of diversity and inclusion is far reaching, ultimately reflected not only by the make-up of the constituencies served, but also by hiring practices. This impacts board and senior management appointments, advancement staffing, and general staff hires.
- Cultural proficiency One of the keys to success in developing an international program or engagement with multi-ethnic communities is to understand and embrace diverse cultures. This requires:
- modifying the way Canadian institutions develop and sustain relationships;
- increasing respect for and understanding of cultural nuances; and
- reflecting this in the way the institution is presented to communities from diverse cultures.
- Market intelligence It is challenging to conduct major gift research in some cultures. With few exceptions, people keep knowledge of their wealth under the radar. Not only is it inappropriate to talk about or brag about money but, wealthy individuals avoid drawing attention to themselves and their families. In addition to wealth screening by specialist vendors and prospect research, the best way to understand wealth capacity as an indicator of philanthropic potential is ongoing engagement by key organization staff and/or intermediaries.
- Indigenous communities: Indigenous peoples of Canada are the fastest growing population segment in Canada, and their voices are growing louder in the political, economic, social and cultural spaces. Engaging these communities is not only important to support the philanthropic opportunities available in the communities, it is also essential to draw upon the history, spiritual inspiration and “circles of care” traditions to create a distinctive Canadian character.
– Ibrahim Inayatali is Vice President & Senior Consultant at Global Philanthropic Inc., a full-service international fundraising consulting firm. He is based in Toronto, Canada.
A Culture of Philanthropy
By Erik J. Daubert, MBA, ACFRE
As I have enjoyed working with Diversity and Philanthropy as a textbook and resource for understanding and navigating global philanthropy, I have been struck by the power of the “Culture of Philanthropy” aspects of fundraising and philanthropic work around the world. The influences on our world of so many people, cultures, creeds and more continue to challenge and empower us to concentrate on broadening our work and honing our focuses.
Today, I want to focus on a very important aspect of philanthropic culture – You.
As nonprofit professionals, we often underestimate the power of our own voices to lead and add perspective to important philanthropic conversations. As leaders, how we shape questions and challenges set before us in our work can greatly affect how these same questions are ultimately framed and answered.
I want to focus today on one important aspect of culture that can change the world in profound ways…the cultural focus and voice that each of us brings to our own work.
As a development professional, I am often engaged with inclusion conversations in leadership meetings at nonprofit organizations large and small. As we discuss future philanthropic efforts, the topic of diversity and philanthropy – whether millennials, people of color, international philanthropy, or a wide array of other possibilities – the topic is almost always raised in some form or fashion.
Too often, when it comes to hiring development professionals, we fall back to what we know or the same profile as the person who we hired before. Often times, this means hiring people who look or act like the people before them…and all too often, this is not a diverse candidate.
In my career I have had the opportunity to work with professionals in the hiring of development personnel. All too often, the courage to change and hire a person who is “different” from their existing profile of whom or what that person “should be” is greatly lacking.
Here are a few of the comments that I have heard in my career related to hiring extremely competent people – who did not look like the last person they were hiring in terms of their physical appearance.
“I think our donors would find her intimidating” – tall African American director candidate
“I am not sure that he would be able to connect with our older donors” – thirty something male in entry level development position
“Our donor base would not identify with her” – person of color in predominantly white organization
The above comments are often the types of things that are said in “culture speak” to defend not hiring someone who is “different” from the traditional development professional in these positions.
Be clear here. I am not saying that you should hire every person who comes along who looks different from you and your donor base. BUT, what I AM saying is do not let your organizational culture PREVENT you from hiring the next great development professional. Often times, the right person for the job is the person who does not look like the last person you had in the position – whether by resume or by physical appearance.
Have the courage to stand up and provide the voice to move your “Culture of Philanthropy” forward by considering hiring someone different the next time you hire a key position in your organization. Just think of the new, inspiring, paradigm changing influence they might have on you and your organizational philanthropy!
Hire the people who can move your organization forward – and learn to leverage positive differences to empower your philanthropy!
By Erik J. Daubert, MBA, ACFRE Chair, Growth in Giving Initiative/Fundraising Effectiveness Project. Erik also serves as Chair of the AFP Research Council and is faculty with multiple universities in both undergraduate and graduate programs in philanthropy and nonprofit management. As well, Erik is an Affiliated Scholar with the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy at the Urban Institute.
By Ann Moreau-Kensek
To realize diversity and philanthropy in an increasingly globalized world, nonprofit development professionals and volunteers have a responsibility to understand a wide variety of norms and values. By doing so, we honor our donors, enable social justice and philanthropy, and advance professional standards. To do otherwise is to abdicate the precious gift with which we’ve been entrusted– to bring together those who would give and those who need help through the passion engendered by philanthropy.
Diversity and inclusion in their many forms enrich us all, regardless of the cultural, ethnic, racial, religious, gender identification, sexual orientation, age, personality type and other ways in which we view and understand ourselves and each other. Through finding commonalities and honoring differences, we gain a deeper understanding of ourselves and each other as human beings. We are better able to find innovative solutions to problems because of a variety of perspectives brought to bear on those problems, and to enter into conversation that brings respect to all involved. We cannot sit in our own little area of the globe and declare ourselves professionals if we’re ignorant and unaware of the rest of the humanity with its varied needs, concerns and creativity.
In a world that is aching to come together even while breaking asunder, cultural competence is no longer an option, but a necessity, and philanthropy may be one of the best tools we have to hold us together through the roiling tempest in which we find ourselves. The Third Sector offers hope where otherwise it might not be found– and cultural competence enables that hope through action and social justice which surpass obstructionist laws and governmental policy.
Wagner and Hardy tell us in Diversity and Philanthropy,
According to a publication issued by the American Assembly, there are important functions that philanthropy and the nonprofit sector perform for society. The first is providing a vehicle for individual expression. The second is the creation of networks that build ‘social capital’, meaning the joining together of people with a common vision to accomplish purposes. The third is to improve democracy by reaching and empowering people who otherwise could not participate. The final function is the ability to alleviate human suffering and help realize human potential. (Wagner, 2016, p. 191)
Of vital importance to philanthropy are development professionals who understand their role and the professional standards required. Among those standards are ethics, good stewardship of donors and donations, and cultural competence. The respect which accompanies cultural competence is enabling and empowering and can create relationships between donors, NGOs and beneficiaries that last years and change lives.
How does one become culturally competent, especially in an area where there is not much cultural, racial or ethnic diversity?
Read these and other books and articles that explore not only different cultures and white privilege in the United States, but how to incorporate learning into the hard but valuable work of development across cultures.
- Diversity and Philanthropy, by Lilya Wagner, EdD, CRFE
- Embracing Cultural Competency: A Roadmap for Nonprofit Capacity Builders. By Patricia St. Onge, Beth Applegate, Vicki Askura and Monika K. Moss
- Kiss, Bow or Shake Hands by Terri Morrison
Become aware of your own biases as much as possible. Talk with other professionals to learn of their experiences. Take a class to learn some basic language and cultural aspects of a group you are interested in or might be working with. Open your mind to let go of stereotypes and have a general knowledge of cultures where your NGO operates.
As you develop relationships with your donors, remember each person is an individual, and they may not embrace the cultural norm for their group. Developing a high level of awareness, emotional intelligence, curiosity, respect and other relationship skills will enable cultural competency and help us better serve our donors, and in turn the causes they are passionate about giving to. Empowerment, peace of mind and hope- through cultural competency and the relationships it engenders in the Third Sector, just may make all the difference in the world—and the world is all we’ve got. Go. Read. Learn. Figure this out- and get out there and make a difference!
Wagner, L. (2016). Diversity and Philanthropy: Expanding the Circle of Giving. Denver, Co.: Praeger
Ann Moreau-Kensek is a graduate student in Philanthropy and Development at St. Mary’s University of Minnesota. Ann began working in fund-raising in 2009 as a grant-writer, and currently works in development and as the coordinator of the Executive Office at the Counseling Service of Addison County in Middlebury, Vermont.
Comments and Personal Perspectives on Diversity and Philanthropy Expanding the Circle of Giving
By Maria Elena Noriega
With a great deal of experience in philanthropy around the world, Lilya Wagner has a fantastic global view of philanthropy and diversity in fundraising. Her new book gives all professionals very detailed information about the diverse cultures in fundraising, and especially how we’re all working for a better world.
As an expert in fundraising, Lilya opens up a very valuable window to the professional practice, different points of view and information on how to work with cultural diversity and, as a result, expand your circle of donors.
As she says, it is essential to understand philanthropy as a global practice. Civil society organizations and political development have been supported by philanthropy, and this is a day by day work on behalf of humanity all over the world.
I believe that every professional fundraiser should know what happens in other parts of the world regarding the practice of philanthropy and how techniques and practices can be adapted to individual cultures in order to be successful.
I recommend Diversity and Philanthropy Expanding the Circle of Giving as an excellent book to be read by every professional fundraiser—and also by board members and volunteers—not just because it is a good book, but because it is real and talks about our times, not the past. Philanthropy has changed through the years, given the many political and economic problems we encounter, and in this book you will understand the new world from a global perspective.
Congratulations to the author for writing something that is needed in our world.
Maria Elena Noriega started working in 1975. In 1991 she opened her own Consulting Group, working for more than 350 organizations around the world. Specializing in Strategic Planning, Development Planning, Annual Fund, Capital Campaigns, Major Gift, Board Development, Feasibility Studies and others, she has given courses in many countries
She is Member of AFP since 1993 and A founders of AFP Mexico City Chapter. She was volunteer at AFP Publishing Advisory Committee and the Advanced Education Committee.
She has received special recognition and awards for her outstanding philanthropic work in the social sector at national and international levels.
Captamos – Teaching and exchanging experiences between Brazilian fundraisers
By Renata Brunetti and João Paulo Vergueiro
Brazil has around 300,000 charities, but only one in every four of them have a fundraising department, and not even a third says they are in fact fundraising right now. So, how are they surviving?
Fundraising in Brazil is an important challenge, and even bigger for many non-profits located away from economic centers such as the cities of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Consequently, little access to knowledge and good training programs in fundraising.
In an attempt to bring a solution to this matter, a free online platform was launched last September: Captamos (www.captamos.org.br).
By using Captamos, any organization, big or small, and even located far from central areas and with no resources to invest, will now have access to training at no cost. And Captamos is not only aimed at formal organizations: local communities and grass-root groups will benefit from it too.
In addition to offering fundraising courses, Captamos allows everyone to exchange experiences, find quick tips and news on the topic. Training and articles will be shared free of cost as the result of training material donations by Brazilian fundraising professionals.
We see Captamos as a movement to strengthen civil society, beginning with the capacity building in fundraising, and soon advancing to other key issues such as management, strategic planning and development of social organizations and businesses.
Brazilian non-profits organization have yet a lot to learn. Starting by learning the culture of asking, and moving to implementing strategic planning for fundraising. Captamos was build with the purpose, of supporting the growth of Brazilians fundraisers.
Right now, our main challenge is to expand Captamos and make it recognized by the Brazilian fundraisers as an important tool for their development and success. We’ve reached a thousand users in the first two months, but that’s still a small figure in a huge country such as Brazil.
We intend to measure our impact not only in number of users but in their participation as well, and for that objective we will motivate them to share experiences, hints, doubts, ask and answer questions they may have, contribute with others, and so on. We hope this is the beginning of a great movement.
Renata Brunetti – PhD in Social Psychology at Sao Paulo Catholic – University (PUC-SP), certified in Fundraising Management by The Fundraising School of the Indiana University Center on Philanthropy. She had been a consultant in Fundraising and Sustainable Development since 1996, as well as a teacher and lecturer on these subjects to various social organizations. She is part of Ashoka Support Network (ASN), on the board of GMK Institute, ABH Foundation and Captamos, and works as a volunteer in various organizations of civil society. Most recently she is a consultant in innovation to generate social and environmental impact, through Attuar, as well as an advisor on social and impact investment.
João Paulo Vergueiro – CEO of ABCR – the Brazilian Fundraisers Association and professor of Corporate Social Responsibility at FECAP.
Who is Your Madam C.J. Walker and How Will You Engage Her Today?
By Tyrone McKinley Freeman, Ph.D.
Fundraisers are well aware of the storied titans of American philanthropy from 100 years ago, such as John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie, whose institutional philanthropy still reverberates around the world today. Fundraisers are less likely to be aware of a particular contemporary of the titans who does not fit the historical mold we associate with giving, but whose generosity nonetheless rings true today and provides insights into the deep rootedness and practice of giving among African Americans—Madam C.J. Walker.
After the Civil War, Sarah Breedlove (1867-1919) was the first child born free into a family that had been enslaved in Delta, Louisiana. She was orphaned by age 8, a migrant and washerwoman by 10, a wife by 14, a widow and single mother by 21, and—on top of all of this—black and female in the deadly Jim Crow South. But in 1911, after enduring significant struggle with the assistance of black women from the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Sarah incorporated her own hair care and beauty products manufacturing company in Indianapolis, IN, which made her one of the wealthiest black women in the country and caused her to become known as the first “self-made” millionaire woman. She adopted the initials and surname of her third husband, Charles Joseph Walker, and forged an entrepreneurial and philanthropic identity as “Madam C.J. Walker.”
During her lifetime and through charitable provisions in her estate, Madam Walker directed tens of thousands of dollars to the N.A.A.C.P., YMCA, and other black social service and educational causes dear to her. Many of her monetary gifts were made in increments of $10 to $100, but also reached $1,000, $5,000 or more. She also spoke out against lynchings, and in support of better care for black soldiers in WWI and poor black migrants who had left the South for northern cities in search of safety and opportunity. Philanthropy was not only an outward act of benevolence for Madam Walker; it was an organizing principle for her business, as she mobilized her national army of sales agents into benevolent associations and engaged them in selling hair care products and giving to charities in their local communities. She also started a chain of beauty schools through which thousands of black women gained valuable skills and educational credentials that enabled them to become self-employed and financially independent during a time of sanctioned racial discrimination in education and labor markets. Racial uplift and independence for black women were Walker’s guiding philosophies and she used philanthropy to express them throughout her life, starting when she was a young impoverished widowed single mother with no resources, but still felt compelled to raise money and collect food for indigent neighbors. When she died in 1919 at the age of 51, Madam C.J. Walker had built a 32-room mansion in John D. Rockefeller’s New York neighborhood, and her name was world renowned.
Walker was different from the storied titans of American philanthropy not only because she was black and female, but also because rather than waiting to give in old age after spending one’s life accumulating wealth, she gave along the way as she was able and increased her giving and means of philanthropic engagement as her resources increased. Hers was a gospel that placed giving at the center, not wealth. Wealth was simply one of many resources she put into the higher service of improving the quality of black life during Jim Crow, but it wasn’t the driving impetus or focus. This seemingly subtle difference yields significant insights for the culturally competent fundraiser because Walker dispels myths that African Americans don’t give (or are new to giving), are only recipients of philanthropy, and don’t have money to donate. She reinforces the practice of giving as an integrated element of life among African Americans involving gifts that can be formal and informal, monetary and non-monetary, large and small, tangible and intangible, religious and secular, and simultaneously directed toward unknown others and family and friends.
Today in 2016, you can still buy Madam Walker’s beauty products, and you can still find her philanthropic spirit reverberating throughout the lives of African Americans everywhere. She was not an anomaly for her time or ours. She represents how black women—from the poorest to the wealthiest—have engaged their communities for generations, and have philanthropically sustained not only the black church, but black sororities, schools, social service agencies, women’s clubs, and other causes. But this is not only good news for today’s black-serving organizations because black women have loyally used their time, talents, money, and voices to support their predominantly white alma maters and other mainstream nonprofit providers of education, health, arts and culture, and social services in need of philanthropic support despite the fact that many of these organizations have neglected them or have not always tended to them with the same fervor and focus as they have with their bases of more “traditional” donors.
And so, who are your organization’s Madam C.J. Walkers and how will you engage them today? How will you reach out to learn what drives them and to demonstrate your impact on the issues they care about? What menu of engagement will you present to them so they can continue to share their range of philanthropic resources? They are out there in your database and community ready, and as generous as ever.
Tyrone McKinley Freeman, Ph.D.
Tyrone McKinley Freeman is Assistant Professor of Philanthropic Studies and the Director of Undergraduate Programs at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. His research focuses on African American philanthropy in historical and contemporary contexts, the history of philanthropy, and philanthropy and fundraising in higher education. He is currently writing a book about Madam C.J. Walker and African American philanthropy during the early Jim Crow era. His writings have appeared in the International Journal of Educational Advancement, Achieving Excellence in Fundraising, 3rd and 4th Editions, and Advancing Philanthropy. He is co-author of Race, Gender and Leadership in Nonprofit Organizations published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2011. He earned a B.A. in English/Liberal Arts from Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, a Master’s of Urban and Regional Planning from Ball State University, a M.S. in Adult Education from Indiana University, and a Ph.D. in Philanthropic Studies from Indiana University.
Trends in Diaspora Giving and Global Impact
One driving force behind the global increase in diaspora giving is the relative ease with which highly skilled workers and talented entrepreneurs now move about in the global community. Increasingly, nations have been willing to facilitate the immigration of extremely successful individuals in order to foster local progress. This has resulted in the steady growth of wealthy diaspora populations which leads to more cross-border gifts. A second motivating factor is the relative ubiquity of the Internet and email services. In past generations, the difficult nature of cross-border communication proved to be an obstacle for many middle and lower income migrants looking to maintain a strong connection to their original communities. Even if recent immigrants were able to maintain contact, the relationship would often end in subsequent generations as descendants became more assimilated. Technological progress has made international communication significantly easier, bolstering the ability of both international and domestic NGOs to cultivate relationships with diaspora communities spread across the globe. Building and sustaining these relationships, however, is contingent upon harnessing the power of remittances.Diaspora giving is not a novel idea or an emerging movement. Recent technological innovations however, have made it easier than ever for donors to support causes in their countries of origin. Historically, it has been common for immigrants and their descendants to maintain close ties to their native communities by sending money to family members or to their hometown or village. The new brand of diaspora philanthropy is currently evolving to broaden both the scope and volume of cross-border support.
Remittances, or transfers of money from diaspora members to individuals in their home countries, have grown steadily in recent years, and there is an expectation for this trend to continue. Once believed to comprise only small gifts made by first generation migrants, contributions made by expatriates now amount to more than triple the global aid provided by governments worldwide. As discussed above, this is likely the result of technological advancements that have made it easier to send and receive money across borders.
While more foreign gifts than ever may be entering the developing world, unfortunately they seem not to achieve their full potential impact, which is most often limited to the boundaries of specific households. Those who receive remittances tend to use the funds to meet individual needs, spending it on food, housing, or health care. This money can be life-altering for the households that it reaches, highlighting the importance of scaling up the impact of diaspora giving from the household to the country level. For the diaspora members looking to achieve a broader and more sustainable impact, foreign NGOs can play an important role in assisting in their efforts to reach local NGOs that have a proven track record of successful programs addressing social issues that affect these communities at a larger scale.
Increased awareness of the large role that diaspora communities can play in sustainable development programs has resulted in a surge in the number of organizations looking to engage with these communities. Recently, a number of nations have partnered with organizations based in the U.S. in order to promote a higher level of cooperation between INGOs and wealthier diaspora populations. The Aspen Institute Diaspora Investment Alliance recently announced a partnership with the Commission on Filipinos Overseas that will result in the roll-out of the Philippine Philanthropic Fund later this year. The primary goal of the fund is to attract tax-advantaged donations from members of the Filipino diaspora in the U.S. in an attempt to catalyze the efforts of NGOs in the Philippines. The ability to target and engage diaspora populations across the globe is integral to the implementation of high impact social projects, especially in developing countries. With similar initiatives soon to be launched in Colombia, Egypt, Kenya, and India, the future of diaspora giving is becoming clearer. Sustainable relationships between INGOs and diaspora communities, often formed with the help of intermediary organizations in countries where diasporas reside, allow INGOs to reap the full benefits of the trends that have led to a global increase in cross-border giving.
Members of diaspora communities view giving to their countries of origin as more than just a kind gesture. Rather, it is a way for expatriates to send the message to relatives and former countrymen that their idea of home includes both country of residence and community of birth. Technological innovations have provided diaspora members with the opportunity to send this message more loudly. With the help of organizations in their host countries, diaspora members can continue to exploit these innovations and enjoy a greater impact abroad. Engaging these populations will not only lead to longer relationships between diaspora members and their native communities, but also to the creation of bonds between diaspora NGOs and INGOs. These partnerships are essential if sustainable impact and development are to be enjoyed in emerging countries.
Ted Hart, ACFRE, CAP® CEO, CAF America
Ted Hart brings extensive experience in the fields of internet and global philanthropy. As an internationally recognized speaker and consultant on topics related to nonprofit strategy, Ted is an expert in board and volunteer development practices both online and offline. Before coming to CAF America, Ted served as CEO of Hart Philanthropic Services, an international consultancy providing strategic solutions to major nonprofits and NGOs. He coauthored People to People Fundraising: Social Networking and Web 2.0 for Charities and was critical in the creation of the online fundraising movement People to People Fundraising designed to give donors the chance to participate in the success of a charity beyond the online gift. Ted was also a leader at the International ePhilanthropy Foundation. Most recently, Ted obtained his Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy certification, aimed at increasing expertise in the impacts of planning for family wealth, charitable giving, and gift planning for nonprofits and is one of only 101 individuals who hold the Advanced Certified Fundraising Executive (ACFRE) designation globally.
As I travel across the country, and occasionally outside the boarders, facilitating the learning of the tools and techniques of fundraising among novice and veteran fundraisers, I’m noticing 2 things.
First, there are more and more young people, as in fresh-out-of-college young, who have chosen nonprofit work as their profession. Until very recently, most came into this field from other areas, education being the somewhat curvy path I’ve traveled, but many colleagues come from business, social services, law, healthcare, and many others. The phrase “we fell into it” was often used and accepted as commonplace. Today, that phrase is considered offensive to those who have chosen philanthropy as their field, and look at me with wide-eyed anticipation, certain the research-based, time tested content will equip them to save the world.
Second, the faces I see represent a far wider spectrum than was traditionally representative of fundraisers, and those in the development field previously dominated by white, middle aged to males; but for me, even more interesting than the predominance of women in the courses now is the a significant expansion in visible diversity of the men and women, novice and veteran, looking back at me on the first day of each course.
Diversity and Philanthropy, provides new content, perspective, to share with these eager faces looking back at me each Day One, and allows me to facilitate conversations, exercises, and debates that will only enrich the experiences and cultural proficiency of all involved. Because not only does the professional fundraiser need to become more aware of managing the process of fundraising for potential donors of diverse ethnicities and backgrounds, but we need to be acutely aware that our professional colleagues are also becoming more diverse in age, gender, experience, and ethnic and cultural background. For those who are seeing this quite clearly, Diversity and Philanthropy is a great source to help prepare for these donor relationships as well as those with colleagues and coworkers. For those who haven’t noticed, either because it hasn’t happened in your department or organization yet, or you have a natural “blindness” when it comes to these types of differences, this is invaluable in helping recognize and emphasize shared values and better equip you for authentic, inclusive, cross cultural relationship development.
Catherine Bastin is Associate Director of Education at The Fund Raising School (TFRS), Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, serving as full time faculty facilitating courses across the country and internationally. Cathy is the former Executive Director of a small nonprofit, taking it from start up to self-sustaining by diversifying funding streams, building partnerships, and serving identified needs. Cathy also has career experience in college admissions, grant proposal writing and grant management, program management, writing, and classroom instruction ranging from elementary school through college.
Cathy has a Masters in Education from Indiana University and a Bachelors in Elementary Education from Hanover College. She also completed the Graduate Certificate in Philanthropic Studies from Indiana University in 2015. She is a former classroom teacher, and has done additional coursework and instruction throughout her career. She also has significant volunteer and board experience ranging from local community groups to higher education committees to state and national planning teams.
Moving towards an inclusive world
Talking of “diversity” is like talking of “philanthropy” – we think we know what we mean by it yet, the reality is that we use both terms very loosely. Perhaps that is not a bad thing. Tying down, categorizing and defining the human condition can be stultifying – and the core strength of our world is passion, creativity and accessibility.
Today, when we use the term “world”, we don’t limit ourselves. We can access resources, learn from experience and examples of projects and people around the globe. A click of a button exposes us to different cultural interpretations of familiar concepts that would have been closed to us, even as recently as 10 years ago.
A few of us, like Dr. Wagner, have been exceptions to that rule. We have operated across national and continental borders, lived and worked in different cultures, shared objectives with friends and partners from different backgrounds, faiths and beliefs. That enrichment has allowed us to act as conduits, bringing ideas and experience from one culture to another, either in person or through writing or teaching. The principle of taking that embodies is one that applies at the micro-level, on a daily basis, as well.
Many of us are trained to achieve consensus – achieve the “common ground” as a starting place for understanding and working with one another. Consensus is seen as a core value of our world. Perhaps the time has come, in our rapidly changing environment, to challenge that. Because true inclusivity cannot be about achieving the common denominator – it has to be about celebrating different experience and culture, learning from it and incorporating it in the fabric of our lives.
This is not easy. It requires a level of cultural competence that is hard to achieve; perhaps the most important choice is that we choose to strive for it – the commitment to journey on that road. Knowledge is critical- and we have access to it. Understanding what that means can only occur when we openly embrace the experience of others and commit to applying the lessons we learn.
It requires us to understand that diversity of thought and experience are as critical to true diversity as our more traditional interpretations of the term. If an inclusive society is seen as the endgame we have to acknowledge that we are committing to a forward-thinking mindset, an open outlook and a willingness to take risks along the way.
We make ourselves vulnerable as we open up. Working in unfamiliar territory can feel like crossing an uncharted minefield. But the risks of failing to tread that path are considerable. Traditional boundaries of nationality, of ethnicity, of creed and culture are becoming increasingly porous. Far fewer of us live in a mono-cultural environment. We are learning new skills and at times, barely recognize that we are doing so.
So this is not something to fear; rather, we should celebrate that we are moving forward.
The social sector has been Andrew’s core focus all his life. He’s served the fundraising community for 25 years. During that time, he’s represented our communities in Brussels, Westminster, on the Hill in Washington and Ottawa, as well as around the globe.
Above all else, he’s been a connector and thought leader for fundraising communities worldwide.
Andrew is a collaborative driver of change; in culture, in understanding, in regulation and assessment of impact. He’s worked to develop a greater understanding of what drives our sector and what it takes to achieve impact in an increasingly volatile and rapidly changing environment.
Most recently, Andrew served as president & CEO of AFP from 2011-2016. Perhaps the thing he is proudest of has been helping to reconnect fundraisers and members with the heart of AFP- ensuring their voices are heard – and valued; putting the qualities of honesty, openness and integrity at the forefront of AFP’s relationships with the world.
Today, Andrew is reconnecting with the values that brought him into the social sector; advocating for a fair, just society in which equal opportunity and choice for all are seen as critical elements of our world.
Andrew serves as a member of the IRS Advisory Committee on Tax Exempt and Government Entities (ACT); a Board member of National Philanthropic Trust – UK; continues as a member of the Public Policy Committee of the Independent Sector and is Chair of the American Friends of Winchester College.
He is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh and is married, with two adult daughters.
When a new book by Lilya Wagner comes on the market, it is cause for celebration. Writing is not easy work, and she does it skillfully. Her extensive experience in research and teaching about philanthropy and fundraising throughout the world, her personal story of entering the United States as a refugee, and her clear and personal writing style make Diversity and Philanthropy a must-read book for those interested in developing a deeper understanding of cross-cultural philanthropy.
The book is a much-needed addition to the literature on philanthropy. It is a compendium of information on unique cultural characteristics of altruism in a variety of regions of the world, supplemented by comments from individuals from those cultures who have experience in philanthropy. It includes information on international NGOs and their importance in promoting civil society throughout the world, and perspectives on transnational giving and its value in improving the lives of millions of people worldwide.
Of critical importance to nonprofit leaders, volunteers and fundraising professionals is the practical advice the book provides on how to apply cultural competence in our work. Dr. Wagner reviews universal principals of fundraising and discusses the importance of being sensitive to the philanthropic traditions and inclinations of prospective supporters who may come from diverse backgrounds and cultures.
One of the most important points made in Diversity and Philanthropy is that respect and acceptance of differences can enrich our experience – as individuals and in our organizations. If we are genuine in our efforts to understand people from different cultures, we are more likely to be able to enlist their support for nonprofit causes. Inclusiveness provides a variety of interests, skill sets and financial resources to our organizations and ultimately helps to sustain them in an increasingly interconnected world.
Cathlene Williams is a published writer/researcher and educator with more than 30 years’ experience in the nonprofit world. She is the former vice president for education and research for the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), where she served on the senior management team and was responsible for staffing many Professional Advancement Division committees. She is currently principal of a consulting practice and continues to staff AFP’s Research Council and Advanced Certified Fundraising Executive (ACFRE) Board. She has helped to develop a course on fundraising in cooperation with AFP and the University of Monterey in Mexico and was co-author of AFP’s recently published Diversity and Inclusion Research Report.