A Philanthropic Black History Month

Feb 3, 2023Fundraising, Leadership, Nonprofits, Philanthropy

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How do you give three cheers for a philanthropic Black History Month?

Well, let’s start with history . . .

From junior high through high school, I struggled to get interested — much less see the usefulness — in discussions and lessons from my history classes. For one, the classes were flat boring. In my mind, there was no value in learning dates, who led what war, and who signed what document. 


History and the Lessons Learned

Then it clicked. 

One of my history instructors in college undoubtedly made history come alive for me. 

He told stories. 

And I was hooked. 

No doubt, history is storytelling. And the lessons learned . . .  are about recognizing trailblazers, understanding what it means to pass bills, acts, and laws, and building on the progress we had made. 

For me, many fought so I could vote. 

Stories from history continue to open my eyes. 

Cheers for a Philanthropic Black History Month

This month, we celebrate Black History Month. And we do it for several reasons. 

First and foremost, to recognize Black Americans who have tremendously contributed to our society. 

Secondly, to understand we must continue the fight against racial injustices that still plague our country.

After all we are chartable people. 

And charitable people are considerate, giving, generous, and helpful.

In honor of Black History Month, there are several things you can do to celebrate past contributions and ways Black Americans continue to shape our country.


#1 Give to a Nonprofit in Honor of Black History Month

There are incredible programs and initiatives nonprofits are actively implementing today to move us forward to make inclusion, civil rights, and racial equality common  . . .  clearly not undesirable front-page stories.

Your giving options are as vast and varied as you can imagine. In fact, here are some ideas to get you thinking . . .  consider providing support to:

  • A Historically black college or university
  • A Civil Rights Museum/Institute in your community or region
  • African-American women preparing for careers in technology.

Most importantly, Find a nonprofit with a mission that resonates with you.


#2 Tell Your Story 

Needless to say, I bet you have a story to tell in which you were wrong in your thinking – like I was about history. Tie your wrong way of thinking to today’s racial injustices.

Without question, I now know that history is about learning from our past, so we don’t continue to make the same mistakes. 

Above all we must recognize injustices and call each other out when we do not think in a charitable and helpful way.


#3 Support Businesses Recognizing Black History Month

Above all, give a shout out when you read messages from companies working to eliminate inequities in the workplace, for example.

We all want to do our part to make our environments more thoughtful of others.


In Summary

In summary, be charitable – consider ways to be considerate, helpful, and generous as we celebrate Black History.

Furthermore, we must first recognize the continued struggle for equality and inclusion and then commit to do our part to eliminate it.

Will you be a part of a philanthropic Black History Month?


Other Resources:

Nonprofit Leaders to Live MLK’s Dream

Racial Injustice: 4 Immediate Ways for Nonprofits to Take Meaningful Action

How to Incorporate Storytelling in Fundraising

Nancy Rieves, Ed.D. is a fundraising coach. She provides executive and development directors with a roadmap to maximize and sustain major gift fundraising. She prepares leaders to be confident and successful in raising money. Reach her at nancy@nancyrieves.com.


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