Black Philanthropy is not dead, but very much alive…
There’s evidence of over 200 years of Black philanthropy in the US; however, you would be hard pressed to find anything similar documented in the UK. Given that one in six people in the UK non-White, it is a little alarming that there’s so little evidence on the level of philanthropic participation by Black people.
The US The US has a rich history of Black philanthropy, stemming right back to post-slavery days, which largely began with the act of tithing.
Today, the tradition of giving is continued by many successful African Americans, with celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Alicia Keys and Chris Rock giving back. There are also online portals which promote philanthropy, such as www.blackgivesback.com, www.blackbenefactors.org, and it doesn’t stop there; they also dedicate the whole of August to raising money calling it Black Philanthropy Month (BPM).
America’s Black mega churches also play a key part in keeping Black philanthropy alive, focusing on social outreach programmes, economic development and philanthropic action. Many are building homes, credit unions, community centres, as well as establishing schools, health wellness programmes and numerous other community services. Some of the more prosperous Black churches have ties with grant-making foundations, or even have their own foundations and endowments.
People like the renowned preacher and best-selling author, Bishop TD Jakes is a well-known philanthropist, both within and outside of church circles. In fact, it would be rare to find a successful Black person in the US who doesn’t have ‘philanthropist’ as one of their better known titles!
So what happened in the UK? Rest assured, Black philanthropy in the UK is not dead. In October 2008, The Guardian wrote about the 100 powerful Black Britons who are changing the world. Apparently, through their philanthropic activities, these Black Britons had transformed lives, governments and even continents. These influential Black people included: Mo Ibrahim, founder and chairman, Mo Ibrahim Foundation; John Sentamu, Archbishop of York; David Adjaye OBE, architect, and Baroness Scotland, Attorney General, to name a few. Outside of the UK, you have Nigeria’s Folurunsho Alakija, a born-again Christian and Executive Director of Famfa Oil, the gas and oil exploration and production company, and CEO of the Rose of Sharon Foundation (supporting widows in their distress), who reportedly earns more than Oprah Winfrey and is the highest earning Black female in the world!
A Black philanthropist making a difference in the UK… Kriss Akabusi – “He that is rich in this world… must also be rich in good works” 1Timothy 6:18
Kriss Akabusi MBE (above), retired sprinter and hurdler, a Christian and philanthropist, regularly gives back. He is now a motivational speaker and has his own charity, The Akabusi Charitable Trust (TACT), which supports people who are psychologically, economically or socially impoverished. Initially focusing on projects based in Nigeria, TACT recently launched its first UK-based project. Despite Akabusi driving top-of-the-range cars, and living in a big country house in the middle of 70 acres of woodland, he regularly gives via his Charity, making a difference both here and abroad. Visit www.akabusi.com for information on his charity and philanthropic works.
I am sure you would agree during this Black History Month, that putting Black philanthropy on the map in the UK is well overdue. I, for one, believe that Black philanthropy is very much alive today; however, that said, there is still a lot more to do before we can truly say that Black philanthropy in the UK is a force to be reckoned with. Let’s continue to make our giving count!
Funding Focus For Your Ministry
Porticus UK awards grants of between £10,000 and £25,000 for registered charities that strengthen family relationships or enrich education. Whilst they are faith-based, Porticus welcomes applications from non faith-based organisations. There are no deadlines for funding. For more details, visit www.porticusuk.com
Dates For Your Diaries
Funding Christian Charities and Churches Conference
Date: 16th October 2013
Time: 10am – 4pm
Venue: Salvation Army, Regent Hall, Oxford Street, London W1
Cost: £98.00 (includes VAT and lunch)
Action Planning are hosting their annual one-day conference for charities and churches. Confirmed speakers include philanthropist Ken Costa and Peter Kerridge from Premier Christian Media Trust. It is designed to provide practical fundraising tips, along with marketing ideas and strategies for your charity or church.
For further details, visit www.actionplanning.co.uk/christian2013/ or phone 0208 642 4122 or email:
LARA RUFUS BA, MSc is CEO of Crowne Consultancy