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Through inquiry, interviews and images, the newly released book Giving Back: A Tribute to Generations of African American Philanthropists explores the question: How do you define philanthropy?

As author of Giving Back, I, along with photographer Charles W. Thomas, engaged over 200 Black donors and posed questions about giving and generosity within African American communities. Juxtaposing photographs and narratives, Giving Back illuminates transcendent truths and elicits new thinking about philanthropy.

Even after working nearly five years to create Giving Back, I remain interested in hearing more about how African Americans define and engage in "philanthropy." So...what's your story?

You can learn more about the book Giving Back and African American generosity at valaida.com.


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Valaida thank for sharing information about your new book here.

I define philanthropy as any form of unforced donation of your wealth or time to a cause, business, organization or person you choose to support.

I think the term "giving back" is a little loose in that it rarely means giving back to someone (or entity) that gave to you.

I think we all need to think of philanthropy in more broad terms. For example everyone who believes your book is important should share the information you have provided here and consider purchasing the book if it is something they are interested in doing. Purchasing directly from the publisher while perhaps a little more cumbersome would support your efforts even more. Or of people wanted to purchase via Amazon they could use this link: http://bit.ly/bookgivingback and they would be supporting AALBC.com

Non-monetary should not be diminished relative to financial support. We should engage in both and challenge ourselves to think of way to support to entities we believe in and want to see thrive.

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Thanks for your comments. You're right, the term "giving back" is usually applied widely, in reference to a specific neighborhood or community of people or society at large. Most of the stories I collected for the book convey a sense of responsibility and mutuality that's prevalent among African American givers.

A definite takeaway message from Giving Back is that, whether you give your wealth, wisdom and/or work to dear causes, your intent and commitment are key to bringing about positive, meaningful change.

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