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PMA Community Leader Spotlight: Valaida Fullwood

African-American philanthropy has been the subject of recent Charlotte-area nonprofit programming. Over the next month, PMA features blog content highlighting individuals influential in driving black philanthropy forward, both locally and nationally. Below is the next post in the series.

Valaida Fullwood has a passion for African-American philanthropy. She cites historical figures Absalom Jones and Richard Allen, co-founders of the Free African Society in 1787, as role models and admires the people and organizations of the past that have elevated the quality of life of African Americans.

valaidaSince its founding in 2006, the Charlotte chapter of the New Generation of African American Philanthropists aims to contribute to local causes that are often overlooked by mainstream donors. The organization’s now over two-dozen members pool resources to spread awareness of black philanthropy and to inspire others to get involved in humanitarian efforts in the black community.

“Being a member of New Generation of African American Philanthropists since 2006 has been a fantastic experience,” says Fullwood. “Collectively, our giving circle members have grown and evolved as friends, caring people, civic leaders and generous souls.”

Some of the projects NGAAP-Charlotte have helped fund include The Males Place, a Mecklenburg County organization that offers life skills to males between the ages of 12 and 18, and First Purse, a nonprofit that empowers girls ages 8 to 12 to be financially literate and aware of investing in their communities.

Fullwood cites significant progress in the organization’s eight years of development. “Through grants, community service, civic engagement and leadership, NGAAP-Charlotte has invested close to $200,000 to nonprofits and the broader community,” she says.

Beyond that, Fullwood has spread awareness about black philanthropy through her book she co-wrote with the late Charles W. Thomas, Jr. entitled Giving Back: A Tribute to Generations of African American Philanthropists. It was named one of the “10 Best Black Books” of 2011 and won the 2012 McAdam Book Award as “the best new book for the nonprofit sector”.

Since the book’s release, Fullwood has toured the country promoting the idea that anyone can be a philanthropist and small efforts can prompt big change. She reflects this idea in NGAAP-Charlotte’s efforts. “What we’re doing in Charlotte is part of a broader national movement,” she affirms.

In 2013, women of African descent from over 29 countries met in Minneapolis for the Pan-African Women’s Action Summit. This event only reinforced the importance of black philanthropy for Fullwood.

“Today’s economic situation makes the message even more relevant,” she insists. “I love that our stories are a template for other groups and givers to the community.”

Join NGAAP-Charlotte’s Circle of Friends by giving any amount to support mission and community-based grant making, forums and initiatives. Contributions of at least $365 enable donors to become formal donor-members of the organization.