America has been a melting pot of people, cultures, and ideas since its inception, and with each passing year, our nation only grows more diverse. It is likely that, by 2050, over half of all Americans will be of non-white ethnic descent. As our country’s demographics shift, people of color are having an increasingly greater impact on the philanthropy sector.
In the United States, philanthropic organizations receive the vast majority of their financial support from individual contributions. Although white males have historically provided the bulk of these donations, people of color represent a growing percentage of America’s philanthropists.
Philanthropic engagement among people of color has helped to establish a number of cultural institutions, such as the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History, and has helped to uplift underserved communities not only in the United States, but around the world.
In honor of Black Philanthropy Month in August 2017, Inside Philanthropy highlighted 20 of the most impactful black and Hispanic philanthropists. In doing so, the publication highlighted stories not only of success, wealth, and generosity, but also of struggle, triumph, and dedication to community. Charles Phillips appears on the list, along with 19 other individuals, including Beyoncé, Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, Oprah Winfrey, Gloria Estefan, and Lebron James.
Mr. Phillips is well known as the former president of Oracle Corporation and as the current CEO of Infor, a leading provider of cloud software and business applications. He has channeled this success to establish Phillips Charitable Foundation with his wife, Karen. Together, they guide the nonprofit’s delivery of financial assistance to single parents, aspiring engineering students, and wounded veterans.
The foundation has awarded grants to bolster the engineering programs at the East Harlem Tutorial Program, the educational initiatives of the Micro Learning Foundation, Harlem Village Academies, and the United Negro College Fund. Additionally, it supports uniformed service member advocacy organizations such as the Wounded Warrior Project and the United States Air Force Academy Diversity Visitation Program. Uniquely, many of the foundation’s grants are awarded to individuals. These smaller grants have provided several families with emergency financial assistance in times of crisis and urgent need.
Here’s a deeper look at a handful of the other philanthropists on the Inside Philanthropy list:
Author and journalist Isabel Allende lived the first portion of her life in Peru. Born to Chilean parents with influential political affiliations, Allende fled to Venezuela to avoid sociopolitical turmoil before gaining American citizenship in the 1990s.
Isabel Allende released her debut novel, The House of the Spirits, in 1982. In addition to this international bestseller, she is also the author of widely read titles including City of the Beasts, Of Love and Shadows, and The Infinite Plan. She has received a number of literary honors, including the 1996 Hispanic Heritage Award in Literature and the Chilean National Prize for Literature in 2010.
Throughout her career, Ms. Allende has supported philanthropic initiatives through the Isabel Allende Foundation, which primarily serves women and children in Chile and California. The organization has awarded grants to groups including the Center for Reproductive Rights and the Latina immigrant advocacy group Mujeres Unidas y Activas, primarily supporting the causes of reproductive health, education, and violence prevention.
Eddie C. Brown
Investment manager and executive Eddie C. Brown has achieved considerable success as the head of Brown Capital Management. After growing up in a low-income community in Florida, Mr. Brown sought opportunity through education at Howard University, Indiana University, and New York University, later gaining initial experience in asset management before founding his own firm in 1983.
In 1994, Eddie and his wife, Sylvia, created the Brown Family Foundation as a subsidiary of the Baltimore Community Foundation, dedicating the organization to the causes of healthcare, the arts, and public education. The foundation spearheaded the creation of the Turning the Corner achievement program for Baltimore middle school students. It also facilitated the establishment of the Brown Center at the Maryland Institute College of Art, as well as the Brown Capital Management Faculty Institute of Entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has also benefited from the couple’s generosity.
Liya Kebede has embedded philanthropy and civic service within the core of her entrepreneurial ventures. Born in Ethiopia, Ms. Kebede first achieved success as a model before founding Lemlem, a handmade clothing company designed to spur economic independence for Ethiopians. In addition, she is the founder of the Liya Kebede Foundation, which champions initiatives to improve maternal health in Africa, and guides the philanthropic activities of the Kebede Family Foundation. As a World Health Organization Goodwill Ambassador for Maternal & Child Health, Ms. Kebede is a prime example of an individual who has used her success to promote development in her home country.