The characteristics, impact, and legacy of African-American charitable giving is an untold narrative in the story of American philanthropy. Black communities have significant giving power. Two-thirds of Black households give $11 billion charitable dollars. Despite Black households just having six percent of the wealth of white households, they give 25 percent more than their white counterparts. Traditional philanthropy does not account for the many informal giving pathways in which African-American communities participate, and tend to overlook people of color in traditional giving spaces.
The Soul of Philanthropy Cleveland (TSOPCLE) is a collaboration of civic and community leaders, volunteer activists and philanthropists in Greater Cleveland. They united to create a vehicle that will educate and inform audiences about the rich history of African-American charitable giving. Inspired by TSOP, the TSOPCLE Exhibition tells the stories of philanthropy and empower communities of color.
TSOPCLE Exhibition, Celebrate Those Who Give Black, is a collection of historic and contemporary stories and images about Black philanthropy in our region. It was created through community nominations that recognized multiple emerging philanthropists, young philanthropists, and hidden philanthropists. Through the many faces and stories of community generosity, we celebrate those who give Black.
The exhibit, presented by The Soul of Philanthropy Cleveland, a collaboration of African American nonprofit, business, civic leaders and allies across Northeast Ohio showcases the impact of African-American philanthropy through meaningful visual arts while promoting all levels of community and spotlighting the valuable good works of the social sector.
The Celebrate Those Who Give Black exhibit opened at the Cleveland History Center September 6, 2019 and remained on display through early 2020. This inaugural Cleveland exhibition is designed to tell the story of Black philanthropy in Cleveland by honoring the past, celebrating the present and inspiring the future. The physical exhibit will travel to other locations throughout the region. Continue reading to explore the exhibit content at home.
Celebrate Those Who Give Black was created to honor individuals and organizations throughout the Greater Cleveland region who demonstrate the power and soul of Black philanthropy in all its dimensions. Celebrate Those Who Give Black honors legacy philanthropists, institutions, young people, advocates, and community-based leaders.
From January 21 – February 28, 2019, TSOPCLE solicited nominations for youth, young, emerging and hidden philanthropists from the community. The exhibition committee then carefully narrowed the list to the final honorees who were revealed at the exhibition opening gala, September 6, 2019.
100 Years of Black Philanthropy: A Brief History
Regennia N. Williams, PhD
Distinguished Scholar of African American History and Culture
Western Reserve Historical Society
This category recognizes the unsung hero in our community. Their individual contribution of time, talent and treasure is the engine behind the grassroots organizations, churches or communities.
Outstanding Youth Philanthropist – This category recognizes service by an outstanding individual (18 or younger), youth group or youth-generated project that has demonstrated extraordinary commitment to the community through direct financial support, development of charitable programs, volunteering and/or leadership.
Outstanding Young Adult Philanthropist – This category recognizes service by an outstanding individual (19-40 years old), youth group our youth-generated project that has demonstrated extraordinary commitment to the community through direct financial support, development of charitable programs, volunteering, and/or leadership.
Emerging Philanthropist (Individual or Family) – This category recognizes an outstanding individual or family with a proven record of exceptional generosity (time, talent and/or treasure) and volunteer leadership to one or more Cleveland area organizations, issues or communities. The emerging philanthropist has: 1) demonstrated extraordinary civic and charitable responsibility, and 2) whose generosity inspires others to philanthropic action for a period of five years or more. This category honors the achievements of a living person; if a family is proposed, there should be at least one living member.
This category recognizes the cumulative philanthropic efforts of an individual or family during a period of at least 20 years of exceptional generosity who, through direct financial support or contribution (volunteer participation or leadership involvement) demonstrates outstanding civic and charitable responsibility and whose generosity encourages others to take philanthropic leadership roles in the community. Candidates will specifically demonstrate significant, long-term involvement with one or more Cleveland area organizations.
The African American Archives of the Western Reserve Historical Society was established in 1970. Its purpose is to collect, preserve and make accessible historic documents, photographs, memorabilia, art, and artifacts pertaining to African American life, history and culture in Northeast Ohio. The collection includes manuscripts, photographs, microfilm, and newspaper collections. Museum artifacts are specific to the African American experience and cover a wide range of topics and categories of primary importance to the body of Black history.
The African American Archives Auxiliary (AAAA, or Quad A) provides support and guidance for the development of the African American Archives collections at WRHS.
WRHS is working harder than ever to fulfill our mission: inspiring people to discover the American experience by exploring the tangible history of Northeast Ohio. Your financial support will help sustain WRHS now, and for the foreseeable future. Please consider making a difference today with a contribution to the WRHS Annual Fund. A gift at any level is welcome and meaningful!