Celebrity Philanthropy: Giving in the Spotlight

According to report derived by W.K. Kellogg Foundation, African Americans give away twenty-five percent of their income per year. This destroys the myth that African Americans do not give back to their communities. With this recent discovery we decided to place a spotlight on those who have been an agent for change in their immediate communities and the world around them.

Keep in mind; you don’t need to be a multi-millionaire to give back. It is not only money to donate but time as well. Donate time to a homeless center or a grassroots community organization. But if you do want to give money to an organization, do your research first.

Eddie C. Brown
Founder, Brown Capital Management

As the founder of Baltimore-based Brown Capital Management, Brown heads up one of the country’s oldest African American-owned investment-management firms. In 1994 Brown and his wife established the Eddie C. and C. Sylvia Brown Family Foundation at the Baltimore Community Foundation. In 2002, the couple donated $5 million to the Baltimore Public School system, starting the Turning the Corner Achievement Program, an initiative preparing African American middle school students in Baltimore for high school and beyond.

Bill & Camille Cosby
Actor, Philanthropist

Bill and Camille Cosby have a long history of philanthropy and a b commitment to education. In 1988, the Cosby’s donated $20 million to Spelman College, the largest gift ever given to a Black institution. The couple also donated $1.3 million to Fisk University. In 1997, they established the Hello Friend/Ennis William Cosby Foundation to fulfill their late son’s dream of helping those with learning difficulties.

Alphonse “Buddy” Fletcher, Jr.
Chairman/CEO, Fletcher Asset Management

Alphonse “Buddy” Fletcher, Jr. is the chairman and chief executive officer of Fletcher Asset Management in downtown Manhattan. On the 50th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education ruling in 2004, Fletcher and his partners launched a $50 million initiative supporting people working toward the ruling’s goal of creating opportunities for all.

Deloris Jordan
Founder, James R. Jordan Foundation International

With her work with the Boys and Girls Clubs, Deloris Jordan, mother of basketball great Michael Jordan, wanted to make sure all children had a fair chance at educational success. So she established the James R. Jordan Foundation, named after her deceased husband, encouraging parents to be active participants in their kids’ education. Most recently, Jordan established the James R. Jordan Foundation International and founded the Kenya Women’s and Children’s Wellness Centre as its inaugural project.

Kevin Liles
Founder, Make It Happen Foundation

Former leader of Island Def Jam Music Group and Warner Music Group, Liles leveraged his music industry prowess to enter into philanthropy. He founded the Make It Happen Foundation, which provides life-changing opportunities for under-serviced youth, and the Kevin Liles for a Better Baltimore Foundation, exposing Baltimore youth to social, educational, economic, cultural and civic opportunities. In 2002, Liles donated $150,000 to help complete the construction of the Woodlawn, Maryland High School athletic stadium, the high school he graduated from in 1986.

Alicia Keys

Keys co-founded Keep a Child Alive with AIDS activist and film-television producer Leigh Blake in 2003. The organization is committed to providing life-saving AIDS medicine and care to children and families in India and Africa. Additionally, the organization lends support to AIDS orphans. The organization raises money annually through the Black Ball, and in 2010, Keys’ Digital Death campaign raised over $1 million for Keep a Child Alive through Twitter and Facebook donations, according to MTV.com.

Richard Parsons
Board Member, Rockefeller Foundation

As the former chairman of Citigroup and Time Warner, Parsons donated $1.4 million to establish the Parsons’ Scholarship Fund at Howard University. Today, he sits on the board of the Rockefeller Foundation, which was founded in 1913 to help find solutions to the world’s biggest problems.

Gail Snowden
CEO, Freedom House

Snowden is currently the CEO of Boston-based Freedom House. Founded by her parents, Otto and Muriel Snowden in 1949, the organization funds programs across the country involved in civil nones, education and public policy. With its community partners, the organization funds several community, educational and technology-based programs preparing inner-city students for success in high school and beyond.

Oprah Winfrey
Media Mogul

Famed television mogul, Winfrey has donated more than $300 million by some estimates, collectively through the Oprah Winfrey Foundation, Oprah’s Angel Network and the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Foundation. Forty million dollars alone went toward the creation of Winfrey’s leadership academy for girls in South Africa. One hundred percent of proceeds from Winfrey’s Angel network funds charitable projects and grants globally.