by Ebonie Johnson Cooper
Man! When I had the idea to host a philanthropy-focused event for young professionals of color in New York, I really wasn’t sure what to expect. I had coffee with fellow young black philanthropist, Jenna Bond- Louden who has been on the New York young influencers scene for a while. After what seemed like an entire afternoon conversation, it was clear our influence as young, creative, fashionable, tech-savvy, socially responsible millennials needed to be explored further. The rest…well, the rest led us to a memorable evening last Thursday evening.
As the planner and the host, I must be honest, it took me a few days to really digest all that had happened. But now that it has…hott diggity dogg! We hosted more than 80 socially responsible young professionals from a variety of industries. We had in-kind sponsor support from CIROC vodka, UPTOWN Magazine, AND COVERGIRL Queen Collection. We also collected coats and warm outerwear for the New York Cares Coat Drive! Our panel included folks with power and influence- power like having POTUS on speed dial! YES, ya’ll!
For one moment, I’m actually not ashamed to say I’m proud of myself. But more than that I am proud of my peers in New York! They showed up and showed out. They told their friends, who told their friends, who showed up last Thursday night ready to learn about giving. Do you know how motivating that is?!
There were 3 Lessons from Defining Young Black Philanthropy, I’m sure all in attendance can agree:
Panelist Mike Muse, dropped this tid bit of knowledge. Social currency gives us the leverage to get things done that we, as individuals, may not be able to do. In philanthropy, this is key.
Between Jovi’s final words, “figure out where you are uniquely positioned to give”, and Nubia’s urge to make sure we give in a ‘strategic and meaningful way’, it was clear in order to define philanthropy, you have to be true to yourself.
Mike said this and meant it. From getting your kids into college to access to the President, giving- financial giving- makes all of the difference. You don’t think people have their names on buildings for free do you?
Look, Defining Young Black Philanthropy is just the beginning! We will be in DC in January and back in New York in March. I suggest you catch us in either city. The conversation has just begun and our mark on the world of philanthropy is here!
Here are a few tweets that highlight the essence of the night:
Aggressive donations can help you leverage so many things, that can be to your benefit. #DefiningYBP -@MrMaalyMal
#DefiningYBP Philanthropy is about defining what you love and giving back in ways that express that.-@pntszdinfluence
Thrilled to see so many young current & future philanthropists in one space @ NY’s Defining Young Black Philanthropy event #definingybp -@AlbireoGroup
Becoming more inspired at the #DefiningYBP. This panel is ah-mazing!! -@ImHeatherJ
Interesting conversation at the Friends of Ebonie #definingybp event discussing young black philanthropy- @admiral_center
Check out the gallery of pics! Enjoy!!!
Thank you to our venue ImageNation RAWSPACE, our sponsors and the wonderful non-profits featured in the Meet N’ Greet: Girls Write Now, Generation Schools, Figure Skating in Harlem, The Apollo Theater’s Young Patrons Program, New York Needs You.