We’re so excited to have this young man featured as our first feature during Black Philanthropy Month 2013! As you read about Curtis D. Young you will understand just how awesome his work is. From the arts, to fashion, to politics to yes, International education, Curtis exhibits his philanthropy through the avenues that come naturally to him and through him. Meet Curtis!
How old are you? 33
Where do you live? New York, NY
What’s been the highlight of your philanthropic career this year? I’ve been involved with philanthropic causes for years but most recently I have come to love and cherish causes relating to the arts, culture and health. In March I led the effort to establish the inaugural “Evidence After Dark” Young Patrons Fundraiser, benefiting Evidence, A Dance Company. We raised close to half a million dollars in support of the Dance company. I am also continuously raising funds for Malaria No More as a Young Ambassador – a cause I became passionate about while volunteering in West Africa in 2008. Previously, I served on committees for American Cancer Society where we collectively raised over $80,000 for the Young Friends of the Look Good, Feel Better Campaign and overall $2M for the Dream Ball, also in support of American Cancer Society.
Why does philanthropy in the black community matter to you? I was inspired back in 2006 while watching a special on Oprah’s construction of her Leadership Academy in South Africa. She was asked, why she didn’t seek a partnership with another wealthy person to lower the cost she had to pay for the schools construction. Her response was, “because, I wanted to show the world that one person can make a difference.” I stand by this motto. I believe that my efforts, large or small will inspire someone, some day to do the same. It’s important for young black men and women to see what others are doing to feel inspired in some cases. We see young black philanthropist, giving and volunteering and IMPACTING, thus we know that we can do the same, collectively or as an individual. The image of someone doing something is powerful in our community.
People are more likely to support your fundraising efforts when they feel that you are passionate about your respective cause and possess a sincere desire for change. – Curtis D. Young
Why is giving back to causes related to art, culture, and health so important? One of my primary goals in life is to be an example to those around me. It is with this spirit that I engage in causes relating to the arts, culture and health. I enjoy showing the world that philanthropic dollars does not always come from big family names or large corporation. Each person can make a difference and the difference I aim to make is not only financial, but also perceptual. School’s across America are loosing art programs daily due to budget cuts. Sadly, most of those schools are in the inner city. Additionally, people die daily from preventable illness around the world. Knowing that I can do something, as small as giving my time, contributing or raising funds to make a difference in my community and globally, is what inspires daily.
As a Young Ambassador for Malaria No More, we aim to save as many lives possible across Africa. While living in Africa I became deeply touched by the deaths of innocent children daily due to the preventable illness of Malaria. The idea of Malaria being preventable and at such a low cost inspired me to do whatever I could to raise awareness and funds to buy treated nets for children across the continent.
Last year I raised funds for several cancer related causes. This is an issue, near and dear to my heart, as my grandmother died from breast cancer many years ago. It was devastating, as her only grandchild, so I’ve vowed to do whatever I can to raise funds and to bring awareness to those most susceptible to cancer.
What would you say to individuals to encourage them to become more active in the fundraising aspect of philanthropy? Making a difference does not require millions of dollars, it require desire for change. People are more likely to support your fundraising efforts when they feel that you are passionate about your respective cause and possess a sincere desire for change. I encourage those who are looking to become more active in the fundraising aspect of philanthropy to engage in causes that are near to their hearts and meaningful to their lives. For me, that has been art, culture and health issues. When you are passionate about a particular cause, it makes fundraising actually look effortless.
What are the organizations you are a part of? Evidence, A Dance Company, Young Patron Co-Chair | American Friends of the Louvre Museum, Young Patrons Circle | Young Ambassador for Malaria No More | Whitney Museum | NY Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. (Social Action Committee) | Young Friends of the Dream Ball, Benefitting the Look Good, Feel Better (American Cancer Society) | American Ballet Theatre, Junior Council | National Center for Global Engagement
Thank you Curtis for all that you do!!!