Philanthropy: Business & Personal

Did you know that today, November 15, is National Philanthropy Day? No? Yeah, me neither. Well, the Association of Fundraising Professionals and other nonprofits have been recognizing people active in the philanthropic community all day today apparently. I’m still not sure why, but something about this just doesn’t sit right with me. It could be my activist spirit that doesn’t quite understand why every person on this earth doesn’t do something to better their communities. Really, it could just be the level of frustration I felt at my nonprofit board meeting last night.

Let me further explain.

When I reached an age where I was finally able to afford some real shit in life (rent, car, custom sneaks, etc), I felt that it was time for this blessed sista to pay it forward. So I started supporting, donating, and volunteering for a couple causes that are near and dear to me, but something was missing. I hate to say it, but I was bored. Then I stumbled upon a DC-based nonprofit organization that uses the elements of Hip-Hop to enact social change. Perfect! Something that completely interests me and giving back, love it. And Yo, hip-hop can change lives…it changed mine. Anyways, recently I’ve become a board member for the nonprofit and what an experience it has been so far! However, the board meeting last night stung me and stung me hard. Its time to plan a for real, for real board led fundraiser event; who do we look to? The Event Planner right?

Philanthropy is usually personal, but what happens when its business too? Let’s thicken the plot.

I’ve pitched an event idea that is completely personal…it deals with the birth of neo-soul, this jazzy combination of Hip-Hop and R&B. If that doesn’t have Tiffany C. Branch written all over it, I don’t know what does. So the concept is coming together nicely, we’re laughing and joking about different elements, then the “business” creeps back in. This is a fundraiser. The purpose of the event is to raise funds. We will not raise funds unless the event is good. Wow, there it is! There’s why I’m a little pissed off by this whole National Philanthropy Day. Here we are, writing the rhymes to the “song” and choreographing the moves to the “dance” of the give me money campaign. Yet all day people have been getting plaques and shit for donating money they probably wouldn’t have if nonprofit organizations like ours hadn’t been there for them. Yes, as a lover of music and on a personal tip, I want this event to be great. Also, yes, as lead Event Manager for Ingenious Events (whose rep is on the line here), I want this event to be successful. But, lets just say that the event fucking sucks, support the nonprofit. Seriously!

You know what, I’m probably taking this the wrong way. Happy National Philanthropy Day.

But do me a favor, the next time a nonprofit is doing something to better your community, just support. Don’t do it because there was a celebrity performance or a nice swag bag. Just do the right thing like Spike!


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