Part Two of a Two-Part Series
African American men are pooling their money to create positive community change. The Ujima Legacy Fund brings together men who invest $1,100 and collectively increase their impact. Founder Reginald Gordon shares a few details so you can create a fund in your community. We pick up our interview with Gordon with a discussion about grantmaking.
"Once we have reviewed all of the applications, a representative group of Ujima men go visit the site of the most compelling applicants," Gordon shared. "The next step is for those applicants to make a presentation to the entire membership. After the membership has heard from each of the top applicants, then the members vote. The agency with the most votes is awarded the grant. Last year, we gave $20,000 to Partnership for the Future (www.partnershipforthefuture.org). This year Ujima received proposals for funding from 23 applicants. We will vote on our 2014 grantee in mid-May."
The fund started through barber shop conversations, now "we are using word of mouth, email and social gatherings to spread the news about the Ujima Legacy Fund. We asked each member from last year to try to recruit two other men to join this year. We have been successful in asking for time on the agenda at regularly scheduled African American male networking events and meetings, like fraternity meetings. The response has been overwhelmingly positive."
Joy has accompanied the process. "One of the unexpected joys is the renewed sense of brotherhood. We now have a band of brothers who have made a commitment to transform our community by financially supporting critical pathways to success for our young adults," Gordon shared. "We actually have a Ujima Legacy Fund lapel pin that we wear to symbolize our unity of purpose. The word has spread around town that African American men in Richmond are coming together to give money to causes that they want to support. We definitely have helped expand and diversify the list of major philanthropic donors in Richmond. We have even inspired black women in Richmond to begin the process of creating their own giving circle. We have jokingly asked them to not raise more money than us their first year."
Gordon suggests checking out information about the Ujima Legacy Fund on the Community Foundation of Richmond website. "Get a small group of men (no more than six) who want to champion the creation of a giving circle. Have this core group decide on firm goals and objectives of the giving circle. (Please feel free to use any language that you like from Ujima.) Find a fiscal sponsor and some organization that can help administer the fund. Then, go out and boldly recruit members for your giving circle."
Learn more at www.bit.ly/UjimaLegacyFund.
Copyright © 2014 by Mel and Pearl Shaw. All rights reserved.
[Mel and Pearl Shaw position nonprofits, colleges and universities for fundraising success. For help with your campaign visit www.saadandshaw.com or call (901) 522-8727.]