Black History Month was initially conceived by Carter G. Woodson, a Harvard-trained historian, who hoped to raise awareness of Black people’s contributions to civilizations. The first celebration was held in February 1926 to honor the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. Negro History Week later became African American History Month when our nation celebrated its bicentennial.
In 1976, President Gerald R. Ford urged Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” Black History Month encourages everyone to look at the past to learn how to create a better future. Through insurmountable odds, Black Americans continue to make contributions to our local communities. These contributions are interwoven in the American story and extend beyond the 28 or 29 days designated as Black History Month.
Black communities have a strong history of Philanthropy commonly defined as “selfless giving to others.” Historically, charitable giving in our communities has been a way of life. Our understanding of collective responsibility initially created informal systems of community caring to combat the lack of access caused by slavery and segregation. After Reconstruction and into the 1920’s, the establishment of Black Wall Street communities in Durham, NC, Richmond, VA and Tulsa, OK formalized entrepreneurial and philanthropic endeavors in Black communities. Insurance companies, banks, businesses, churches, and charitable organizations owned and led by Blacks were at the forefront of Black economic advancement. The era immediately following the Civil Rights Movement gave rise to the professionalization of Black charitable giving through nonprofits engaged in social change, development, and human services.
My philanthropy story began assisting my mother in her community service activities as a young girl. I learned the value and responsibility of helping others at an early age. My early years were spent in a close-knit, urban community where I watched families and neighbors support each other. Professionally, I have been a community development and public service professional in the arenas of law, education, and theology for 25 years. My work has helped churches, faith-based organizations, schools, and other nonprofit organizations improve the quality of their community-focused programs. As a nonprofit consultant, helping start over 80 501(c)(3) nonprofit businesses, providing 800 consultations, and 1500 hours of training to local nonprofits is just the beginning of carrying on my family legacy of “giving back” to my community.
As Senior Director of Community Relations for JD Financial Group and Associates, Inc., I have the pleasure of expanding our firm’s philanthropic footprint in the Triad of North Carolina. As a Black-owned and operated firm, we understand our corporate responsibility to support our neighbors where help is needed. Since our founding in 2017, our Executive Team and staff have provided financial literacy classes, served as PTA President, coached youth basketball, supported nonprofits that provide breast/cervical cancer awareness, food distribution, homeless services, cultural arts, Historically Black Colleges & Universities, and churches in the communities we live in.
JD Financial Group and Associates, Inc. embraces National Life Group’s” Do Good, Be Good, Make Good” core values in our expanding philanthropic involvement. We created a Community Relations office to focus on diversity, inclusion, and philanthropy in our company practices, services, and community initiatives. Our focus is to help our team members become successful family, community, and financial services leaders. JD Financial Group and Associates, Inc. has taken the lead alongside National Life Group leadership to co-found BUILD. “Blacks Uplifted in Leadership Development” is an inclusive national network of financial services professionals working together to address the outcomes of underrepresentation of Black men and women in the financial services industry. We have discovered that collaborative partnerships with businesses, nonprofits, and grassroots initiatives strengthens our communities during changing times. JD Financial Group and Associates, Inc. is committed to contributing our time, talent, and treasure to economically grow and “give back” to the communities we live in. We are more than a firm – we are a culture. The legacy of Black Philanthropy on which we stand lives on!