Spreading The Community Group Message of Change
Recently, our old friend and colleague, Athan Lindsay, Development Officer at the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro, wrote: “Tell everybody that the prodigal son is coming home with some friends! I cannot wait to see everyone and introduce you all to some new friends who want to have their own Community Group/New Mountain Climbers experience. I have a good group of people coming up with me, who want to learn from you all.”
“Sam (Cone) is very interested in meeting everyone and learning more about how you all have moved from grant seekers to donors who established a charitable fund at the Community Foundation of the New River Valley.”
Athan Lindsay served a key role in The Community Group’s development and direction. He and his associate Daryl Lester several years ago introduced The Community Group to the concept of giving circles and inspired us to move from being grant seekers to becoming grant makers, to becoming philanthropists in our own African American community. In his recent email to us, Athan said that “Sam (Cone) is very interested in meeting everyone and learning more about how you all have moved from grant seekers to donors who established a charitable fund at the Community Foundation of the New River Valley. He is especially interested in how you all have used your grants to address systemic racism; your community dialogues on race and racial reconciliation.”
Sam Cone is a financial consultant, lawyer and advocate for progressive causes in his hometown of Greensboro, North Carolina. Coming from a long line of philanthropists and community advocates, Cone serves as a board member for Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro.
We met Sam and his group in Christiansburg at the Old Hill School, a weathered, two-story building, decorated in a rich history of education, culture and community service. Built around 1885, the structure is referred to by many in Montgomery County as the old Hill School, but is more commonly known as the birthplace of the Christiansburg Industrial Institute, where black students came from as far as Richmond to receive an education.
Although the building stopped serving as a school in 1953, education still continues under its roof today. Local civic groups such as The Community Group, the NAACP local chapter, the Christiansburg Ruritans and others utilize the facility for meetings and events. It is undergoing a major renovation with funding help from the Town of Christiansburg and private donors.
Penny Franklin and Andy Morikawa will share their story of how a small African American civic association with their allies from other ethnic/racial groups are change agents in rural southwestern Virginia
The Expanding Community Giving Initiative
On June 10, 2019, The Community Group will share its story with The Expanding Community Giving Initiative (ECG) of the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro (CFGG). The ECG engages more diverse audiences to use philanthropy to become agents of their own change to positively impact the Greater Greensboro community. ECG’s Community Conversations is a series of events providing information and resources that inspire and mobilize donors to grow their philanthropy and establish philanthropic legacies that strengthen our community.
Penny Franklin and Andy Morikawa will share their story of how a small African American civic association with their allies from other ethnic/racial groups are change agents in rural southwestern Virginia as members of the Community Group and New Mountain Climbers Giving Circle. Theirs is a phenomenal story of community philanthropy and the transformation from a grant seeking civic organization into influential donors utilizing philanthropy to spur positive changes in Montgomery County and its surrounding communities (Blacksburg/Christiansburg/Radford).
They will frame their conversation on the intersections of philanthropy and civic engagement with highlights from their community building work. The Community Group and its New Mountain Climbers Giving Circle initiated and sponsors the Dialogue on Race, an ongoing series of community-wide forums that examine racial issues then develop and implement solutions for effective community problem solving. Sam Cone, CFGG Board Member and local donor, will join Ms. Franklin and Mr. Morikawa in a follow-up conversation on the challenges and opportunities embedded in the efforts to promote community building using a racial equity lens. They will discuss the dynamics and nuances of having allies from other ethnic/racial groups align with people of color to address inequities and gaps; how to make shifts in organizational culture to take on issues that aren’t neutral, and the role that philanthropy plays to foster or stymie systemic change.