Behind the Video – Family Giving

Author: Necole S. Irvin

Last week I posted my first video on-line as an UjimaSouth steward.  UjimaSouth, a project of Blackwood Advisors, offers a variety of community-based philanthropic educational services.  As a steward I strive to provide education and awareness to the history and current story of Black philanthropy.  Philanthropy can be defined in many ways including “love for humanity.” One of the most common definitions include the voluntary giving of one’s resources including skills, time and money.

I choose to focus my first video on family giving.   Black philanthropy has deep roots in family and a sense of community.  My video is an example of my families’ legacy of giving in the form of land and institutions.  Prior to recording I was concerned about several issues.  I wanted to pick a compelling example.  I had to figure out where I would record the video.  And I needed to figure out what to do with my hair and the proper shooting angle.

Deciding on the example was the easiest decision.  I am blessed to have numerous documented and frequently heard examples of family giving.  I decided to go with one that has always struck me as having long-term impact and was an example of giving for personal and community advancement that would impact generations.  It is also an example of collective giving (my great grandmother, her brother and their spouses) which implies a strong level of family cohesion.  As an aside – collective giving is most commonly referred to these days as a giving circle.  A giving circle is a group that pools their resources to increase their awareness of and engagement to achieve defined and specific goals.

Emily Johnson Anderson was born in 1862.  Her portrait hung above my grandparents mantle.  Even before learning that she was known as a stern disciplinarian to her eight daughters her image demanded respect.

Two other concerns that were relatively easy to resolve – shooting location and angle.  Both were determined by trial and error.  For my second video I plan on spending a little more time on this decision. (Boy! does my face look huge.)  Maybe not so shocking, the concern that took the most time was my hair.  This is not a new dilemma nor is it one that isn’t shared by most black women.  My solution – cover it.  Was that a cop-out?  Yes.

After resolving these four concerns at various levels of competency I realized that my two minute video was too long for twitter and I didn’t have the technical skills to compress it.  Lesson from my first video post – there is always something new to learn but sharing my families’ giving reminded me of personal legacy and inspires me to being a better philanthropist.  I hope that Emily’s story will inspire someone to think about and share their family legacy.