Members of the Black Philanthropy Initiative of the Winston-Salem Foundation touted past successes and solicited future support Tuesday at its annual fundraiser, which this year was themed, “Pulling from our Roots.”
The affair, which drew about 160 people to the Spring House Restaurant Kitchen & Bar on Spring Street, is one of the chief fundraisers for the initiative, which provides financial support to various projects and agencies that focus on financial literacy, parenting and education, according to Advisory Committee member Florence Corpening. The retired YWCA of Winston-Salem CEO has long been involved with BPI, which pushes for local African Americans to open their wallets so that BPI can continue to award grants annually through its Black Philanthropy Fund.
“It was such a sense of pride for me that we really can accomplish anything we set out to do when we work together and that we really are philanthropic,” Corpening stated. “I think for me, it’s really (rewarding) to see African American professionals come together and truly decide that we’re going to make a difference in our community.”
Rev. Donald Jenkins, the 2012 chair of the BPI, urged the crowd to support the effort.
“Serving on the Board of BPI is one of the most rewarding things that I invest my time and dollars in,” said Jenkins, pastor of St. Paul United Methodist Church. “This evening, you’ll see why.”
Dr. Denise Terry-Johnson, creator of the Girls Empowered by Math and Science (GEMS) program at Winston-Salem State University, said funds from BPI made a big difference. Terry-Johnson said the $5,000 grant she received earlier this year helped to enhance GEMS, a science and math academy for girls in grades 6-9. Terry-Johnson said she founded the program in hopes of addressing the learning disparities between boys and girls that she had noticed in math and science fields. Parents and students alike have thanked her for creating a “safe, boyless environment” for the girls to learn in.
Dr. Amber Baker, principal of Kimberley Park Elementary, which she affectionately calls, “the little school that could,” used her 2012 BPI $4,325 grant to create News Worthy, a daily television broadcast about events at the school. The program helped Kimberley students to learn to read and write news broadcasts, and provided for field trips to WXII News and Winston-Salem State University, Baker said.
“We want to begin to expose our children at the elementary level to post secondary education,” she explained. “We want the children to know that even though you might be in the ‘hood, it’s not your final destination, it’s not your final stop.”
Baker thanked BPI supporters. She told them that they are helping to ensure a better future for students and a better community.
“I thank you, those of you who have been blessed and have found it in your hearts to sow into a program like BPI,” she declared. “You may not ever see the life of the child that you touched … but trust me, the reward will be great.”
BPI has awarded more than $80,000 since its first grant cycle in 2008, said Andrea Jenkins, a member of BPI’s Marketing Committee.
For more information on the Black Philanthropy Fund or to learn how you can get connected to BPI, contact Vice President of Community Investments Michael Clements at 336-725-2382. To make a donation to BPI, visit HYPERLINK “http://www.wsfoundation.org/bpidonations” www.wsfoundation.org/bpidonations.