Initiative changing approach in 2017

Initiative changing approach in 2017
December 29
09:00 2016



In the New Year, the Black Philanthropy Initiative (BPI) will take a new approach when deciding which charitable organizations will be awarded grants to expand education and engagement in the black community.

An advisory board makes the decisions on the initiative’s spending.  According to newly appointed advisory board Chairman Roger Hyman, it’s time for a change.

Hyman said in 2016, the foundation hired a team of experts to help the initiative look at its strategic plan and prepare for the future.

He said after looking at the results from Forsyth Futures, a local data recovery service, to ensure the initiative is around for the next decade BPI has to engage the entire community.

“When I look at the future, BPI has to put a foot on the ground, get into the community and let them know we are here. At the same time, we have to engage the greater community so everyone is working together,” Hyman said. Since 2008 BPI, which is a branch of the Winston-Salem Foundation, has awarded nearly $150,000 in funding to various non-profit organizations that focus on issues that impact the black community.

In 2015 the initiative awarded over $17,000 to Hanes Magnet School, Winston-Salem Delta Fine Arts,  the local branch of  Catholic Charities Diocese of Charlotte, and Authoring Action. On Feb. 21, 2017, BPI will announce the grant winners for 2016. The application process will reopen in August of next year for 2017 nominees.

Catholic Charities, a young parents’ support program, and Authoring Action, which provides multimedia workshops for students, both received $5,000 last year. Hanes Magnet School received $4,933 to go toward its Girls of Distinction after school program, while Delta Fine Arts received $2,500 to support an interactive art program for elementary students who lack funds.

Hyman mentioned they will be holding listening sessions and other events to ensure they are addressing the real issues. Hyman also said they will look to partner with the local colleges and universities in the New Year.

“We want to build our partnerships with Wake Forest, Winston-Salem State and Salem College to make sure our students know about philanthropy work and how important it is because they are the future,” he said. “There has to be someone to carry on this work.”

When discussing the future of the initiative, Sabrina Slade, Winston-Salem Foundation director of strategic initiatives, said she was proud to see what the new board chair is looking to accomplish in the new year.

A native to Winston-Salem, Slade mentioned often times, nonprofits don’t take the time to listen to what the people want.

“It excites me that we’re doing this the right way,” continued Slade. “We all have good intentions, but sometimes we don’t take the time to listen. There are too many people who don’t have a voice at the table, so this means we have to go to the people. We aren’t going to start any new initiative without asking the people ‘What do you think about it?’’’

She said, “When I look around the room at our meetings, I don’t see anyone who lives in low-income housing communities. It could be because of the time, it could be because they haven’t been invited, but we want to change that; we want to listen.”

Earlier this month, BPI also extended its endowment agreement with First Tennessee Bank (FTB), which has a local branch on West First Street. Five years ago, First Tennessee helped BPI start an endowment for the organization, providing an annual $10,000 match if the organization could raise$10,000 of its own. So far the annual match has helped what would have been $60,000 grow to $107,000, according to a news release.

John Fox, chairman of First Tennessee’s Mid-Atlantic region, said the bank, which is headquartered in Memphis, has always looked to invest in initiatives that uplift the community.

“We know how to do business in these communities and take the role of corporate citizen in these communities and do the things we need to do,” said Fox. “I think BPI is one of the organizations that is central to those types of efforts here in Winston-Salem.”

FTB’s community development manager Angie Murphey said she felt good about the partnership with BPI because she felt confident in the efforts they were leading in the African-American community.

“BPI saw potential in people that they didn’t even see in themselves,” she said. “BPI plays the role of thought leader when it comes to sharing what’s really going on in the African-American community.”

When discussing the endowment, Slade said that with the help from FTB and other local organizations, she feels confident that BPI will continue to grow and make an impact in the community. She said far too often black philanthropy organizations disappear without any warning.

“We see it all the time here in Winston-Salem: For whatever reason, a lot of nonprofit organizations close their doors before they make a real impact, but I don’t see that happening with BPI. This initiative is here to stay.”

For more information on how to submit an application or on the BPI listening sessions, visit the Winston-Salem Foundation website at The initiative is listed under the community leadership tab.

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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