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The Soul of Philanthropy

The Soul of Philanthropy: Reframed and Exhibited, a national, comprehensive, multi-media exhibit honoring and celebrating stories of generosity in Black philanthropy, is in Michigan to connect and inform communities throughout the state.

Image courtesy of The Soul of Philanthropy Michigan

A national exhibit is in Michigan to connect communities and showcase the history of Black and African American giving. A pop-up abridged edition came to Grand Rapids last year with upcoming exhibits in Ann Arbor and Detroit this year.

The Soul of Philanthropy: Reframed and Exhibited is a comprehensive, multi-media exhibit honoring and celebrating stories of generosity in Black philanthropy. The exhibit first launched during Black History Month in 2015.

The Soul of Philanthropy (TSOP) Michigan, supported by several CMF members, including Frey Foundation, Grand Rapids Community Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Wege Foundation, Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation and Plante Moran, is a volunteer collective dedicated to bringing the exhibit to communities in Michigan.

According to TSOP, the exhibit offers talks, panel discussions and public forums that accompany the exhibition and allow groups to explore a broad range of topics to ignite a movement of conscious philanthropy by empowering a generation of Americans to recognize their power and responsibility to give back.

Several pop-up exhibits are set to open throughout the state this year. The exhibit is designed to honor, celebrate and sustain rich traditions of giving within Black and African American communities and inspire communities to engage in the work of philanthropists.

“The narrative for institutional philanthropy has not always fit the many ways communities of color give. In particular, the African American expression of philanthropy includes collective giving and personal responsibility with tithes and offering in the local church, communal sacrifice to support first-generation college students and families in crisis, or responding to national tragedies, as evidenced by support for the Freedom Riders in the 60's to the support for the family of Tyre Nichols today,” Shannon Polk, president and CEO of the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation (AAACF) said.

In March, a pop-up will be installed at Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor, sponsored by the AAACF.

“The Soul of Philanthropy exhibit was designed to reshape the narrative around Black Philanthropy, and AAACF is excited to be a sponsor,” Polk said.  

Several CMF members serve on the steering committee of TSOP Michigan and are working to bring the exhibit to Detroit this summer.

“One of my priorities this year in working with my colleagues to bring TSOP to Detroit, is to shine a light on Black self-determination and giving. This includes the countless African American leaders and organizations, especially those who are not typically recognized for their giving and service, who work tirelessly to heal and develop Black communities and expand access to capital so Black businesses and families can thrive,” Meredith Freeman, director of Impact Investing and Alignment at the Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation, co-chair of CMF’s Michigan Forum for African Americans in Philanthropy Affinity Group and TSOP Michigan steering committee member said.

Camarrah Morgan, program partner at the Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation, co-chair of MFAAP and TSOP Michigan steering committee member, shared plans for an upcoming TSOP emerging leader event this summer.

“This will be an energizing space for seasoned philanthropic experts to dialogue with aspiring professionals,” Morgan said.

During CMF’s 50th Annual Conference in November, CMF members had the opportunity to visit the Grand Rapids pop-up exhibit.

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Learn more about The Soul of Philanthropy Michigan.

Learn more about The Soul of Philanthropy.

Learning to Give, an endowed program of CMF, provides an interactive guide created for the Soul of Philanthropy exhibit for youth to look for and capture the stories of philanthropy that express loving and powerful cultural practices. Learn more.