Community knows what community needs

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Southerners getting a taste of a chilly Colorado morning

My memories of Denver make me feel a complete sense of pride, seeing the familiar faces of people like Valaida Fullwood, Tim McIntosh, and Linsey Mills, those are the people that talked with me early on, when our circle was in our infancy and provided guidance, support, respect and love. They became my family, I look forward to seeing them, hearing about the wonderful things they are doing in their communities and watching their continued commitment, their shared passion and determination to make a difference and sharing with them how our circle has grown because they spent time with me and educated me about giving.

I never knew Denver had such a rich African American history, meeting, listening and admiring so many people that are committed to improving the lives of those in their community. I think my most memorable moment in Denver was hearing and then meeting Daniel Rodriguez. He’s young, smart and totally committed, and after hearing him speak that day, I could only say “WOW”.

The visit to the Holly Area Redevelopment Project and meeting the urban farmer was awesome, but being able to be a part of DAAP award their first grants was priceless. Sankofa has given three grants since our inception. I had to be a part of this movement, I had to give back to the community that gave to meI had to be a part of this “movement”, I had to give back to the community that gave to me.

Denver reminded me of the journey our circle, Sankofa Fund of Southwestern PA took as we evolved and embraced philanthropy. The excitement and energy I feel each time I am in the presence of all of the circle members when we come together during Leadership Summits and conferences, where I first hear “Community knows what community needs”. I had to be a part of this “movement”, I had to give back to the community that gave to me.

When our nineteen (19) founding members formed our circle in 2007, we were and still are, the first and only African American Giving Circle in Pittsburgh. I am re-energized with ideas, hopes and dreams for Sankofa.

I AM a philanthropist and I am inspired to grow this movement in Pittsburgh, but not just to grow the membership of Sankofa, but to encourage others to embrace African American philanthropy by starting their own giving circles and affect change in their community.

So to the question, “if I were to ask one or two things from other giving circles, what would they be?” I would have to say, share your knowledge, passion, and your story, always. What I know for sure (yep, Oprah says) it’s the story that grabs our attention, drives our passion and fuels the commitment of giving the 3 T’s time, talent and treasure, in all of us.

Tina Crisp is a member of the Sankofa Fund of Southwestern Pennsylvania, and her favorite place to be is in the comfort of her own home.

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On November 26, 2013
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