Expanding the Circle of Giving: The Community Foundation Model and African American Members of Generation X

Christina Bookhart, Emerging Leader, International Fellows Program ~ 2005




In her paper, Christina Bookhart sets out four objectives: (1) to look at factors informing traditional giving among African Americans; (2) to identify ways to expand the philanthropic outlook of African American members of Generation X (aged 25-40); (3) to determine the extent to which philanthropic organizations can expect African American members of Generation X to engage with community foundations as donors, staff, and board members in the future; and (4) to identify themes within African American populations that may facilitate strategic giving and alliances to enhance the culture of giving in Southern New Jersey.


Although African Americans have a long and varied history of philanthropy that is characterized by collective giving, community assistance, and “uplifting the race,” African American engagement with community foundations is low. Ms. Bookhart makes the following recommendations to begin to remedy this:

  • Create an advisory board or committee at the local community foundation to facilitate the creation of a “Giving Across Generations” and/or a “Black Philanthropy Initiative”;
  • Create donor education programs that focus on financial health in order to build assets for black communities and their families;
  • Set up listening sessions with local communities, to determine how community foundations can help to promote philanthropy among youth and communities of color; and
  • Support diversity in community foundation staffs (including promotion of mentoring and leadership initiatives within the community).



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