“America is very diverse, as is the community I live in, San Jose,” says Carmen Castellano. “But you walk into some institutions and the diversity is not there. We want to see people who look like us reflected in those institutions. I want to show the brown face of philanthropy.”
Castellano is one voice in a powerful chorus of diverse donors profiled in “I Am a Philanthropist,” a new video produced by Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors and the D5 Coalition. You can see the video by clicking on the image above.
An inspiring testament to the spread of philanthropy in communities across the nation, the video was a centerpiece of a gathering of diverse donors we held in Los Angeles in November. We celebrated diverse donors, gave them opportunities to network and learn, and aimed to inspire more giving.
Click here for a summary and some pictures of the event, along with resources for donors.
Both the gathering and the video open up the idea of who a philanthropist is and the ways that these donors can infuse a spirit of giving into families, neighborhoods, entire communities.
“Philanthropists are all types of people, not just the wealthy,” says Deborah Santana, one of the donors featured in “I Am a Philanthropist.” “All that is needed is willingness to give of our time, our resources, and our hearts.”
The playwright, poet and actor Sarah Jones gave a powerful performance. Actor Geena Davis spoke about the work of her foundation. And we heard from a number of individual donors who may not have the same star wattage but, as you can see from the video, have equally powerful stories to tell.
Ana Valdez speaks about the pain of seeing the gap between the haves and have-nots growing up in Mexico.
Shirley and Bernard Kinsey speak about sharing with school children the histories of African Americans “who died alone and without any recognition of their accomplishments and the contributions they made to this country.”
Virgil Roberts speaks about how, when he sees young people who don’t know to go from where they are to where they should be, “I see me.”
“Diversity of experience is what makes this field of philanthropy great,” says Robert K. Ross, president and CEO of The California Endowment. “In this country we need those perspectives and ideas more than ever.”
The voices captured in the video and at the event reflect the broad spectrum of the philanthropic impulse and the desire to give, share and make a difference in the world.
We’re honored to have these individuals join us in our efforts to make the field more diverse, equitable, and inclusive.