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Nonprofit Leaders 3min read

Meet 5 Black Philanthropists Who’ve Given Nearly $1 Billion

Eddie C. Brown

Born to a teen mother in Apopka, Florida, and raised by his grandparents, Brown had no thoughts of attending college until the owner of a local casket company paid for his college education. Although he never met her, this act of kindness instilled in Brown the spirit of philanthropy, which he continues to embrace today.

Brown earned his master’s degree in electrical engineering at New York University and became intrigued with finance and investing. Soon after graduation, Brown and his wife Sylvia created the Eddie C. and C. Sylvia Brown Family Foundation and donated over $5 million to the Turning the Corner Achievement Program, which supports inner-city Baltimore youths.

Charles Phillips

CEO of Infor, the world’s third-largest provider of enterprise software applications, Charles Phillips was previously the President of Software at Oracle.

In 2010, together with his wife Karen, he founded the Phillips Charitable Organization to provide timely financial aid for single parents, wounded veterans, and students working towards STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) degrees.

Since its inception, the foundation has awarded hundreds of grants totaling millions of dollars in contributions.

Robert F. Smith

The second-richest Black American, billionaire Robert F. Smith is the Founding Director and President of the Fund II Foundation. Under his leadership, Fund II Foundation has invested in organizations such as Cornell, UNCF, National Park Foundation, Susan G. Komen, and Global Wildlife Conservation, among many others.

Smith also donated $2.5 million to the Prostate Cancer Foundation to advance prostate cancer research among African American men. In 2017, Smith was named one of the “Philanthropy 50” by the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

Gail Snowden

Snowden’s background in banking led her into leadership with both the Boston Foundation and Freedom House. The Freedom House is an organization founded by her parents that funds other programs nationwide that focus on civil rights issues, education, and public policy.

Freedom House directly funds numerous tech-focused educational initiatives that seek to equip urban youth to succeed in education.

Deloris Jordan

Deloris Jordan, the mother of basketball star Michael Jordan, has long been active in giving back to her home city, Chicago, through the James R. Jordan Foundation, which is named after her late husband. Her efforts focus on helping parents play an active role in their children’s education.

She also took her work internationally and founded Kenya Women’s and Children’s Wellness Centre.

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About the Author

Basha Coleman