Cultural Icons for Social Change: The Iconic Impact Initiative

Bridge Philanthropic Consulting (BPC) is publishing a series of position papers called The Iconic Impact Initiative to explore the historical nature of multi-cultural philanthropy and the foundations of giving that were built by modern-day leaders of color—from ordinary individuals to the most famous pop-culture icons. While often not given credit, African Americans and Hispanic Americans have been leaders in charitable giving, not only providing generous monetary contributions but innovating ways to empower worthwhile causes.

The Giving Institute is honored to share these articles with its readership as an example of thought leadership in philanthropy from one of its member organizations. You can learn more and see the full series on the Bridge Philanthropic website.

Robert F. Smith

By Dwayne Ashley, Tashion Macon, Ph.D., Jennifer Jiles, Delphia York Ridley, Esq. and Tammy Smithers, Ed.D.

As CEO and Founder of Bridge Philanthropic Consultants LLC. (BPC), the only full-service African American-owned and led social justice and philanthropic firm in the U.S., I see African-American generosity and social consciousness firsthand every day. If that were not the case, we could not have raised nearly $1 billion to enable organizations of color to realize their dreams and fulfill their missions.

What African Americans deserve and expect now is recognition for the charitableness they have always demonstrated but have not been given recognition for at parity with their generosity or with equal reverence as White donors. Billionaire philanthropist Robert F. Smith is igniting social change with bold strokes, while “liberating the human spirit,” words he frequently uses to describe his ideological viewpoint on helping people who traditionally have had few or no resources available to them. Black philanthropists like Robert Smith don’t need the broader America to recognize them but they do deserve it; they have earned it.

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