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Reflecting on Black Philanthropy Month

Being a child of the Civil Rights Era, I saw the power of volunteers and philanthropy helping disadvantaged people. The legislation on equality in the 1960s gave many people, including me, opportunities that my ancestors did not have. But the work is not done, and I have attempted to contribute to the ongoing openness of opportunities for all.  

Chuck Self

As a financial executive, I have had the opportunity to give time on boards of directors for a wide variety of organizations. These include religious, educational, professional, health care, and children nonprofits. I only serve on boards where I believe I can make a tangible difference and I will support it financially. This has resulted in not only better outcomes for the organizations but has brought me growth as a person. 

Besides serving on the Community Foundation’s board, I also serve locally on the Winnebago Area Literacy Council Board of Directors. The mission of the Council is to strengthen our diverse community by developing and delivering free learner-centered literacy programs for adults and their families. Most of their clients are immigrants who have resettled in the area and desire to learn English. Their programs include tutoring, vocational literacy training, and citizenship workshops. I have been especially helpful in the management of the Council’s investments and fundraising. 

The University of Minnesota is my undergraduate alma mater. Without the scholarships and internships received, I would not have had a strong start to my career. My family established a scholarship fund to support Black students being educated in the Carlson School of Management. Although they have been given partial scholarships so far, the students receiving them have appreciated the financial support. We are working towards the ability to help more students by growing the fund. 

Without volunteers and financial support, we cannot provide support for those who have the capacity and desire to live stronger lives for themselves and the community. And the increased richness to the giver of time and money should not be underestimated! 

Black Philanthropy Month is an annual, global celebration of African-descent giving! This year’s #BPM2023 theme is “Love in Action.”

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