Patrice Onwuka in Newsmax: What Two Black Female Philanthropists Can Teach Donors About Giving

As Women’s History Month draws to a close, Philanthropy Roundtable Adjunct Senior Fellow Patrice Onwuka writes in Newsmax about two Black female philanthropists from the early 20th century: Madam C.J. Walker and Oseola McCarty. Through an examination of their charitable work, Onwuka says modern-day donors can take lessons about private giving approaches – and apply it to their own philanthropy.   

Below are excerpts from the op-ed entitled “Lessons From Two Humble Women Philanthropists Still Resonate”:

“From McCarty’s story, we learn philanthropists need not be particularly wealthy or well-known to make a difference. She achieved renown from her gift, but if the school had not publicized it, her remarkable life probably would have remained unknown.

McCarty did not wait for her passing to make charitable contributions, opting to give most of her money away in her twilight. She may have felt satisfaction in putting her wealth to good use, but whatever the reason, she was one of a growing number of donors choosing to give while alive.

Madam C.J. Walker, the self-made hair care mogul, rose to live quite a different life from McCarty  one full of opulence, public attention and prominence. (I’ve written about Walker’s commitment to entrepreneurship and philanthropy in this column before.) However, they shared striking similarities.

Like McCarty, a philosophy of self-help inspired her to devote much of her wealth to supporting educational institutions like then-named Tuskegee Institute and even her own college to teach hairstyling skills. ‘I am not merely satisfied in making money for myself,’ she said, ‘for I am endeavoring to provide employment for hundreds of the women of my race. I had little or no opportunity when I started out in life.  . . .  But I made it!’


This month, as we reflect on the achievements of women, we should celebrate how two washerwomen overcame tremendous obstacles and turned the fruits of their labor into opportunities and advancement for those around them.”

Please continue reading “Lessons from Two Humble Women Philanthropists Still Resonate” at Newsmax. 

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