Anna T. Jeanes

“The Northern antislavery movement had some of its deepest roots among members of the Society of Friends, or Quakers, in Philadelphia. One Quaker philanthropist, Anna T. Jeanes, in 1905 created a trust, the Negro Rural School Fund, to assist schools in Southern states. Administered by the General Education Board, the fund’s primary thrust was the employment of so-called Jeanes Supervisors, African American industrial supervision instructors who emphasized vocational education and school improvement. By 1910 there were 129 Jeanes Supervisors working as education circuit riders in 130 counties in 13 Southern states. They were teachers, to be sure, but they also functioned as experienced, strategic dynamos who were remarkably effective at assessing, inspiring, and leveraging community resources to raise education standards.”

Excerpted from The Liberating Promise of Philanthropy.

William C. Archie, Father of the SECF

“Dr. Archie, a former professor of romance languages who had been dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at both Wake Forest University and then Emory University, was a bluff and forceful leader. (Some colleagues described him affectionately as a bull that carried his own china shop with him.) Soon after the Tax Reform Act went into effect in the spring of 1970, he quickly reached out to other foundation leaders in the region and invited them to a meeting in Atlanta. After what was later described to Hull as a weekend of “discussion and mutual anxiety,” the twenty-four in attendance decided to convene a multi-state gathering of foundation representatives that fall in Atlanta to propose the establishment of a regional association.”

Excerpted from The Liberating Promise of Philanthropy.

Peyton Anderson

“The Peyton Anderson Foundation in Macon, Georgia, was formed to distribute funds from the estate of Peyton T. Anderson Jr., based on his desire to improve and impact the communities of his hometown region. When Anderson died on April 24, 1988, he directed in his will that approximately $35 million of his state be used to establish the foundation.”

“The money I have is not mine. It’s not mine because this money was made in the community, and it was made because the community flourished,” he said. “Therefore, I was able to flourish and this money rightfully should go back into the well-being of the community.”

Excerpted from The Liberating Promise of Philanthropy.

Elridge McMillan

“In 1990 Elridge W. McMillan became the first African American trustee of the Southeastern Council of Foundations. He also was the first African American president of the Southern Education Foundation and the first African American chair of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, on which governing body he served for more than thirty-four years. As a former trustee of Clark College (his alma mater), he co-chaired the Trustee Committee that was responsible for the consolidation of Clark and Atlanta University (1987–89). McMillan was also appointed to the Center for Civil and Human Rights Global Advisory Board and is a past member of the University System of Georgia Foundation Board.”

Excerpted from The Liberating Promise of Philanthropy.

Slavery, Lincoln, and Tragic Pragmatism

“As described in the previous chapter, well-meaning, God-fearing, and idealistic citizens—both Northern and Southern—sought to move their country in the direction of a new democracy and civil society that could accommodate the existence of slavery.

Some slaveowners were still looking for a way to avoid condoning the more barbarous features of human enslavement while stopping short of advocating abolition. In The Legacy of the Civil War (1961), Robert Penn Warren’s classic reflection on that conflict’s 100th anniversary, he wrote: “More than one slaveholder is on record as sympathizing with the distress of a certain Gustavus Henry, who admitted to his wife that ‘I sometimes think my feelings unfit me for a slaveholder.’

“Abraham Lincoln, during his first debate with Stephen Douglas in Ottawa, Illinois, on June 24, 1858, captured another side of the dilemma in what literary scholar John Burt calls Lincoln’s penchant for “tragic pragmatism”:

Doubtless there are individuals on both sides who would not hold slaves under any circumstances; and others who would gladly introduce slavery anew, if it were out of existence. We know that some southern men do free their slaves, go north, and become tip-top abolitionists; while some northern ones go south and become most cruel slave-masters.”

Excerpted from The Liberating Promise of Philanthropy.

James Oglethorpe’s Civil Society

“He never captured great wealth; he never established a foundation. But unusual if not unique among the founders of colonial America, James Oglethorpe dreamed of a truly classless and enterprising civil society. In 1733 he brought with him to Yamacraw Bluff, in what would become the town of Savannah, the layout for a model city, the official motto of which was Non Sibi Sed Aliss (not for self, but for others). Undergirded by peaceful habitation with the Creek Indian tribe led by Tomochichi, this new settlement restricted the amount of land an individual could own, had a plan for the cultivation of silk, banned slavery, prohibited the consumption of rum, and welcomed most persecuted religious minorities. (Acknowledging the threatening presence of Spain in Florida, Catholicism was banned). It also prohibited the presence of lawyers.
The vision of Oglethorpe and his trustees was realized—but only for a short while.”

[Excerpts taken from The Liberating Promise of Philanthropy.]

Philanthropy as a Responsibility

“One of the first generous spirits from the private sector to become a major partner in these Reconstruction efforts was George Peabody (1795–1869). A talented financier, Peabody began with virtually nothing and became fabulously wealthy.”

“Years before Andrew Carnegie composed his “Gospel of Wealth,” the prudent Peabody advocated that the new rich had a special responsibility to give back to society. As with Carnegie, Peabody’s humble beginnings together with an open door of opportunity clearly left a mark upon him and contributed to his empathy for those in greatest need.”

[Excerpts taken from The Liberating Promise of Philanthropy.]