August is National Black Philanthropy Month, a time to celebrate the long tradition of giving back in Black communities. This month, we’re celebrating and uplifting this tradition by featuring Q&As with members of the A.L. Lewis Black Opportunity & Impact Fund, a collective giving initiative at The Community Foundation.
Eric Mann is President and CEO of the YMCA of Florida’s First Coast.
Q: At The Community Foundation, we believe that philanthropy is about how we use time, talent and treasure to give back to the community. What does Black Philanthropy mean to you?
A: I believe that philanthropy – specifically Black philanthropy – has a tripling effect. First, the gift provides needed support to an aspiring business or organization. Second, I’ve been blessed by the gift of giving, and, in turn, the blessings continue to come. I’m a cheerful giver. And third, giving hopefully acts as an example for more Black people to actively engage in giving back to the community. We give to the church, but the community needs additional support.
Q: Was giving back to the community a core value in your family when you were young?
A: Yes, my mother and father seemed to always be helping people, always engaged in the community. It wasn’t about giving money but about helping people in need.
Q: What led you to be involved in the A.L. Lewis Black Opportunity & Impact Fund?
A: I’ve made Jacksonville my home, so I do anything I can to help our Black community grow and thrive.