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Gifts that really count.

With this issue of BLACK ENTERPRISE, we mark the 12th month of our Black Wealth Initiative, our crusade to close the net worth gap that separates African Americans from full empowerment, freedom, and equality. As I said when we launched this initiative in January 2000, I believe our wealth-building movement has the potential to reap gains in the 21st century that can easily outstrip the gains of the civil rights struggle of the last half of the 20th century. And again, this is not just a one-year campaign, but an ongoing effort to provide you with the inspiration and information necessary to build your personal net worth through disciplined saving, investing, and wealth preservation from generation to generation. We are encouraged and excited by your response--in only the first year of this effort, nearly 40,000 of you have ordered our free BE Wealth Building Kit and have committed to the 10 wealth-building principles outlined in the Declaration of Financial Empowerment.

However, the point is not merely to increase our personal net worth, but to leverage that wealth to strengthen and empower African Americans as a whole, by building and sustaining those organizations and institutions critical to our progress in an environment still all too hostile to our ambitions. That's why I want to call your attention to another element of our Black Wealth Initiative: the Circle of Wealth. Indeed, the last component of the circle--to reinvest our increased wealth in our children, our businesses, and our community--deserves our utmost consideration as we engage in spending for the Christmas holidays.

Simply put, we must make this not only a season for giving, but also our season for giving back. This is an ideal time to place charitable giving high up on your shopping list. For me, that means pledging funds toward the National Council of Negro Women's Dorothy Height Legacy Initiative. It also means joining Campaign Committee Chairperson Johnnetta Cole in support of Harlem's Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, which, under the leadership of Director Howard Dodson, is celebrating its 75th anniversary.

But there are plenty of other worthy causes deserving of your financial gifts, including our nation's historically black colleges and universities (as represented by the UNCF and the Thurgood Marshall Fund), civil rights organizations such as the NAACP, scholarship funds established by local churches or professional association chapters, and organizations dedicated to finding cures for such diseases as breast cancer, Alzheimer's, sickle-cell anemia, and diabetes. Dedicating such gifts to the memory of a beloved family member or encouraging your children to earmark a portion of their savings for a contribution in their name is a great way to reinforce family values as well as the idea that the Christmas season is about giving--not just receiving. And don't forget to consider the potential tax advantages of such charitable contributions.

Our commitment to wealth building requires us to invest resources in those organizations and institutions that support and sustain us. On behalf of all of us at BE, Black Enterprise Unlimited, and our parent company, Earl G. Graves Ltd., I wish you and yours a merry Christmas and a new year filled with abundance, joy, and prosperity.
COPYRIGHT 2000 Earl G. Graves Publishing Co., Inc.
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Title Annotation:charitable contributions as part of Black Wealth Initiative
Author:Graves, Earl G.
Publication:Black Enterprise
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 1, 2000

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