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The Journey of African Americans and Philanthropy

The Journey of African Americans and Philanthropy

September 25, 2022

“I would suggest that nonprofits invite African Americans to sit on large foundation boards so that they are a part of the decision-making process. Blacks are not only recipients of charitable giving; we also are important donors.

Joan Bahner

In this episode of The Beacon Podcast, Lighthouse Counsel Communications Manager Yolanda Darville talks with Lighthouse Counsel Senior Consultant Joan Bahner about the journey of African Americans and philanthropy.

In their discussion, Yolanda and Joan address issues including:

  • The impact of African American philanthropy
  • Advice for nonprofits that want to diversify their donor base
  • Giving circles and how they have benefitted the African American community
  • Insights Joan has learned and how she used that knowledge to raise $3.5 million as vice president for institutional advancement at Fisk University.

About our Guest

Joan Bahner has more than 30 years of experience in strategic planning, policymaking, problem solving, fundraising, special projects and communication. She previously held several leadership positions at Fisk University in Nashville, including executive director of alumni affairs and development, executive director of the general alumni association, dean of student affairs and vice president for institutional advancement. 

As vice president for institutional advancement at Fisk, Joan raised $3.5 million in annual donations, increased giving by faculty, staff, board and alumni, and built an advancement team after securing approval for capacity building. 

Joan was selected as president of TARC-Tennessee Advancement Resources Council. She has served on the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) International Board of Trustees and the CASE National Commission on Alumni Relations. She was the chair of the Committee on Opportunity and Equity, as well as chair of CASE District III. She was honored with the CASE District III Distinguished Service Award and the Alumni Achievement Award from Fisk University.

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